How can I achieve my goals when I don't have much free time? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #020

IN THIS EPISODE:

Ask The Drummer Podcast

Gediminas from Lithuania asks a fantastic question: When you have limited time during the day, what should you practice? How can you get better even if you don’t have very much time to practice?

In this episode, I’ll show you how time should not correlated with progress. I’ll even prove to you that lack of time can actually become harnessed as a superpower!

I'll also discuss in detail my 5 STEPS for creating an effective practice plan:

STEP ONE: DEFINE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT GOAL RIGHT NOW

STEP TWO: SET A DEADLINE FOR YOUR GOAL

STEP THREE: DEFINE HOW YOU'LL MEASURE SUCCESS

STEP FOUR: CREATE YOUR PRACTICE ROADMAP

STEP FIVE: CREATE YOUR PRACTICE CALENDAR


LISTEN NOW:

1) LISTEN IN iTUNES (RECOMMENDED)

 
 

2) LISTEN IN BROWSER

How do I give feedback/suggestions to my bandmates? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #019

IN THIS EPISODE:

ask the drummer podcast

Ben from Indiana asks about how to give feedback to other bandmates. In this episode, I'll talk about:

- How to give constructive feedback to other musicians.
- How to frame your suggestion in the right way.
- How to create an environment where regular feedback is appreciated.
- How to know whether or not you should offer advice in the first place.
- How to not offend your bandmates when you offer feedback.
- How to deal with musicians who may be unreceptive to feedback.
 

Enjoy!


LISTEN NOW:

1) LISTEN IN iTUNES

 

 

2) LISTEN IN BROWSER

 

 

Why You AREN'T Achieving Your Goals | Steve Such Drums

THE QUESTION YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ASKED

Remember that half-marathon you told me you’d race in, that language you said you’d learn, or that debt you said you’d pay off? 

Why did it never happen? What percentage of your goals are you ACTUALLY accomplishing? 

I’m not trying to make you feel bad here, but I do want you to take a second to actually think about it: WHY did any one of these goals not pan out?

In this article, I’ll help you discover what it is that’s holding you back from achieving your goals.


FIRST… TWO IMPORTANT WORDS YOU NEED TO LEARN

MACRO - Anytime we zoom way OUT on something to see the big picture. These are our dreams, goals, and aspirations:  “In 6 months, I’d like to have six-pack abs.”

MICRO - Anytime we zoom way IN on something to get into the nitty gritty. These are the measurables: duration, routine, sequence, etc. These are also our specific actions: “Today, I’ll do 25 ab crunches followed by 30 bicycle twists.”

We need the lenses of both the Macro and the Micro in order to achieve our goals. In other words, we need the dream, but we also need the roadmap to get there.

When we aren’t accomplishing our goals, it’s usually rooted in an imbalance between the micro and the macro. 


SCENARIO #1 - NOT ENOUGH “MACRO”

When you live without enough macro, you tend to “wing it” in life. You go with what you feel. You do what inspires you in the moment. In the case of practicing the drums, perhaps you walk in the room and start working on whatever comes to your head. Maybe you have a sudden inspiration to work on your paradiddles. Maybe tomorrow, you spend 3 hours developing your double bass drum chops. It varies from day to day, because variety is the spice of life! 

Living this way is quite enjoyable (we all love instant gratification), but you’ll find that when looking back, you never end up making REAL progress because you never had specific, big-picture MACRO goals. By always going with the flow, you’ll (at best) become a “jack of all trades and a master of none.”


SOLUTION #1 - DEVELOPING THE MACRO

Developing the MACRO should already be pretty familiar to you because most of us already do this in the form of day-dreaming. The difference, however, is that we’re going to get hyper-specific.

To get started, all you have to do is place yourself ahead a bit into the future. Ask yourself:

What do I want to do/become/achieve in 1 month? 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?

Think about these questions, and then (this is really important) WRITE THEM DOWN.

Remember, a well-defined goal has two things: 1) a specifc deadline and2) a specific way of measuring its success.

Terrible Goal: “Some day, I want to play paradiddles really fast!
Excellent Goal:  “In 3 Months, I will be able to play Paradiddles at 175 bpm.”


