Self-study. The 14 Rules of Thomas Lang

1. Never play when you are practicing.

The game is the application of what you have worked during the lessons.

Practice is methodical, practice is repetition, it is not improvisation. When you practice, you do certain things, at a certain volume level, you practice certain movements, repeating them over and over again. This is not a game.
Stick to one exercise, don't interrupt it. Don't pretend you're playing with a band right now if you're starting to get frustrated with your practice.
Many of us, when starting to do something new, get frustrated after a couple of minutes and decide to take a break and play what they already know, imagine that they are playing a concert, for example. We are looking for, so to speak, a mental exit during classes. It's our ego that makes us stop and start playing what we already know to feel better. Don't do this, no matter how boring and uninspiring the class is. Concentration, concentration, concentration.


2. Never study when you play.
If you try to play something you don't know how to do in the studio, in concert, in rehearsal, then you will most likely confuse yourself and the rest of the band members. It's just impossible to play something without practicing it. You can't just play something cool that fits perfectly into the music without working it out first. It won't work. Especially during concerts when there are a lot of distractions and unexpected factors that keep popping up. At concerts, something always goes wrong: maybe your head hurts, or you cant hear everything on the monitors, maybe the vocalist forgot the words, or maybe you are uncomfortable behind these drums. There are a lot of distractions, so you have to be 100 percent ready and don't try to play something you haven't practiced.

3. Practice every day.
I think you remember the 10,000 hour rule. The more you practice, the faster you will reach this goal. Practice all the free time that you have, but do it efficiently.


4. Practice the way you play.
This advice was borrowed from sports. Football players, when training, do not walk around the field, imagining that they are playing a match. Practice the way you would play on stage or in the studio, practice just as intensely and with the same energy, with the same aggression. You have to prepare yourself during class for the moment you go on stage. If you do not do this, then you simply will not be able to finish the concert. You have to prepare your muscles for playing louder, for example, otherwise you simply won't be able to finish the concert. Loud playing uses a completely different technique than quiet playing.

5. Practice mindfully.
Every thing you practice has a purpose and a reason why you practice it. Always keep in mind the goals and the result you want to achieve. When you practice, always understand why you are doing it.

6. Concentration, concentration, concentration!
Don't get distracted during class. Focus. Find what distracts you and turn it off. Learn to focus on one thing at a time.


7. Practice until the exercise is done.
Do not stop until any exercise is completed. You want to get results. We are always focused on results. Don't stop working on a drill until you can apply it to your game. Practice until it becomes a natural part of your vocabulary.

8. Don't quit the exercise.
If you have taken 20 minutes for an exercise, then do not finish it at the 8th or 19th minute. Set a timer for 20 minutes, and once the time is up, stop. You can change the tempo, play various orchestrations, for example, but don't stop too soon.


9. Practice with enthusiasm.
Remember why you started playing drums, remember why you want to improve your skills, remember your goals, remember what the result should be. Daily activities require enthusiasm. Always remember why you are doing this and this will increase your level of enthusiasm for that particular exercise you are doing at the moment.

10. Always practice with the result you want to achieve in mind.
It is very important to practice, imagining the end result. The result is that the music sounds good, feels good. And so that the listeners like the way you play

11. Priorities
Everyday activities are a small part of the hundreds, thousands of such days that lead you to the result. You should have not only long-term priorities, but also short-term ones, i.e. every day when you sit down to study, make sure your priorities are right.


12. Fix bugs while playing.
Correcting mistakes while playing is a skill that can be learned. When you play an exercise and suddenly make a mistake, don't stop and start again, but try to correct it without stopping the flow. Stay in time, fix the bug while you play. This is a very important skill. It will save you in many situations when you are performing or recording. Most importantly, don't stop. And you need to practice this skill during classes.

13. Force yourself to go beyond. Break barriers with perseverance and sometimes force.
Don't quit an exercise if it's too hard. Work on it, just do it. Work on it a little more. If something doesn't work out for you, then it's a bad idea to stop and decide that you will return to it tomorrow. You must use force to break this barrier. Most of the time you just have to put in a little more energy and a little more aggression and strength to break this barrier.

14. Be your own worst critic.
Look at your game from the other person's point of view. Not only from the side of listeners, those who don't really understand music or drumming. Most of them probably think that you are amazing and you are doing everything right. Look at your playing from the point of view of a very competent person who is very proficient with the instrument. Imagine what he would say about your game. What is right about it and what is not. Be your own worst critic. Look at yourself and tell yourself that you can do better. What is not good enough for me, I can do better.

Translation: Oleg Kuznetsov
Editor: Anna Gornaya