Wouldn’t you rather be playing drums right now? Well, when summer is in full swing, the great outdoors has a way of diverting even the most disciplined drummer’s attention. It’s easy to forget about inverted paradiddles when the sun is out and you’d rather be biking, hiking, or meeting up with friends for a game.
How do you get motivated when the weather is awesome? If you’re having trouble keeping up your routine with all these distractions, here are five ways to maximize your practice time this summer:
Whether it’s the park or your backyard, practicing outside is a win-win. Grab your pad, metronome and headphones, and keep your technique in peak form while soaking up the sun.
Come up with a routine that will both challenge and inspire you. Put on a hip hop track and groove along by layering corps rudiments overtop. Play in between the click subdivisions. Work on patterns where you can switch between straight 16ths and triplets. Keep time with your left foot in the grass, and…hey, is that a pigeon?
It doesn’t sound appealing to spend 2-3 hours indoors when you’d rather be outside, does it? If you can get the results you want in less time, you’ll be more likely to set aside time for a daily practice session.
Creating a plan will keep you on track and make sure you’re only playing what you want to work on that day. Try the Pomodoro Technique to plan your practices:
If you have time, check out Matt Garstka’s full lesson on how to create systems for efficient practice:
The best way to stay on track is to choose a specific goal and work towards it. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Do you want to work through Stick Control from front to back? Play a single stroke roll at 180 bpm? Master three of your favorite drummer’s toughest grooves? Learn one new song every month?
Once you know where you want to go, decide how you’ll get there. Maybe one part of your plan is to join an online drum community who can help hold you accountable to your goals. Maybe you aren’t sure where to start, and you want to take a course to get into the right mindset.
Listen to this podcast episode for a more in-depth discussion on what this all looks like (and how making a plan is even more important than setting the goal).
If you’re sweating to death in your studio, garage or living room, you probably won’t want to practice for long. Find ways to stay cool and comfortable while drumming.
Get a high-velocity floor fan – the air flow is much stronger and more focused than a regular oscillating fan. Keep a towel on hand, and make sure you have a bottle (or, let’s be honest, a pitcher) of cold water ready to go. If you’ve prepared everything before you sit down, you’ll be less likely to get distracted when you realize you forgot something and leave the kit.
Even if you don’t bring the pad, you can still take the benefits of spending time in the sun back to your rehearsal room. UV rays increases the levels of endorphins in your blood, which can lower stress.
Sun exposure helps you produce vitamin D, which is linked to the production of serotonin (the ‘happy’ hormone). There’s also evidence that it helps battle depression. So if you’re feeling happy and relaxed, you might feel more in the mood to pick up your sticks. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
Now get out there, stay motivated, and keep playing!
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