SCENARIO #2 - NOT ENOUGH “MICRO”

Truth bomb: this is what most people suffer from all throughout their lives. They stay stuck in a job they hate. They remain in a relationship that isn’t healthy. They never lose that weight they wanted to lose. They never took that trip they wanted to take. They never wrote that book they always wanted to write. They wake up and wonder where their life went.

This all happens because they aren’t utilizing something very important, the MICRO. They aren’t taking the time to zoom-in on life and ask: “What is the SMALLEST ACTION TODAY that I can take to get closer to my bigger goal?”

Dreams and aspirations (the Macro) give our lives purpose. But, as the quote goes: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” 

If you don’t actually take any real, specific steps to achieve your dreams, they will NEVER become a reality. They just remain dreams! 

Side note: In my own experience, it’s always taking the FIRST step or two that is hardest; it involves becoming uncomfortable, making changes, and developing new habits. Once the ball is rolling, achieving your goals become much easier. 


SOLUTION #2 - DEVELOPING THE MICRO

Developing the micro is very easy in concept, but it requires a healthy dose of grit to pull off. 

Just take your macro goal and split it up until it can no longer be broken down into smaller chunks.

For example, let’s take our macro goal from above: “In 3 Months, I will be able to play Paradiddles at 175 bpm.”

If we split this goal up into smaller chunks (micro), here’s what the next three months would look like:

Month 1: Paradiddles at 100-125BPM
Month 2: Paradiddles at 125-150BPM
Month 3: Paradiddles at 150-175BPM.

Notice that we’ve taken our goal and zoomed in a bit to create smaller, “micro” goals. Now, let’s zoom in a bit further.

Week 1: Paradiddles at 100-104
Week 2: Paradiddles at 105-109
Week 3: Paradiddles at 110-114
Week 4: Paradiddles at 115-119
Week 5: Paradiddles at 120-125

See how a clear plan is starting to form? We’re getting closer. Let’s zoom in even more.

Day 1:  Paradiddles at 100
Day 2: Paradiddles at 101
Day 3: REST
Day 4: Paradiddles at 102
Day 5: Paradiddles at 103
Day 6: REST
Day 7:Paradiddles at 104

Excellent! Finally, let’s zoom into what your first day’s practice routine might look like:

Day 1:
Paradiddles at 90 (5 minutes)
Paradiddles at 95 (5 minutes)
Paradiddles at 100 (5 minutes of your goal tempo for the day)

Total time: 15 minutes.

Hopefully you can see how effective this process is. By starting with the macro goal and working backwards, we were able to create an incredibly specific and efficient micro goal (in this case, a single practice session). 

Then, simply rinse and repeat. 3 months later, poof… you will have achieved your macro goal!


TWEAKING THE MICRO AND MACRO

Important: WHEN (not IF) life gets in the way and throws you a curveball, it’s critically important to be able to tweak and refine your micro/macro goals. Otherwise, you’ll end up abandoning the goal all-together.

Something external is preventing you from completing your current micro goal? Make adjustments so that you can still get it done.

Macro goal was too easy? Make it more difficult.

Micro goal was too unrealistic? Make your macro goal easier.

Going back to our Paradiddle goal, let’s say that new commitments in your life are preventing you from achieving your micro goals of 15 minutes per day (side note: if you don’t have 15 minutes per day, we really need to talk). Regardless; in that case, all you have to do is adjust the micro goal so that you can still achieve your macro goal. 

Here’s an example of how we might change our goal from 15 minutes of drumming per day to 10 minutes of drumming per day:

Paradiddles at 90 (2 minutes)
Paradiddles at 95 (3 minutes)
Paradiddles at 100 (5 minutes of your goal tempo for the day)

Total time: 10 minutes.

My point here is that when you hit a road-block, take the DETOUR… don’t turn around and drive back home.


IN CLOSING

Remember: anytime you aren’t achieving your goals, take a look at it from both a MACRO perspective and then from a MICRO perspective. I hope this article has inspired you to get a little bit clearer about the goals you have, and gives you a new framework for creating an effective roadmap. Get to it!

