Welcome to the studio drummer chats. This is a creativity podcast that is about all things creative. Drumming, music production. If you're a musician, you'll get some good stuff out of the things that we're talking about. If you're an artist, if you're a writer, a lot of the things that we talk about apply to all different creative disciplines. My name is Jonathan Kazan IV, and I'm known on the Web as the studio drummer. Today I'm going to be talking about how to practice and again these things are useful and will help you achieve just about anything in life. It's not just specific to drumming, although I used these on a daily basis as a method to get better at playing the drums. But I also used these tips for a lot of other things as well. I did a video that covered four of these on YouTube, just recently released. My YouTube channel is the studio drummer. Please go check it out and subscribe again. You'll find lots of interesting things that are not just necessarily related to drums, but I hope you'll check that out. It's the studio drummer on YouTube today in the podcast though I'm going to go into those four things that I talked about a little more deeply and maybe even add some more things on to that. The first tip that I discussed in that video in the first tip that I'm going to discuss today is to set on alarm to remind you to do whatever it is you're trying to do with smartphone technology. We all have awesome reminders, alarm scheduling calendars in our pocket. So there's kind of no excuse for not having alarm go off to remind you to do the things that you need to do for me. Very busy life. Ah, and the way my brain works. I really need alarms because I need a daily reminder to do things. It helps me a lot. And, you know, after a couple of weeks of an alarm going off at a certain time, he start to develop new and good habits, and you start to think of it at four o'clock. I'm going to do this, but it takes some time to get there. It may take a month or two months are, you know, depending on how you're wired, but just simply setting a daily alarm. Keep in mind that if you aren't able to respond to that alarm in other words, if if it says that you need to do this at this time and you are unable to do it and then the next day you don't do it in the third day you put it off, you're probably going to get to the point where you're kind of ignoring the alarm. It'll come up and you just hit the dismiss button and move on. So don't get caught up into that. If that happens a couple of times in a row, you may need to stop and check the time that it's going off and make sure that you've scheduled at the time that works for you. And that's a big part of setting. The alarm is sitting down and actually thinking about Okay. Ah, I worked during these hours. I spend time with my family during these hours, I'm eating dinner. During this time, it forces you to sit down and look at the time that you have allotted to think about when you can actually work on those things that you need to work on and remember these baby steps there could be huge. So if you're able to on Lee, put aside 10 minutes a day to work on something or half a hour a day, you know, don't beat yourself up about it, just do it. The more that you do it, the easier it will become. And the more important something becomes to you, the more time you will be able to make Fort in your life, I'm reminded of. You know, this is an extreme example, but when I was taking piano lessons as an adult have taken piano lessons several times throughout my life. I was working a full time job and would go to piano lessons after work. So sometimes the only time that I could really cram in practicing was during my lunch hour. So I bought a cheap keyboard with full size keys like maybe a 41 key or something kind of small that I could stick on the seat of my car and something I wouldn't be too upset if it got damaged or stolen off eBay. And during my lunch hour, I got to my car and put my music on my steering wheel and put my piano in my lap and scoot the seat back in the car in practice while I was eating lunch. So if you're determined to do something, you can find the time to do it. I teach and I talked to a lot of students on a daily basis. And, you know, we all do this we all make excuses for I was busy and I had this and things were so crazy. And sometimes that really is just the truth. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to get something done. But you got to be honest with yourself. Number two have something specific to practice, so this is really important. And, you know, there's nothing wrong with. I hear a lot of people sort of criticizing the idea of just sitting down and jamming for an hour. And then you do that every day, and then you come back and you're not. You're not actually practicing because you're just like shredding for an hour. Well, guess what? If you're shredding for an hour, you're building your chops, you're working on creativity. You're doing lots of good things. So there's nothing wrong with just having fun and jamming. But If you have a specific idea in mind of what it is you're working on, it will help you achieve your goals a little more easily. Now let's say that your goal is to be a better improviser. Well, if you sit down with a click or sit down with a piece of music or sit now with nothing and start shredding and you're making up new parts and improvising and you're consciously aware that you're doing that, that's the key. Then you're practicing, so you have to be realistic about what it is that you're trying to achieve. If you're trying to achieve a faster, cleaner, single stroke role, then you need to come at it from a different angle. You need to say, I am going to work on my single stroke role for 10 minutes at this BPM. I'm going to step up from this ppm to this BPM, and I'm going to set a goal, which is coming up next on number three. But it's part of this. They're kind of joined together. I'm going to set a goal of achieving this BPM by this date. The same thing can apply to having something specific of practice. You're working out of a book. I'm going