Friday, January 5, 2018

Know Your Limits

... and then plow past them as hard as you can.

We're not talking about a gambling habit here. If you're serious about drums (and life in general) you'll put some time into identifying both your personal strengths and weaknesses.

Working with our strengths is easy because it's self-rewarding. If you try something new and it works out well, you're rewarded and are therefore more inclined to try it again. Our weaknesses? Well we'd rather not even think about them, or maybe we're more comfortable denying them altogether.

Confronting our weaknesses will often make us stronger. The mere fact that we're tackling the issue can give us confidence and a feeling of competence. Acknowledging and working on a weakness will also help to minimize its impact on our lives and can even open up opportunities and discoveries.

I believe I've mentioned before that I have a poor memory. It's pretty hard to ignore because something or someone will point it out to me just about every day. And so I've worked on various techniques to help me remember, or at least to not lose track quite so badly. For example, I analyze tunes extensively to help me remember them. I chart them, make cue cards and sometimes even transcribe them. These exercises and systems have resulted in some respectable improvements.

Sometimes a simple work-around will get the job done when things just aren't coming together. Having trouble playing fast tempos? Find some stickings and patterns that give you a fast sound with less stress. Can't get your head around some complicated beat? Reduce it to its essential components:  pare it down, eliminate some of the complexity. Have trouble remembering things? Keep a notepad handy. Trouble identifying tunes? Create a database of first lines and keep it on your cell phone.

No matter what 'limit' is giving you trouble, you can probably find a solution. So don't be afraid to acknowledge your stumbling blocks, and then look for creative ways to overcome them.