What are the best ear plugs for drummers? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #018

SHOW DESCRIPTION

ask the drummer podcast steve such

Things you'll learn from this podcast:

- Why are my ear plugs are making the music sound bad?

- What kind of ear plugs are best for drummers?

- What filter is best? (8db, 15db, or 25db?)

- How do I best protect my ears in the practice room?

 

MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

Westone - Musician's Ear Plugs

ATD Episode 9: What are the pros & cons of wearing in-ear monitors?

ATD Episode 15: What can I do to prevent tinnitus?

Shure SE535-CL Sound Isolating Earphones with Triple High Definition MicroDrivers


LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)

2) Listen in browser

What I Learned By Taking a 4-Month Vacation From The Drums | Steve Such Drums

First... A Quick Backstory
 

Last September, I embarked on an extended backpacking trip throughout Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. I saw the sights, ate the food, and immersed myself into other ways of life. Living out of a backpack is something that I think everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. (Side note: If this sounds interesting to you, read the book “Vagabonding” for inspiration.)

However, the most difficult part of the trip was knowing that by committing to this trip, I’d effectively be taking a 4 month vacation from drumming…

To give you context: up until this adventure, the longest break I’d EVER taken from playing the drums was about a week or two. So… realizing that I’d be going 4 entire MONTHS without playing the drums was a tough pill to swallow. 

When returning to America and getting back into it, I was terrified as to what might happen when I’d sit down at the drums again for the first time.

Would my hands be terrible? Would I have lost my musicianship? Would I need to start from scratch?

Here what I noticed when I sat down at the kit and started playing:


#1 - Muscle Memory Is More Powerful Than You Think


The most shocking discovery I noticed was that only after a few days, I felt like I was back in business. Were my chops firing at 100%? Of course not. But my muscle memory stayed intact. In a way, returning to the drums after an extended break is just like the experience of riding a bike, driving a car, or swimming. You can take a long break from that activity and your body somehow still knows what to do when you come back to it. Muscle memory is extremely powerful; if you’ve put in the time and gotten the reps, it will stay with you for life!


#2 - My mind became re-sensitized to the drums


Ok, here’s where it gets interesting… Though my muscle memory stayed relatively intact, taking a long break from the drums in effect turned off the “autopilot” in my mind that I had developed from almost 2 decades of playing the drums. In other words, when you’re playing drums all the time, you become “desensitized” to what your body is actually doing because, simply put, you just do it! Returning to my previous examples of riding a bike, swimming, or driving: your body may know what to do automatically, but coming back to the activity after a break makes you feel as if you’re an outside observer watching your body perform the motions. In the case of drumming, the same experience happened. Taking a break allowed me to observe how I actually use my fingers, wrists, and arms as I play. I felt like an outside observer watching my body move as I played. From this place, I realized that this could be turned into a unique and wonderful opportunity to re-examine my technique with “beginner’s mind.”


#3 - I developed a deeper sense of gratitude


Every day I feel thankful not only that I have the opportunity to play the drums, but that I get to play them for a living! But (stay with me here), it too is a career just like any other. There are highs and lows, moments of inspiration and moments of frustration. In recent years, playing 200+ dates per year has made me feel so comfortable on stage that I started to feel like I had lost my edge a bit. By this, I mean that I could feel myself losing that deep sense of pure joy I once had when jumping on the kit after school as a kid. However, returning to the stage after an extended break reignited that fire inside of me; it made me remember how FUN it is to play the drums! I once again felt that adrenaline pumping through my body, and I felt alive playing with “beginner’s mind,” which can only be experienced after taking a long break. I realized at that moment something important: Time spent away from the drums can be just as beneficial as time on the drums.


Would I do it all over again?


Though I didn’t want to intentionally take an extended vacation from drumming, I’m so glad that I did it. It allowed me to fall in love with the drums all over again, made me appreciate the gift that I have to share with the world, and reminded me not take your gifts in life for granted. 

If you feel like you’ve hit a rut in your drumming (or any skill set that is important to you), try spending a month or two away from it. It’s ok to push that figurative “reset button” from time to time. You might be surprised at how you’ll grow by doing so.
 

