Lessons from drumming classes

Now, my drums teacher is quite a strict man. He's been teaching for over 10 years and has performed all over the country for another 10 years prior to that. Not everyone approves of his way of teaching, and he ensures he admits only those students fine with his strict ways. I've been attending two-hour classes once every Thursday, for the past 4 months now, and he has not yet let me play simple quarter note exercises. Most drum classes teach this during the first couple of weeks; some even start with these on their first day. He, on the other hand, has forced me to learn how to read notes, practice every exercise from the slowest 60 beats per minute to 240 beats per minute, and engraved in my mind that a great drummer is not one that can play a jazzy riff or perform a fancy dynamic, but one that understands drumming is all about timekeeping.

Here's a list of parallels I've drawn from my life outside of drums.

I ignored understanding Fourier transforms in my 1st year of college and it has set me back time and again.
Alright, I'll read these papers on physics and thermodynamics later. Right now, I'm going to go make a rocket!

It's easy to ignore what you're weak at, especially when you know it. It's difficult to practice what you're not good at. Playing a beat at 120bpm is easy. The same beat at 220bpm is hard, and even with regular practice, it doesn't come easily. And if you shove it under the rug now, it will come and bite you later.
So, work on what you know you're weak at right now. The lure to try something new is strong, but if you don't have the basics right, the new things will only make you further frustrated.

I plan to make gymming a part of my schedule, even do so for a couple weeks, and suddenly a day of laziness makes me lose track and spiral of my schedule.
One lazy day is all it takes, and it's really hard to start again.

Continuous stretches of concentration, or schedule-keeping are difficult. Your mind wanders and it's hard to stay focused; one moment of wandering, or a day's laziness, and you've lost track of what you were doing. The inertia to restart is even harder to overcome.
My drum instructor gave me the Rhythmic Alphabet to practice; each letter represents a beat of four counts, running from A to P, playing each letter 4 times alternating between your right and left hands; in effect playing 16 beats per letter. This meant I had to count the number of beats per alphabet, switch between hands, and count how many times each letter was played before switching to the next, and it was difficult. One moment of loss of concentration meant I had to very painfully start from the beginning all over again.

Alright, I'll learn about mutual funds this weekend and then become a millionaire the next weekend.
At this rate, I'll be Warren Buffet tomorrow morning!

You can't learn about finances and invest one night before you will need the money to buy an expensive house. Investments don't work like that; you need to put in small amounts of money at regular intervals. You can't simply put a huge chunk all at once and expect to become a millionaire the next day.
Just in the same way, you can't practice one night before and expect to have done one week's worth of practice the night before tomorrow's class. I do this very often and I blame it on my engineering mindset where everything happens at the last minute. Art and most things in life can't be learned in this fashion.


  1. Man! This is totally relatable. The schedule, finances and last-minute attitude.

    1. I know! We're all one in the same. Like if someone made a list of the things we all don't do but wish we were doing, it'd be the same.


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