We increase the efficiency of our classes
Well known in the British drumming world for his teaching work, Craig Blundell really got into the prog scene in 2011 when he joined the band Frost*. This band was formed by producer Jem Godfrey and guitarist John Mitchell of the bands Arena and It Beats. Recently, Craig has been touring with some really cool prog shows, first joining the neo-prog Pendragon for their first album Men who climb mountains, and then filling in for the absent Marco Mineaman, who couldn't attend due to scheduling conflicts, in Steven Wilson's live band< br />
Practice is a funny old word. For some, it does not make sense, but for others it is of paramount importance. Love it or hate it, there is no easy way to get better at any instrument. The old saying goes: “as you sow, so shall you reap”, I practice a lot, I don’t always enjoy it, but now it’s a way of life. I practice for the work I take, it makes what I do easier. It's like riding a bike, but you can lose that ability if you don't do it for a while. Below is my top list of tips for getting better.
First you must formulate a plan. As humans, we love the things we love and most of you will sit at the install and play your favorite patterns and fills, we rarely start with things we don't get. A lot of people's practice is based on playing songs, which is good, but there are a number of questions 'Are you getting better?', 'Are you making the most of your time playing drums?', the answer is probably no. The first thing you should look at when making a plan is how much time can you spend on it per day?
2. Enter the mode.
Half the battle with starting something you may or may not like is getting into a regular routine. This may take some time. If you set yourself a goal of 30 minutes a day, stick to it. As with everything else, once you've taken yourself a couple of days off, it's very easy to fall back into the old routine. Do it until it becomes second nature to you, even if you don't like it. Remember, practice is learning new ideas and taking on new personal heights, it's not always going to be fun.
3. What to practice?
When I set out to start the week, I have a list of everything written down from left hand to right foot and from sight reading to odd sizes. Usually it's 20-25 things that are related to what I do. Then I rate myself out of 100 so I can see where I am at the moment in relation to where I want to be. Then I choose the three things that scored the least points, these will be the things that I will work on this week. I repeat this process every week, it's a great way to stay honest about your abilities and it will always encourage you to do things you're not good at.
4. Find a mentor.
And so, now you have found your weaknesses, but are you consciously spending time on them? Or, are you doing the right things to work on them? The best thing you can do is find yourself a good mentor who will look at those weaknesses and guide you on a path that will make them stronger. Even the best have mentors and teachers. Lessons don't have to be every week, just checking your progress once in a while goes a long way for many reasons.
5. Keep a diary.
I hope you have addressed your weaknesses, and the teacher or your own observations have helped you find something to practice. Keeping track of what you're doing is a great reference point for understanding where you're coming from, especially when you feel like giving up or getting stuck. Seeing what you've recorded, what you've been up to in the past weeks, and the pace at which you're playing all these things now versus the pace you've played before is always a pleasure and a welcome boost.
6. Plan 50/50
Monday, the beginning of a new week. You have a certain amount of time that you are going to dedicate to classes, say 30 minutes. Divide this time in half. Work on your weaknesses first for the first 15 minutes, do all the hard work, and then forget about it. When you're done, play some music for the second 15 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up, you will close the door feeling uplifted instead of feeling frustrated and frustrated. In the end, if you keep practicing throughout the week, you'll end up spending almost 2 hours working on difficult spots, which flowed smoothly into the last 15 minutes of the game, I hope.
7. Record yourself on video.
Just like playing golf or any other technique-based thing, bad habits can creep into any musician's game over a long period of time. When you are immersed in the moment, it is not easy to notice exactly where they are sitting. A great way to monitor progress and see if everything is okay is to record yourself on video. I always take my limbs off when I first try something new, it's good for later comparison. Then I film myself again, a few weeks later. I do this for several reasons. Firstly, you can see if you have become better, and secondly, you can see where the error has crept in. This works every time.
8. Play music you hate.
This is one of my favorite tips. Like the title says, play the music you hate. If you're a jazz player, then play some metella and vice versa. You may absolutely dislike the material in any form, but it will improve your listening ability and your musicality to the max. You will hear things differently and it will push you out of your comfort zone every time, which can only be a good thing.
9. Turn everything upside down.
For me, the advice to “turn everything upside down” has worked very well all these years. For example, you have your favorite filling. Put the toms on your setup in a different order and try to reproduce the notes and sound of this fill. This will make the hands move in a new way. If you want to go extreme, then swap all the elements in your set. Once or twice a year I play a left-handed set for about a week or so. Soon you will see how good your weak side is!
10. Classes should be…
… just the way you want it! Classes should push you, they should not be too easy, there is always room for improvement at any level. If you are working on new things, you should always have fun if you practice correctly. If you are not having fun, then you are definitely doing something wrong. If you're having a bad day in terms of practice, which happens at any level, use those 30 minutes to just play some music. There is nothing to be ashamed of here. Music is emotional and can bring up so many thoughts when working on a rig, especially if it's new music. Tomorrow is a new day, just work a little harder...
Translation: Oleg Kuznetsov
Editor: Anna Gornaya