How much should I practice?
After teaching full time for the past 5 years, I got this question a lot: 'How much should I practice'. While this is a great question, it's difficult to answer. It's kind of like asking, how much should I workout at the gym?
Well It depends on your goals!
Again, just like the gym, what are you looking to do? Do you want six pack abs or are you looking to just get moving?
Here's my quick answer: Set a practice plan that is manageable.
If there's one thing you can do to setup yourself up for success, it's giving yourself a plan that you're not going to dread doing on the drive home from work. You should be psyched about what you're going to practice.
Here are some steps to follow:
Step 1: Set macro goals
Make over arching, big picture goals. For example:
- I want to be able to read sheet music.
- I want to play songs with my friends.
- I want to have faster hands.
- I want to move out of being a beginner drummer.
- I want to learn rudiments.
- I want to be a professional drummer.
Having these big goals can help you determine what kind of actions you need to take. Know this too: There's nothing wrong with wanting to just have fun. If you've bought a drum set, are a beginner, but ultimately just want to be able to jam songs with your buddies with in the garage; then plan your practice session around that. Would it be a good idea to practice some rudiments? Totally. If you’re looking to mostly have fun with drums, should you also be learning songs? 100%.
Your practice sessions need to align with your goals.
Step 2: Establish how much time you have to dedicate to drumming.
This is a big one, and it’s really easy to over estimate how much you can do. My best advice here: Start small and build up.
It’s better to plan on practicing 30 minutes, 2 days a week, and meet that goal, then to tell yourself you’re going to practice 5 days a week (and you already know you can’t meet that with your schedule) and feel like you’ve failed when you did ended up doing 2. This is a recipe for guilt.
You need to give yourself a feeling a success, a feeling of ‘Yeah, I set that schedule, and I did it for 4 weeks in a row’. Not only will you start to see noticeable results, but you’ll learn to make more and more time for playing.
Step 3: Give yourself 2-4 phases of your practice session.
Divide your practice sessions up into 2-4 phases. You can do more ultimately, but start here. This is an example of how this could be divided up:
- 5 minutes - Singles and Doubles
- 10 minutes - Learning new beats (hopefully on this website!)
- 10 minutes - Improvising over songs
My advice starting off, is to put the hardest things at the beginning, and the most fun at the end. You’ll slog through the things you’re not keen to do, and be motived to finish since the last phase is your favorite.
Step 4: Commit to a schedule, don't change your plan, and set a time to reassess.
You owe it to yourself, if you’re going to spend valuable time out of your day practicing, to commit actually finishing your practice session. Have you ever heard someone say ‘Man, I really regret spending 3 hours practicing last week… what a waste of time.’ Of course not! You’ll never regret spending time building a skill like drumming that lets you express yourself without words.
Commit to a timeframe, say 4-6 weeks. Once you’ve done that, don’t change the routine, even if you’re tempted to. Commit to the practice session that has been setup and the time frame you’ve allowed.
If you change your routine in the middle of this time, you're not going to be able to accurately assess the results you got.
- Make a plan.
- Follow through for 4-6 weeks.
- Reassess and adjust.
Where to go from here.
At Practice Drumming we're worked very hard to make your online drum lessons to have minimal talking and to get you playing as much as possible. Using this website to start a practice sessions is as easy as click a rudiment from the menu up top, watching an exercise video and playing along.
If you're struggling with getting your drumming to a place where you feel like you're consistently making progress, use this site 2-3x a week and we guarantee you'll see measurable results.