Monday, January 23, 2017

Change it up

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We do things the way we like.  We settle into habits that are comfortable.

The problem is, growth is rarely comfortable.  You want to be able to do 100 push-ups?  Be able to teach a wide range of skill levels?  Or maybe solo on odaiko for 5 minutes straight?  I guarantee you those are not going to come easily.

For some things, you have to try a little bit harder every time you try it.  Build endurance, muscle memory.  For other things, you have to experience a situation that is uncomfortable, that you struggle through and learn valuable lessons from.  But there are other options, too.  Here's one: change what you prefer.

  • Do you like to teach by talking a lot?  Then try saying much, much less.  You're forced to use a different skill set to get your point across. 
  • Do you like to play simple patterns when you solo?  Force yourself to add syncopation and/or not in predictable chunks of 4.
  • Do you like to play a lot of notes when you solo?  Cut back and make the ones you play more meaningful.  Utilize movement, fill the space.
  • Do you tend to let other people talk and not speak up?  Raise your hand, make a point.  Be heard.
  • Do you wind up staring at the drum(s) when you play?  Force yourself to look up and out, even if it means playing less notes or moving around less.
Personally, that last one is something I have to keep working on - force my gaze up and off the drums.  It's not easy but it will never change if I don't work on it.

If you make one (or more) of these changes intentionally, for a practice or two, or try other ideas like these that I didn't mention, you gain a sense of perspective, make a challenge for yourself, and I guarantee you it will lead you to improvements.

If you only like things a certain way, you can grow...until you no longer can, and also no longer want to.  That's a dead-end mindset.  Always strive for growth!

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