5 values I’ve learned from drumming

Drumming is a relationship. I don’t even know what means. Most people think drums are about loud noises and annoyed neighbours. Though that isn’t entirely untrue, playing the drums has certainly taught me many values.

1. YOUR EMOTIONS ARE TRANSFERABLE

Law of state transference. Law of state transference basically states that however one feels, he/she feels it too. Regardless of your skill, your emotions are felt. Your audience feels it. As a drummer, your emotional state plays a big role. If you feel like shitting, so will your audience. If you ever played in a band, you would notice that if your drummer isn’t feeling it, your song isn’t gonna feel it either. No matter how much you practice. So if you ever see your drummer not feeling it, slap him and tell him to smile.

2. THE HUSTLE IS QUIET AND BORING

On television, we often see bands killing it. Fireworks at the drop of a beat. Fans girls yelling. DRUM SOLO. Band members jumping. Fucking adrenaline rushes. Sweat dripping down the faces of the good looking band boys. Soon, you find yourself quitting your job to join a band, only to find out that not only are you broke, but you’re broke with a bunch a homeless guys. (at least you have some company, not too bad ey?) You get your adrenaline rushes from syringes and  cold sweat drips down your face.

Back to the point. The hustle is quiet and boring. No one sees the hustle. You sit hours and hours by yourself in the room with your practice pad everyday and go “ta ta ta ta, dom dom dom ta, oh fuck, repeat”. There is no better way to teach someone the meaning of hustle than drumming.

3. LEAD YOUR MEN

Most people often refer to the drummer as the “backbone” or the “support” of the band. However, as a drummer, your role is in fact, to lead. You are the fucking heart of the band. You ain’t gonna stop or they’ll drop. (Oo, I like that) As I said previously in the first point, your emotions are transferable. Therefore, if you feel good playing the drums, your band can feel it and they too in turn will feel good which the audience will then feel it too. Isn’t it awesome when everyone is jumping and having an awesome time.

Tip for emotionally retarded drummers : smile and headbang

4. YOUR MASTERY CURVE IS IN FACT SHAPED LIKE TYRA BANKS’ BODY CURVES

Most people start learning a skill with the idea that your progress is going to be a constant straight line up with time. However, that is not the case. Through the years of practicing, you will find days where you think you’re the shit and you feel like a genius because you’re just improving so quickly.. until you hit a downphase. Your hands might be particularly rigid and you can’t play as well as you did yesterday.

According to George Leonard, the author of the book “Mastery”, your mastery curve in fact, looks like this:

mastery-curve

When you start learning a skill, you will find yourself improving very quickly and learning many things at the start. That’s where many people start to think “I found my passion!” Don’t be deceived. After a period of an up-phase, you will even face a small drop in improvement. These are times where you were able to play that blast beat yesterday, and for some weird reason you can’t do it anymore. 50% of people who weren’t serious about taking up the skill will give up here.

After the down-phase, you will hit a plateau which is what you will experience majority of the time on your path to mastery.  These are times where you practice the same thing for months and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. What you need to do in the period of a plateau is to continue practicing and trust the process. If you ever feel like giving up, know that after every plateau is an up-phase.

In fact, if you look at the curve above, you will see that no matter how many times you hit a plateau, you will always be higher than your previous plateau. That way, you know that you are always better than before. And if, you still choose to take up the challenge and walk the path of mastery, you have my respect.

5. LOVE THE PROCESS

The process isn’t easy. You will have to sit in a room alone listening to the metronome every fucking day, practice the same rudiments every fucking day. It may become a chore, but you have to learn to love the every stroke of the drumstick, the every tick of the metronome. Make gooves out of the most boring exercises. If you can love the process, that’s when you will truly reach mastery. You will be unstoppable. Results will only give you temporal satisfaction but the process is eternal. Now that’s some deep shit.

The process isn’t easy but I promise it will be worth it.

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Author: LEON TJANG

Drummer. Hustler. Asian.

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