My snare drum sounds like crap. What do I do? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #017

SHOW DESCRIPTION:

ask the drummer podcast steve such

- Defining the specific snare drum sound you’re looking for.

- My favorite resource for tuning your drums, especially when you’re having issues.

- How the venue can affect the sound of your drums.

- How stick choice can change the sound of your drums.
 


MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

 The Drum Tuning Bible


LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)

2) Listen in browser

When sitting in, how do I play a song I'm not familiar with? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #016

SHOW DESCRIPTION

It's happened to us all at some point... you're sitting in and a tune is called that you don't know.

How do you "drive the bus" even if you don't know the tune?

In this episode, I'll cover the 3 most important things you need to know when "winging it" on a gig.

Thanks to CJ from New York for sending in this question!

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)

2) Listen in browser

The Drum Tuning Bible PDF | Steve Such Drums

The Drum Tuning Bible

This is perhaps the GREATEST, most comprehensive tuning guide I have EVER seen!

I refer to it anytime I'm having trouble tuning a particular drum.


drum tuning bible

TOPICS COVERED:

-Tuning Profiles (what kind of sound do you want?)
- Tuning Procedure, Step By Step
-Batter Side Tips
-Resonant Side Tips
-Snare, Tom, and Kick Drum tuning
-Common issues and how to fix them

Thank you to J. Scott Johnson for providing this incredible guide to the drumming community!

The Drum Tuning Bible is by J. Scott Johnson, a.k.a. Prof. Sound - July 7, 1999.
 

DrummingSteve SuchComment
What can I do to prevent tinnitus? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #015

SHOW DESCRIPTION

Here's what you'll learn in this podcast:

1) The two factors that determine how ears are damaged.

2) How long you can play drums before damaging your ears. (spoiler: it's MUCH shorter than you think)

3) What type of ear plugs all drummers should be wearing.

4) Outside of wearing ear plugs, what else you can do to prevent ear damage.

5) What the "earbud culture" is and how to avoid it.


MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

-Westone

-Decibel Chart

-Ear Protection Article

-5 Tips For In-Ear Monitors (Video)

 

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)

2) In Browser

 

 

5 Books That Changed My Life | Steve Such Drums

BOOK #1 - The Big Gig by Zoro

WHY DRUMMERS SHOULD READ THIS:

   One of the best music business books ever written. Taking the "Big Gig Quiz" is worth the price of this book alone, which is a way to tangibly assess your strengths and weaknesses as a drummer (I'm not just talking about your actual playing, but ALL areas of a career in music). I personally take this quiz annually to see if my overall "score" is going up or going down for each category. Highly recommend.


WHY DRUMMERS SHOULD READ THIS:

   This is a classic book on two things: 1) Lifestyle Design and 2) How to 10x your output. If you want to have a career as a drummer, you NEED to ask some serious questions about how your current lifestyle matches your career choice. For the lifestyle you WANT, what are the changes you need to make? What are the excuses that are preventing you from getting to the next level? This book is extremely motivating for someone who feels stuck in a safe job and wants to follow their passion.


WHY DRUMMERS SHOULD READ THIS:

The 80/20 Principle is about getting rid of waste and doing more of what's actually working. I'm constantly applying the 80/20 in almost every area of my life. It's the idea that in life, you tend to see the following trend: 20% of your INPUT leads to 80% of your OUTPUT. For example:

-What are the 20% of gigs that bring you the most joy? (Do more of those gigs)
-What 20% of grooves do you end up playing 80% of the time? (Refine THOSE grooves)
-What 20% of musicians do you play with 80% of the time? (Nourish those relationships)
-What are the things you waste the most time on in the practice room? (Eliminate wasted time)
-What 20% of gigs leads to 80% of your income? (Create space for higher-paying gigs)

These are just a few examples of how you can apply the 80/20 to your drumming, but you can also apply this principle to almost any area of life.


BOOK #4 - Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine

WHY DRUMMERS SHOULD READ THIS:

This book is about developing a rock-solid mindset for how you live life (both on stage and off stage). It's about actually taking the time to clearly DEFINE your purpose (have you taken the time to do so?). Mark's "box breathing" exercise has become my favorite form of meditation, and can used to stay calm when placed in stressful situations (like playing an important gig/audition).


