The Bulletproof Musician strikes again! If you haven't signed up for his weekly newsletters, again I highly suggest subscribing to them!
I was reading one of his recent posts, and even before he got to his main point, my eye caught this: goal-based practicing.
I certainly have been guilty of just doing repetition-based practicing, but the article gave me a fresh perspective on how I should approach my practice sessions, as well as what I should be practicing. While there are many things to work on, technically and musically, I really have to be picky with what I practice now, and what actually is useful as well. For example, I love playing the drumset, and I love polyrhythms and playing independent stuff, so I'd definitely want to do some work on some 7-over-6-over-5-over-4 kinda thing.. but the truth is, I have no real application for it as of now! I don't play in a rock band or even a progressive band (although I would love to - any guys out there looking for a drummer? :D) and so, practicing such a technical feat, while good for long-term preparation, serves me no purpose as of now.
(Who knows.. I might actually play in a progressive band later in the year and I'd have to eat my words..)
Goal-based practicing should be the basis of all practice sessions! I may have practicing formula since December 2015, but sometimes I lapse into repetition-based again, and Noa came at the right time to remind me of doing focused practice! Afterall, new year new practice routine right? (well.. kind of, since it's February already!)
Following a previous post, one thing I was told in school was to practice as much as I could while I was still in school, especially since playing percussion is a lot trickier - there are so many instruments to handle, and leaving school makes it worse because we wouldn't have access to those instruments (unless of course you own a studio full of instruments!) and we'll have to conjure up our own way of finding a solution to that. Of course, I didn't realise how important that was until I actually left school, so I'll be returning the favour by saying:
If you are currently a student, practice ALL you can while you're in school! Especially more so if you're a percussionist!
(There I said it, but we all know you'll only realise it after leaving school hahaha..)
But back to goal-oriented practice, I've started reworking my doubles and I decided that I should focus on that for now - to get them clean, tight, even and consistent. Stephen Taylor has a great 30-day routine that I'm currently trying. You can also try it out if you'd like to work on your doubles! If you're not a percussionist or drummer, prioritise your practice sessions and goals and work on them first. It could be long tones or getting the right articulation for a certain passage or dynamic control - it doesn't matter what it is, as long as you focus on one thing instead of multi-tasking. I find that by having a task to accomplish in my practice session has been really beneficial for me and I hope by sharing this information with you, it may help your practicing too.
As always, thanks for reading! If you have great tips and ideas for your practice time, do share them and hopefully it can help others and myself included! :) Stay safe and be well.