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  • Writer's picturePercussion IQ

Fix Your Focus

Updated: Oct 25, 2018

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins If you’re the best in the world at your given craft, odds are, you’re the best in the world at training for it. Look back at your last practice session and ask yourself a few questions.  What percent of time was used practicing what you need to practice?  What percent of time was used playing things you’re already good at?  Many of us fall into the trap of misallocating our practice time.  The additional problem that amplifies this trap is the lack of awareness around where our time is spent.  Many players feel that a 4 or 5 hour practice session should produce amazing results.  That would hold true if those 4 or 5 hours were strictly dedicated to improving your deficiencies in order to make the drumline you want. So how can you improve the focus of your practice sessions?

  1. Create a time study - Begin by bringing awareness to your time spent behind the drum.  Record your next few practice sessions.  Don’t do anything special with these.  Just practice how you normally would.  After you're done, you’ll need 2 tools.  A piece of scratch paper and a stopwatch (you can use the stopwatch app that comes standard on all cell phones).  Your job is to document, down to the minute, what you actually practiced.  You’ll probably be surprised that you spent more time playing your favorite DCI or WGI show licks than you did working what got you cut from your last audition. Check out our blog: What You Learn From Getting Cut

  2. Know what you need to work on - Your practice sessions won’t do much good unless you are practicing what you need to.  Many drummers have an idea of what they think they need to practice.  Often times this is different than what they actually need to work on.  You need to identify what you should be allocating 80% of your practice time. Check out our blog: Drumming Pareto - 80/20 Rule If you need help identifying what you need to practice you can work with a private instructor or get feedback from a Percussion IQ test.

  3. Execute - It’s now your job to do something with this information.  If you’ve completed steps 1 and 2 you’ll know how to better allocate your time and what you need to be practicing.  The key is to stay disciplined and not be tempted to fall back into practicing things you're already good at.  Try setting up a practice agenda.  Detail out how much time you’ll be spending on area of your practice.  It also doesn’t hurt to write down why you’re working on each area.  This serves as a great reminder and helps keep you focused on your goals.  An example would be:  Foot timing  - 20 Minutes- Was cut from drumline due to poor foot timing.  Each person's agenda will look a little different depending on where they are in their personal drumming career.  The agenda set up by someone playing drums for 1 year will look vastly different compared to someone that’s been in a top WGI or DCI group for several years.

We’d love to hear about how you structure your practice!  We can always learn from each other and share best practices! Comment on this post with your approach and why.

Author: John McClean

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