Using goal setting in your drum practice will make you better faster. There has NEVER been a better time in history to get better at playing the drums! What are your drum practice goals? Do you have drum practice goals?
How about improving your coordination, speed or dynamics? Or, what about fixing that weak hand? In this blog post, I’m going to teach you the anatomy of a goal and how use it to supercharge your practice!
Goal setting guarantees greater success
When I was starting out on drums, my only goal was to become a professional drummer, period. What I didn’t know is that there would be thousands of small drum practice goals I would achieve along the way. Things like learning:
- Clean double stroke rolls
- 8th-note drum beats
- 16th-note drum beats
- Jazz Swing feel
- Jazz coordination
- Brazilian grooves
This is a partial list. Obviously, there were so many more drum practice goals that made me the drummer I am today. I also had great drum teachers along the way, who created drumming those goals for me.
As I achieved each goal, I felt successful and motivated to learn more. If we don’t have goals, we’re like a leaf blowing in the wind. We’ll skip from one thing to the next and probably not finish most of what we start. Progress will be minimal at best.
First and foremost, if you don’t have a teacher, get one! See my blog on how to choose the right drum teacher. Next, grab some paper and a pencil. Write down your top 3 styles of music you want to learn. Rank them by How motivated you are to learn them. These are mine, for example:
- Jazz (Super excited to learn)
- Brazilian (Excited to learn)
- Hip-Hop (Happy to learn)
In this blog post, we’re going to take your #1 style and write a drum practice goal for it. You can do this for the other 2 styles or any number of styles you want to learn. For now, let’s focus on just one so I can teach you about goal setting.
Goal Setting in 2 easy steps
I teach goal setting to people of all walks of life through my book Gifted, 6 Steps For A Fulfilling Life. Goal setting will work great for changing any aspect of your life. It will also work for helping you get better on the drums.
Writing out your drum practice goals will focus your practice time on only the things that will help you improve. When we write things down, ideas become more real. Our path to be a better drummer becomes clearer with goals. So, it’s time to get those ideas out of your head and onto paper.
The anatomy of a focused, powerful goal is: I AM POSITIVE AND S.M.A.R.T.
SETTING DRUM PRACTICE GOALS STEP 1
“I Am Positive” spelled out simply means:
- “I” = You are the most important person needed to accomplish each goal.
- “Am” = You are accomplishing your goal right now in the present.
- “Positive” = You are clearly focused on what you want to accomplish.
Every time you write a drum practice goal, it will begin with the letter “I.” You are the one who wants to get better at drumming.
Always write your goal as if you are already achieving it. This is the “Am.” If you keep your goal focused on the present tense, you will program your mind to get things done faster. It also helps you to stay focused on what you want to achieve. Here are some examples:
- I practice
- I learn
- I search for
- I buy
- I play
- I contact
Lastly, Use only positive words in your goals. Always focus 100% of your goal on what you want to achieve and 0% on what you don’t want. For example:
WRITE THIS: I play clean double stroke rolls…
DON’T WRITE THIS:
I no longer play messy double stroke rolls…
Write the words that create an image of what you want in your mind. This is very powerful in helping you stay motivated. Words really make a difference.
SETTING DRUM PRACTICE GOALS STEP 2
Next, let’s learn about the S.M.A.R.T. part of your drum practice goals. S.M.A.R.T goals make you crystal clear about what you want to accomplish with your drum practice. They also help you know what action you’ll need to take to achieve your goals the fastest. Let’s break down the acronym S.M.A.R.T. for you now.
- S = Specific: This is the “What, Who and sometimes Where” of your goal. Be very specific with your wording. Make it abundantly clear to yourself, exactly what you want to accomplish. Paint a future picture in your mind about what you are doing on the drums.
- M = Measurable: Measurable simply means that you need to write numbers into your goals to help you see your progress. Things like BPM (Beats Per Minute) and the number of minutes you practice a specific skill (i.e. double stroke rolls) are good examples.
- A = Attainable: This means you want to and believe that you can, achieve your goal. Sometimes people say they don’t have enough time. This is where you decide if you will MAKE the time.
- R = Realistic: Here, you have to be really honest with yourself and figure out if you have the necessary skills to accomplish your goal. Even if you don’t have the necessary skills now, you can develop them. For example, maybe you want to play your drums like Jazz drummer Tony Williams. If you have never played Jazz before, you may want to learn some Jazz coordination exercises.
- T = Time Sensitive: This is the “When” of your goal. Be sure to write a specific date for your goal to be achieved. Add the month, day and year if you can. This will help you to get it done!
EXAMPLE DRUM PRACTICE GOAL
Let’s write a drum practice goal for your #1 style from your list of styles you want to learn. We’re going to focus on getting better at our double-stroke rolls. We use them all the time in every style of drumming so this is a good one. We’ll use reverse rolls as a goal to achieve this.
Each drum practice/reverse double-stroke rolls
I believe I can do it!
Yes. I know how to hold drumsticks
Plan your practice time
Once you’ve written 5 drum practice goals of things you want to learn for a specific style of music, use them to plan out your practice time. For example, the first 10-minutes of each practice will be playing reverse doubles.
If you’re practicing for 1 hour then you still have 50 minutes remaining to plan. Fill in the rest of the practice time with your remaining goals. If you’ve still got some time left, just have some free bashing time on the drums!
To get the most out of your practice time, I also suggest you read my blog post about how to learn drums fast. It explains how we learn and the most effective way for you to practice.
I’m sure you can see how specific your practice will become using goals. Write your drum practice goals everyday for best results! You can remove goals from your list as you accomplish them. Write new ones as you improve. You may also find that some goals have to wait until a later time because you’re not ready to tackle them. That’s what I call Goal Shuffling and it’s a natural part of the process.
Just keep writing and reading your drum practice goals every day and they will soon become a part of your thoughts and practice. Get ready for your drumming skills to explode!
I can help
If you’re not sure what things you should be working on and which drum practice goals are appropriate for your drumming improvement, find a teacher.
If you want to dive deeper into Goal Setting and make a living from playing drums, check out my book Gifted. It’s short and sweet showing you how to create a successful drumming career and a great life. KEEP ON DRUMMIN’!
Check out DRUMMING GIGS. LISTEN TO GET MORE for tips on how to listen properly on all of your drum gigs!
PREPARE FOR YOUR JAZZ GIGS. Download high-quality, effective DRUMLESS TRACKS. Improve your time, feel, comping and soloing. Learn to play better with real musicians.
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Also check out my BEYOND DRUM BEATS PODCAST. If you are pursuing a career in music and drumming, this podcast is a valuable resource.