to try toe. You know, I'm working out of this book or I'm working on learning this song or I'm working on, uh, learning this set of songs. Also, having something specific to practice really helps you focus when you sit down. So the idea the truth of the criticism that I was saying earlier about sitting down and just shredding for half an hour is that while there's nothing wrong with that, you may or may not be achieving what you really need to achieve. So if your goal in the back of your mind is man, I would really like to learn, you know, 20 blues songs so that I get a better sense of the vocabulary. So, you know, there's this group of guys down on the corner and they have this open mic, and I would really love to just be able to go in and sit in with them one night. But I feel like to get to that point like I've gotta learn to vocabulary. I've gotta learn more blues songs. You know, I don't really feel like my shuffles really happening or whatever. And you're sitting down and you're shredding, uh, your chops every day. It's probably not gonna help you get to that point where you're killing the blues. So that's that's the criticism they're about about when people say, you know, make sure you're not just just, you know, sitting down, having fun every day, actually do sitting and have fun every day. If you have time to do that and set goals, you know that those were those were both good. But back to what I said earlier about having something specific and being aware. Just be aware of what it is you're working on. Sometimes I'll sit down and I'll take like a particular style of music like, let's just say it's chill hop, you know, or some sort of chill hip hop kind of kind of stuff, and I'll stream that for half an hour, and I'm playing along with it. Well, it's fun, but what I'm working on specifically is I'm working on metronomic timing because all of that stuff is ah, you know, 98% of it is done to a grid. I'm working on my right foot. I'm these things I'm thinking about is I'm playing. I'm working on groove. Uh, I'm kind of into trap trap E Trapp ish strappy vibe right now. So I'm throwing in trap stuff. On top of that, I'm making up some my own trap stuff, which means that for me that I'm kind of incorporating a lot more left hand stuff on the hi hat or, you know, double hand stuff on the high hat. Ah, a lot of, you know, tripling its four. Whatever. So all these things while I'm just having fun, just playing Sometimes I'm just grooving all these things I'm mentally working on as I play. Now, that is in combination with having goals, which is number three. So having goals also ties in with the idea of keeping a log or making notes. So these two go hand in hand for me because the keeping notes part says okay for me, it says today I worked on the double stroke role at this speed, and I tried to do it for two minutes and it went pretty well. Or today I worked on the parrot. It'll at this speed, and it didn't go so well. I think I need to slow it down next time. The idea is that you know you are setting a goal. You're making notes about that goal. And, um, you know, you remember there are different kinds of goals. There's kind of a short term like I'd like to be ableto I'd like to be able to bump this up by two or three BPM by next week. I like to be ableto pump us up by 10 BPM by next month, but my ultimate goal is to reach this BPM. I'm talking about speed here, of course, not all about speed, but you get my point. It could be something such as I would like to be able to record myself playing with a song and listen back to it and have it feel good so that when I listened back to myself playing along with this song, my drums match the song, It feels good. It sounds good, and I think I can achieve that in a couple of months. First, I need to kind of learn the song, and then I need work on my recording, a little bed, and then I need to do this and do this so, keeping a log. The law could be really fast and simple. You know, today I worked on this. Went great today. I worked on this. Ah, struggle with it. So I need to slow it down for me again. You know, back to what I was saying about needing an alarm. I don't know about you guys, but I mean again about a lot going on. So when I come back to practicing, I don't remember what I did two days ago, you know? I mean, I might, but But if I see the notes, there it is. Okay. This BPM. Yes. Okay, good. Okay. I'm gonna pick up where I left off. And then, of course, setting the setting the goals. You might have that at the top of your you know, your notes on your on your phone. You know my goal for that, you might break it on the sub categories. You know, back to having something specific to practice. You might do five minutes on the single stroke. Five minutes on groove, five minutes on Phil's. Whatever. Okay. Number four make your practice. Time is easy as possible by having all of your stuff in one place. So does it matter? the instrument guitar, bass, drums, whatever. If you're sitting down to practice your guitar and you sit down, you're already you set your alarm and you've got 1/2 an hour just straight practice time. And you're like, Where's my pick? Um, and you spend three minutes looking for your pick, and then you say, Okay, I'm gonna let boot up my computer here so I can pull up this, Uh, you know, this tab that I'm working on? Three minutes to boot up, Search for the tab of two minutes. Pull up the tab, get it up on the screen. Okay. You're six minutes in now. Uh, ignore my math there, so you get my point. Oh, wait a minute. I'm outta tune. Oh, man. Where is the tuner? I'll just use my phone. I deleted that app. 10 minutes, and now you're 10 minutes into your 30 minute practice session. So, as much as possible, be conscious off. Have all of your stuff in one place. Have extra picks. I have an extra tuner. You know, have a have a snark stuck to your guitar. Um, have your sticks. Have your earbuds, your headphones, all that stuff ready to go. I'm really big on this. I'm real big on on efficiency of time as much as possible. Uh, my studio and I've done this for years. Like everything in my