BOOK #5 - The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg

WHY DRUMMERS SHOULD READ THIS:  

How are habits are formed? How can new habits can be created? How can bad habits can be eliminated? If you want to form a consistent practice routine or eliminate your bad drumming habits, read this book. Incredibly powerful.

Bonus Episode: 100 RULES FOR DRUMMERS (audio version) | Ask The Drummer Podcast

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Video version: http://www.rulesfordrummers.com

atd

I asked Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Zoro, Johnny Rabb, Curt Bisquera, Ari Hoenig, Victor Indrizzo, Jonathan Mover, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Steve Fidyk, Bermuda Schwartz, Dan Needham, Bruce Becker, Bill Bachman, Jeff Queen, Pete Lockett, Andre Boyd, Nick Ruffini, Dave Kropf, Richie Gajate-Garcia, Tim Lefevbre, and many more to give their top piece of advice to drummers.

The catch… THEY COULD ONLY USE THREE WORDS!

I hope this video inspires YOU to think about what it means to be a drummer.

As we get ready for 2017, if you were to truly focus on just ONE of these rules each week, you'd have almost 2 years worth of concepts to help improve your playing!

Thank you to the following drummers/instrumentalists/vocalists/educators:
==
100 Steve Bradley
99 Eugene McGhee
98 Max Marshall
97 Conrad Askland
96 John Marque
95 Reese
94 *** JEFF HAMILTON ***
93 Clint Dodson
92 Paul Westlake
91 Ian Shepherd

90 ***CURT BISQUERA***
89 Francisco Dean
88 Jonathan Savage
87 ***ARI HOENIG***
86 ***ZORO***
85 Nikhi Korrula
84 Jay North
83 Joseph Luna
82 Kyle Acuncius
81 Seth Nordin

80 Eric Siereveld
79 Ariel Levine
78 ***BRUCE BECKER***
77 Corey Christiansen
76 ***DAN NEEDHAM***
75 Joel Brainard
74 Ed Gaus
73 Jacob Miranda
72 ***ANDRE BOYD***
71 Andre “Virus” Karkos, Jemma Armstrong, Nina Schreckengost

70 Jeff McLaughlin
69 Mike Garza
68 Alan Frye
67 Greg Essig
66 Martin Plante
65 ***TIM LEFEVBRE***
64 Kim McKewon
63 Tanya Rimwell
62 Ben Sturley
61 Richard Livoni

60 Paul Wandtke
59 Conrad Roach
58 Diego Rojas
57 ***PETE LOCKETT***
56 Nick Stevens
55 ***PETER ERSKINE***
54 Nick Lang
53 ***DAVE KROPF***
52 Dustin Koester
51 Tom Haberman

50 Ed Kornhauser
49 ***WALFREDO REYES JR.***
48 ***RICHIE GAJATE-GARCIA***
47 Jeff Franca
46 Nick McLaren
45 Tom Berich
44 Jesse Gawlick, Brad Sweet, Chelsea Baker
43 Marc Aliana
42 Chris Singleton
41 Doug Cameron

40 ***VICTOR INDRIZZO***
39 Broc Power
38 Mackenzie Leighton
37 ***JOHNNY RABB***
36 Steve Pruitt
35 ***JEFF QUEEN***
34 Jay Ware
33 Nick Ruffini
32 Justin Ramirez
31 Colin Campbell

30 Lizzie Shipton
29 Ryan Knudsen
28 Andy Bianco
27 Brian Blume
26 ***STEVE FIDYK***
25 ***BERMUDA SCHWARTZ***
24 ***JONATHAN MOVER***
23 Nate Lee
22 Michael Tadeo
21 Colin Leske

20 Peter Schomburg
19 Johnny Mantra
18 ***BILL BACHMAN***
17 Jim Bailey
16 Matt Black
15 Andy Smith
14 Brad Waits
13 Reuben Gingrich
12 CJ Young
11 Andrew Bache

10 Ben Matthews
9 Chad Kethcart
8 Matt Piet
7 Andrew Fowler
6 Shaan France
5 Gino Del Sole
4 Tommy Goddard
3 Aaron Smith
2 Ken Ge
1 Grant Thomas

Download a PDF of all 100 rules here: http://www.rulesfordrummers.com

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)
 


2) In Browser

 

 

A life lesson I learned from Tommy Igoe: "Take the shot" | Steve Such Drums

Hey drummers,

Before we hit 2017, I want to share an extremely personal story with you all that I haven't shared with very many people before.

