If you've found that your practice schedule has become bloated or seems unproductive, here’s a simple litmus test to eliminate the ‘bad foods’ from your drum diet.
1. Is it useful?
Can I relate the material to the music that I play? If I can’t think of a tune or a place in a tune where the material would be a good fit, then I'll likely take it off my schedule.
2. Is it achievable and in a reasonable length of time?
I like to do a return on investment analysis on exercises. What am I going to get back from this and how long will that take? If the ROI doesn't make sense, then I’ll move on to something else.
3. Is it “me”?It’s important that what we work on helps us to express ourselves and our personal musical sense. While it might be useful and achievable, does it fit with what I want to do on the drums? As with a diet, if it doesn’t suit me, there’s not much point in spending time on it.
There is so much material around these days that there's no excuse for working on stuff that won’t get you to where you want to go. The challenge, then, is to separate the wheat from the chaff to make your practice schedule both lean and nutritious.