I have to admit that I’ve never had a good practice routine, except when I was a kid and had to practice piano for half an hour a day. Even when I was finally allowed to switch over to snare lessons, I really dreaded time spent at the practice pad. Drilling those rudiments can be painfully dull.
Then again, practice with my high school punk band was awesome. The chances of a practice turning into a mini concert/party was always fairly high, and while our practices weren’t always productive, they were fun. One thing that stood in my way as a drummer was the inability to practice on a kit by myself, away from these little debauchery sessions. Many years later I finally have my little Roland e-kit, which I love playing but I’m still not practicing like I should. Since I mostly focus on recording, I don’t feel the pressure of being able to nail a part perfectly night after night…I just have to get it right once with the tape rolling.
But about two years ago I was thinking of taking some drum lessons when I saw that a producer/guitarist I know was taking a break between tours and was giving guitar lessons. I was actually contemplating giving up guitar for good at that point due to my arthritis, but I knew that I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. And man…I had to start with little “microsessions” of about 5 minutes each at first, but now I can sit and play for up to an hour.
I’ve been much better about practicing since starting these lessons, mostly because I don’t want my teacher to feel like he’s wasting his time with me. I still spent a lot of my “practice” time just screwing around and trying to come up with my own progressions rather than drilling on scales or arpeggios like I should, but I’ve been playing and enjoying practice more than ever. Even those scales can sound pretty cool once you get them loaded with enough effects!
So how about the rest of you? How much time do you spend a day/week on practicing or rehearsals? Any tips you want to share about how to make practice time the most effective it can be? And where do you practice? Just having the ability to practice your chosen instrument whenever you’d like is a luxury that many of us simply don’t have.
Also, feel free to let us know how you’re coming along with the Song Writing Challenge! I think I’ve made some progress with my space/prog/trip hop odyssey but it will probably need a few more time and key changes before it really starts to come together.