My hope is that this story will help motivate you (and the rest of the drumming community) to start 2017 off with a little push.

Exactly 2 years ago today, I was named winner of the Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials Contest by Hudson Music (video here). It was such an honor to be recognized by the drumming community and seriously meant the world to me.

HOWEVER... 

What meant more to me was the opportunity to then get to have a lesson with the incredible Tommy Igoe, someone who I look up to both as a musician and an educator.

Little did I know that my lesson with Tommy would end up changing my life.

You see, during our lesson in 2014, we actually barely played any drums at all (Maybe 15 seconds on the hi-hat).

Instead, we spent the entire time talking about life, music, and identifying what my goals/struggles were in both.

I had really needed to hear his advice at that time in my life. While I had both a great drumming gig and a solid corporate music job, I'd been feeling super stuck in my life for quite some time.

Deep down, I knew that I was continuing to play it safe, yet at the same time was too afraid to actually do anything about it.

Can anyone else relate?

In the lesson, Tommy told me something that I'll never forget:

"Steve... NOBODY lays on their death bed and says: ' You know what?... I sure wish that I had NEVER had taken a shot on that thing."

These words hit me like a brick wall! (If you missed it, re-read it again, placing yourself in that situation)

The lesson I learned is that our existence on this planet is seriously a blip on the radar (when you really think about the grand scheme of the universe). This isn't meant as a negative or as something dramatic, it's meant as a literal reality-check.

Inevitably, you and I will also be on our deathbeds too someday, reflecting on how our 20's, 30's, 40's, 60's, 80's, etc. went.

Once you become comfortable with this reality, why WOULDN'T you just go for it in life??? It would seem silly not to!

Tommy motivated me to start taking more chances in life and to STOP playing it safe. He pushed me to put myself out into the world fully, not just as a drummer (I've since been playing drums for the show Rock Of Ages), but also with my various online projects (Rules For Drummers, Ask The Drummer Podcast, 24 Days Of Vinnie, etc.) to help inspire the drumming community.

It's all been SO rewarding and I can honestly say that today, I feel so much closer to living my life's true purpose than I was in 2014. I have Tommy to thank for this!

The point of sharing this story with you all is this:

If you are even remotely THINKING about doing/creating/taking action on something in your life, JUST DO IT!

Thinking doesn't give you any results. Action does.

Don't be afraid to take action on the things you really want in life! You will lay on your deathbed feeling happy that you took that shot, not the other way around.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and totally crushes it in the new year... GO FOR IT!

-Steve

DRUM LESSON: Steve Smith's Double-Stroke Warmup | Steve Such Drums

THE SIMPLEST THINGS TO LEARN CAN OFTEN BE MOST CHALLENGING TO MASTER.

This week, I'd like to share an incredibly simple warmup exercise with you... yet its simplicity can be quite deceiving.

I first picked up this exercise from drumming legend Steve Smith (drummer for Journey and more) in his phenomenal drumming video: Drumset Technique/History of the U.S. Beat, and still use this warmup today (some 15 years later).


HERE ARE THE TOP 5 BENEFITS OF THIS EXERCISE:

#1 - It will develop your double stroke roll sound quality.

#2 - It will improve your double stroke roll speed/smoothness.

#3 -It works both hands evenly (leading from both hands).

#4 - It will improve your transitions between sticking patterns.

#5 - It promotes a relaxed technique (you can't do this exercise tense!).
 


WAIT! BEFORE YOU BEGIN...

steve smith rules for drummers


You will not get ANYTHING out of this exercise if you just play the notes and move on.

