Reconnecting with Drumming


This weekend I actually “shedded” for the first time in about ten years or so.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s basically a music geek word for practicing.  It felt good.

The behind the scenes work at proficiency at anything is fairly boring in most cases.  And as is the case with most disciplines, there is a wealth of stuff to work on when it comes to playing drums.  This weekend I focused on mechanical issues and getting a level of comfort back with my hands.  I joked with my wife that creativity sometimes just seems to be a disciplined version of ADD.  She laughed and gave me one of those puzzled looks.  “Basically” I said, “I find many detours from my initial vantage point to when I stop.  Inevitably I come up with a cooler concept than what I started out with and my practice session takes a 180 degree turn from where it started.”  And it’s true.  I started out with a certain set of exercises that I envisioned working on and ended up writing out a series of ideas that I had never thought of before.  I’d make a terrible teacher because even at my most disciplined state I am still trying new things and can’t seem to stick to a well-intentioned plan.

I went through a book yesterday that I have been using since 1983.  The book is entitled Stick Control and it has been a tool used by countless percussionists for eons.  Over the years as I have met other drummers I have come to the realization that everyone seems to have their own version of how to practice the exercises.  I love the creative ways that others have adapted this book to help their playing.  The pages are now tattered and are literally filled with notes and suggestions from when I started practising with a purpose.

It felt like having a conversation with an old friend.  A trip down memory lane on the one hand but one with the promise of new direction and purpose.

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