Few memories stand out to me like when my neighbor gave me a copy of the self titled Pat Metheny Group album. From that moment forward, I had a vision for music and how I wanted to play. Even at age 16, I knew I had to get back into music and I loved the drums (I had played trumpet and some drums through elementary and middle school). Within a few years, I had a kit, an arsenal of books, and a much broader vision of music and how I wanted to play. The online community was just starting to form, and materials were quickly becoming more and more abundant.
Have you ever wanted a fast and effective way to get your body loose before you start playing? I know that my playing feels much better when my body is nimble and ready to respond.
You might not know, but my *other* hobby is Olympic-style weightlifting. That means my body HURTS all the time. It's a constant battle to keep it relaxed. In my sport, if you're not getting looser, you're getting tighter.
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.
Something strange happened tonight.
Last week I decided that I would start a loading phase at the gym. This means training heavy 10+ hours per week (and lots of added recovery time, extra sleep and so on). Therefore, I was only drumming for about an hour each evening. I didn't bother warming up, I just jumped into reading the Gary Chester book with a system I came up with. I'd also spend 10 or 20 minutes on improvising over the Thomas Lang Cooridnation Matrix ostinatos I already know.
Drumming is a way of life, but not all drummers have the chance to start their training while still young: very often people start to feel the urge of expressing themselves through drums in their adult life, when school and college time have passed, and they have the time and freedom to find their personal way of expression.
Most adults begin their drum lessons for beginners with exercises, which increase the perception of time and improve the ability to read sheets music. From there forward, the key to succeed is just practice, practice and practice!
I have struggled significantly with bringing my single stroke roll speed above 16th notes at 175 BPM. This morning, I was able to hold 16th notes at 185 BPM. This was a result of consistent, daily work for many months (about 5 months). I found that my speed really leveled off for most of that time.