Instead, your #1 OBJECTIVE should be to keep your sound quality CONSISTENT and EVEN, regardless of the sticking used. This is the goal of the exercise. 

In other words, if you were to close your eyes, you should NOT be able to "hear" the sticking. You should only hear 16th notes.

Be critical of your playing and record yourself... it's the only way to really know if you're doing it right!

I've included downloadable JPG and PDF versions of each exercise below.

Enjoy and happy practicing!


EXERCISE #1

-Measure 1 is a double stroke roll, RH lead.
-Measure 2 is an inverted D.S. roll, RH lead.
-Measure 3 is a double stroke roll, LH lead.
-Measure 4 is an inverted D.S. roll, LH lead.

 
STEVE SMITH DOUBLES

EXERCISE #2
 (SINGLES VARIATION)

Ready to step it up a notch? 

Try inserting 1 bar of single stroke rolls in front of each double stroke roll sticking pattern.

Again, if you're doing this right, you should never "hear" the sticking, you should only hear smooth 16th notes.

Pay special attention to making a smooth transition between singles and doubles.

STEVE SMITH DOUBLES

SUGGESTED PRACTICE ROUTINE FOR THIS EXERCISE:

As part of a daily routine, practice at each of the following tempos for AT LEAST 3 minutes before moving onto the next level. (7 x 3 = 21 min total). 

LEVEL ONE - 50BPM (3 min)
LEVEL TWO - 75BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL THREE - 100BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL FOUR - 125BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL FIVE - 150BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL SIX - 175BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL SEVEN - 200BPM
(3 min)

*NOTE - You won't be able to play this exercise (at a high level) very fast at first... and that's OK!!

Starting from LEVEL ONE, work up until you identify a level that you struggle with, then STOP!

For example: Let's say you can only play comfortably up to LEVEL FOUR. In the same 21 minutes, you can create the following revised practice routine to help you work towards LEVEL FIVE:

LEVEL ONE - 50BPM (3 min)
LEVEL TWO - 75BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL THREE - 100BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL FOUR - 125BPM (3 min)

LEVEL FOUR - 127BPM (3 min)
LEVEL FOUR - 129BPM
(3 min)
LEVEL FOUR - 131BPM
(3 min)

Stay with it patiently and gradually work towards the next level. This isn't a race.

You simply just need to put in the time and effort to see results... I promise! 

Here are your practice tempos below for convenience:


TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

In a future article, I will discuss how you can take Steve Smith's exercise and take it even further by exploring its application in different time signatures.

In the meantime, however; these 2 exercises above will certainly keep you busy for a while. 

Good luck, be patient, and happy drumming!


RULES FOR DRUMMERS

Want more articles like this? Each week, I select one person from the video "100 RULES FOR DRUMMERS” and write an article based on the three-word rule they offered.

THIS WEEK'S RULE: "PAD IT OUT" by Colin Campbell
 

Thank you to Colin Campbell for offering his 3 words of advice to drummers (PAD IT OUT!) and for inspiring me to write this week's article!

Drummer and percussionist Colin D. Campbell grew up in Kentucky, where he studied percussion with his father, James Campbell.  His postgraduate studies took him to the University of Michigan where he studied drumset with Dr. Michael Gould, as well as jazz and improvisation with piano luminary Geri Allen. 

An extremely diverse percussionist, his performance experience ranges from big band,  symphony orchestra, musical theatre, cruise ship lounge acts, basement noise shows, modern percussion repertoire, and  all points in between.  Campbell has played drums in venues ranging from a Wal-Mart entrance to the Rose Bowl.

His recording credits include work with Arlo Guthrie, Emily Hagihara, and electronic artist Off The Sky.  Now based in Chicago, Campbell is an active performer and teacher.  He can currently be seen and heard with Le Tour (letour.bandcamp.com) and Mawrcrest (mawrcrest.com). 

Campbell is host of The Throne: A Drumming Podcast, a bi-weekly conversation about all things drumming, available via iTunes.

 
Steve Such 1 Comment
How To Set Effective Goals | Steve Such Drums
 

#1 - Define / Eliminate any failure points.

