Not progressing anymore?
Anders Ericsson describes in his book PEAK the way in which world class performers improve their skills. In this case I’m speaking about drumming, but this concept literally applies to anything.
Most of us think that just doing something over and over will create improvements. This works at first when we are just starting out.
For example, when I first started drumming, I had a band and we would practise every Thursday. I lived in an apartment building so I couldn’t practise outside of this weekly band practise. Despite this, I still improved. Just having fun and playing drums with my rock band once a week created all sorts of progress. Eventually however, this stopped. And the reason I learned is that when you first start out at something just doing that activity creates progress, but it only works for so long.
To get to those higher levels of skill, you need to break down and understand the different elements that make up what you do, and then work on improving those specific elements. In drumming, I would call this the building blocks of movement. These are the fundamental motions that go into doing what you do. Professional tennis players spend a ton of time working on all the different motions that go into playing playing tennis, like the serve, the forehand, the backhand etc.
Let me give you an example that relates to drumming. If I play a rock beat, I’m moving my forearm, my wrist, and my fingers. I also might have some elbow and shoulder movement as well. If you want to improve my rock beat, I’ll need to isolate these elements and work on improving them. To do this, I’ll need a specific exercise that will train these parts of the body to move more efficiently. For example, to train the wrist, I use a building block exercise called the Fulcrum Wrist Bounce and it looks like this. So in this exercise, I’m propelling the stick from the wrist, but I’m also letting the stick pivot over the middle finger fulcrum. (I also have a building block exercise to train this middle finger fulcrum).
So if you’ve stopped progressing in your drumming and you’re kind of stuck, well consider what I just spoke about. To get unstuck, you’ll need to break down how you do what you do and then work on specific exercises that will allow you to improve it. I guarantee that once you start focusing on the right things you’ll start to notice improvements in your drumming. Your body is fundamentally built this way, we change what we focus on.
For private drum lessons at my studio in Montreal, Canada or through Zoom or Skype
Elijah is a university-educated drummer with extensive experience for both teaching and musical performance. Since completing his Bachelor of Music degree at Concordia University in 2010, he has played music across each province in Canada and in more than 20 countries around the world. For information about private lessons at his studio in Montreal or for lessons on Skype visit: Elijah Drums