An Unintended Hiatus

Oof, I haven’t even drafted anything for this blog in weeks, maybe longer…

I’m sure that’s familiar to many of us – the old “put a project down for a little while” break that may or may not mean abandoning it entirely…

That’s precisely what I’ve done here. I’m not entirely sure why – I enjoy writing these blogs, contemplating the topics, and so on. I absolutely love when something I’ve written here can be a catalyst for a conversation or a connection to new people.

So why stop?

barking

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The Death of Boredom

I’ve got something of a mantra: BOREDOM IS A MYTH.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people can’t be bored… Rather that they shouldn’t be. This also doesn’t mean that there’s no value in downtime, just relaxing, idle chat with friends, or an aimless wander through nature.

No, I’m aimed at the “ugh, there’s nothing to do!” kind of boredom – sitting around uncomfortable, focused on your lack of options. Daydreaming is not boredom. Scrolling through Facebook, barely even reading anything, is. Straight up killing time with a vague awareness “I’m bored” and little else is, well, bullshit.

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The Twofold Path – Part 3: The Groove

OKAY – we’ve made it this far into a murky topic… A daunting subject to tackle, but I’ll do my best to keep things on track. This is where we really have to start slogging through the weeds though, because there’s some terminology we might not all agree on, some variation in styles of music… Even some differences in WHY people want to play drums in the first place.

Let’s get a primary definition out of the way.

Here in Part 3, we’re mostly talking about the single MOST important aspect of being a drummer – keeping time. That is first and foremost what I mean by “groove.”

For our purposes, it’s the drummer’s playing within the context of an ensemble or a piece of music that provides pulse and feel. That means both the overall pulse of the music at hand and the spacing of the notes orbiting around it. It’s not just metronomic timekeeping, but that’s a decent place to start.

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Time, Habit, and Self-Imposed Guilt

Welp, I haven’t written anything here in a while… And I’m not exactly sure why. The ideas come rolling through my head from time to time, but for some reason, it’s been tough to actually sit down and type them out – so, why not make a post about not making posts? (Cue Inception sound effects)

It’s a time thing, I suppose, and we all like to think that we’re the busiest people in the world – myself included. I am, to a point, with multiple bands and the itch to get in as much practice as I can, a day job, a girlfriend, chores to do… But nobody runs at 100% efficiency.

We’ve all got downtime. We all have those days where we’re burned out, evenings we just want to relax, moments where we choose “unproductive” things over the goals and ideals we’ve architected in our minds…

Then – and maybe this is all just my personal experience – we beat ourselves up in hindsight for lost opportunities or wasted time. This is foolish (and a lesson I need to learn better myself).

For anything, be it drumming or writing or booking or promotion or whatever, it takes TIME and EFFORT to yield results. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty damn easy to neglect the things we know we should be doing (or event want to do) in favor of entertainment, rest, or because it simply didn’t occur to us to spend time in that particular way on any given day.

Time management is important, sure, but there’s something else at stake here: HABIT.

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What to Practice: The Paralysis of Too Many Options

The “to do” list is long, right?

Speed drills, independence, booking gigs, editing videos, adding photos to your website, fixing gear, replacing heads, learning songs…

And even beyond Drum Land:

Do the dishes, call your mother, pay the bills, fix that leak, follow up with a friend, fold the laundry, mow the lawn…

There’s a LOT to do. All the time.

Every minute of every day there’s something that could use your time and attention – whether it’s for drums, your home life, your job, your family, your career… whatever. If you parsed out every last thing you need (or want) to get done, you end up with a list a mile long – and worse, a crippling feeling that you’ll never be able to get through it all (a feeling I know all too well).

That very problem is a mental pitfall called “analysis paralysis” – and it’s exactly what the name suggests: with too many choices, you overthink the decision to the point of not choosing anything – and do nothing instead.

Or, even when you do choose something, it’s tough to get the other options out of your head – and so you don’t fully focus on the task at hand.

Am I working on the right thing? Is this a waste of time? What am I forgetting?

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Life Gets In The Way

“Life gets in the way” they say, when all that minutia and micromanagement pulls us away from projects or practice, when we fall short on our promises to get together with this musician, and learn that song, and take care of x or y…

They tell kids to get the practice in when they’re young, before this dreaded “life” creeps in and drags us into the real world, leaving our drum kits to rot, dust covered in the corner of a mortgaged basement.

 [Insert every poor, neglected Craigslist drum kit you’ve ever seen.]

 
The reality isn’t quite so dismal for everyone, necessarily, but there are certain “responsibilities” – whatever they may be – that divert our attention away from what we think we’d rather be doing. Hours roll by, and we’re stuck with precious few moments to squeak out some paradiddles during a lunch break.

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