What are the scenarios, temptations, or distractions that will prevent you from reaching your goals? If you can identify these things ahead of time, you can then change your methods (or create contingencies) in order to avoid/minimize these failure points. Less failure points = more success.


#2 - What would it look like if it were easy?

I usually find that the more complex something is in my life, the more likely I am to have issues down the road. In the same way, if you can keep your goals SIMPLE, you'll be more likely to achieve them. Working backwards, ask yourself what you would do if achieving your goal was EASY, then use the answer to create an effective method.

Any tips for buying my first budget drum set? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #014

SHOW DESCRIPTION:

ask the drummer

This week’s question comes from Richard in Seattle WA who asks about buying his first practice drum kit. How should he spend his money wisely? In this episode, I’ll offer my tips for how to purchase your first drum set, especially if you’re on a budget. 

Show notes and links for this episode can be found at http://www.askthedrummer.com

 

MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

Here are some suggestions to get you started. Keep in mind that there are MANY drum companies who offer great products at an affordable price, so do a bit of research and see what deals you can find.

My best money-saving suggestion is to search for PACKS of gear, rather than buying each piece separately as this will save you a lot of money. I’d also suggest searching eBay as you can usually find incredible deals if you’re on a tight budget.                 

CYMBAL PACKS:
Zildjian Cymbal Pack
Sabian Cymbal Pack

DRUM SET PACKS:
Pearl Export EXX Drum Set 
Yamaha Gigmaker Drum Set
Tama Imperial Star Drum Set

HARDWARE PACKS:
Gibraltar Hardware Pack
Yamaha Hardware Pack
Pacific Drums Hardware Pack
 

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)

The Power Of Visualization, Preparation, and Inspiration | Steve Such Drums

The Power Of Visualization, Preparation, and Inspiration

Recently, I was asked to be a guest on the Conrad Askland show! (a show about business, arts, and all the intersections inbetween.)


In the interview with Conrad, we discuss many things, including:

  • What it means to become inspired.
  • Choosing between a Music Education degree & a Music Performance degree.
  • How to prepare for a big audition.
  • The power of visualization in both music and in life.

Listen To The Interview Here:

How do I create new drum sounds? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #013

SHOW DESCRIPTION:

ask the drummer create new sounds

Matt from Austin, TX asks how to discover new drum sounds. What do you do when you start to get bored with your own playing? In this episode, I’ll explain how to use the formula IMAGINATION + RESTRICTION = CREATIVITY to create an infinite number of new sounds on your kit. 

Show notes and links for this episode can be found at http://www.askthedrummer.com


MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

RULES FOR DRUMMERS - Rule 16: Use Your Imagination! 
 

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:

1) Listen in iTUNES (recommended)

A Tip For Educators: What Gets Measured Gets Managed | Steve Such Drums

One of the most valuable things you can do as an educator is to have your students complete “reflection” assignments at the end of each quarter. Every 3 months, ask your student to write down answers to the following three things before coming to their next lesson:


#1 - Create a list of all exercises, books, and concepts we've worked on together in lessons this past quarter:

By taking a minute to look back through lesson notebooks/assignments, the student will often be impressed to see how much they’ve accomplished with you in a short period of time. They’ll also get a “big-picture” glance of the most important concepts addressed that quarter.


#2 - Looking at the list above, what specific areas of your playing have you improved on the MOST this quarter?

Because you and the student spend the majority of your time focusing on areas of improvement, often times the student may  feel like they are "stuck in the weeds". When students are asked to clearly identify their own strengths, it empowers them, gives them a major confidence boost, and allows them to realize that they ARE making real progress in lessons and on their instrument.


#3 - What specific goals would you like to accomplish by the end of this next quarter?

Placing the student in the driver's seat is mutually beneficial for you both! You should use this information to cater part of your lesson plan towards the student’s interests so that they stay inspired while still learning the fundamentals. Meanwhile, the student also learns the value of effective goal-setting, a skill that will help them far beyond their instrument. (Help them determine if their goals are not challenging enough, not specific enough, etc.).


PDF TEMPLATE

Want a simple template that you can print and give to your students? A PDF template of this reflection assignment can be downloaded by clicking below:

EducatorsSteve SuchComment