studio, it's stay except for the monitors wth e visual monitors and the audio monitor's they, you know, the audio monitor's automatically shut off in the visual monitors, have a switch to shut him off. But I leave everything in my studio on 24 7 And here's why I write is, well, I create stuff and there's nothing worse than having an idea and having to boot up your computer and pull up your doll and get a channel set and blah, blah, blah. And then the idea is gone. Of course, you can mitigate this by singing your idea into your iPhone, and I do that a lot, too. But when it comes to writing and those sorts of things my piano, my like my Roland stays on 24 7 but I can sit down and play. So I've worked out a system for me, you know, and that works really well for me. And I just want to make you aware that these little time kills. You know, I'm not even gonna get into social media. But these little time kills you. No distractions. That should be number five. I'm just going to throw that in there, get rid of the distractions. So, you know, when you're practicing, try to set up a new environment that says Don't bother me during these hours, you know? So you put your phone in. Ah, airplane mode. Um, in my studio, I have a recording light. So I hit a button, and it is wirelessly connected to a switch that I bought at Lowe's or Home Depot for 30 bucks. And it's a cool little device, and it turns the light on and lets everybody know I'm recording, so you may not have the luxury of having a recording studio, but But you can you let people in your life? No. Hey, when I'm in my practice corner, you know, I'm just gonna I'm gonna be try to be really super focused for half an hour. So if you could if you have anything short of the house burning down, if you have anything, if you could just wait until after I'm done, it would really be helpful, you know? So just be aware that, you know, it's easy to get distracted, and sometimes if you're working on something, it's a difficult or challenging. You want to get distracted because you don't want to deal with the thing in front of you. So you know my my next thing to think about my next tip that's goes a little deeper than the video would be. Be sure that you have something at the end of your practice session. That is fun. So if that is shredding for 1/2 an hour or shredding for 10 minutes out of your half hour, have it for five minutes or, if you have an hour, whatever. Have something fun. It might be playing a song. Make that year reward. So if you're practicing scales for your 1st 15 minutes and then you're working on your sight reading for your next 10 minutes, make that last five minutes something that you really enjoy doing something that's really fun. And sometimes I start with something fun. Start with something fun in with something fun. Find a formula that works for you, but make sure it's not all drudgery. Uh, you know, for me, even when I'm working on something hard and getting frustrated. It's still a great day. There's there's not a bad day when you're playing your instrument. You know the practicing part. Yes, it can be challenging. Yes, it can be tedious. But for me, I I love music so much and love playing so much it. I don't think of it that way, but I But I can relate to the fact that when you're trying to do something hard, you know I have goals, have goals in and out of the music world, but specific to playing an instrument that our man there, they're really tall mountains for me to climb. And so I just keep working at it. I don't know. I'm not even sure if I can reach him, you know. But but but part of the big part of the fun is trying. It's you know, it's the old saying, it's it's not the destination, It's the journey, Um, and there's a lot of truth to that. Keep in mind that a lot of what we're talking about here is in your head. It's psychological. So above all, be sure that if you miss one of these steps. Or if you fail in one of the steps, or if you forget to take notes one day, or if you miss a day of practice, don't beat yourself up about it. Just start over the next day. That is one of the biggest things that we have to battle, because sometimes we're like, Well, this isn't working out. I'm just gonna forget it. So, above all, keep going by having something fun by having an inquisitive mind by looking at it as something that's going to enrich you as a person. You've got to find some enjoyment in there because if you don't really like playing or you don't really like and that sounds crazy, if you listen to his podcast, you probably like playing. But if you don't really enjoy that part of it, everybody, everybody wants the icing first. Of course, we just want to play the songs. We want it. We want to sit down and just have fun playing the songs. Whatever that means to you might mean interacting with other people or being in a band or whatever, whatever, but that's where we want to be on the same way I wanna be? I wanna be a master now, Blood. We have to realize that it takes a little bit of discipline and one big step towards finding that little bit of discipline is developing good habits. And these things that things that I've mentioned will help you develop good habits. So setting an alarm, having something specific to practice, keep notes and set goals and make it as easy as possible for you have all of your stuff in one place have it there by a duplicate of picks and duplicative tuner so it doesn't move. And that way, when you sit down, you're not losing time. Ah, by having to find this and do that for your practice time, I hope that these tips help you get better. I hope that you can apply them. If so, please let me know. I can be reached a couple different ways. You can email me at J. C at Jake as music dot com. I am the studio drummer on Instagram, the studio drummer on YouTube. You can find the studio drummer on Twitter, and I convene found all over the web. Jake has music dot com J. C. A. Z M. U S i c dot com And I hope you will subscribe to this podcast. I'm going to be doing these on a regular basis and covering all kinds of fun stuff. I look forward to talking to you soon.