Dealing with Genetic Restrictions
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about genetic restrictions and the impact that has my practice routines.
I know Thomas Lang explains "Creative Coordination" that he doesn't believe in "talent" . . . but that hard work will pay off for just about anybody. That's why he's reached such a level - through focused practice for many years.
However, people do have (at least) physical restrictions which prevent them from doing certain things. Or, it makes it a lot harder to master something, because progress is much slower than it can be for other people.
An excellent example of this is in strength sports like powerlifting. Every competitive powerlifter I've met put on the majority of their strength within the first three years of training. After that, they face diminishing returns on strength gains.
The problem is that the opposite case is also true - people don't get fast results after three or four years of training, EVEN IF they weren't strong in the first place. They too face the problem of diminishing returns, but their strength levels after the first three years can much, much lower.
What I'm curious about is how this relates to drumming.
If you've read back far enough in my blog (or on my site www.personality-development.org), then you know that I hit a tough plateau with my single stroke roll earlier this year. I could not get above 175bpm at 16th notes, no matter how much I practiced. After about 4 months of work, I was able to play 180bpm. But, it was A LOT of work!
During this time, I asked Johnny Rabb (who once held the world record for the single stroke) about my problem. He explained that there are diminishing returns, and that what is important is being able to play consistent strokes, rather than push for crazy speed. He also mentioned that all players face a genetic limit, too.
So, with something physical like singles, it's clear that certain people have an advantage, but more importantly . . . certain people have a DISADVANTAGE.
I'm not trying to underplay the value of practice. I'm just wondering how players can identify their restrictions and find ways to become a player, keeping them in mind. I mean, if a person is bad at something, maybe they can work on the things they are GOOD at and be better off.
In fact, everybody has both disadvantages and advantages. My argument is that we need to take a step back and evaluate what our problems are, and IF it's worth the amount of effort taken to focus on those problems. In some cases, IT'S NOT practical to hone in on weaknesses, because we can excel when we develop our strengths.
The problem with drumming is that it is an artform, and therefore subject to interpretation. Unlike powerlifting - which is absolutely objective - drumming doesn't have a scoreboard to track results.
How do you keep track of progress? Leave a comment below and let me know if you think it's a good idea to focus on your weaknesses.