Monday, March 03, 2008

8 more virtual miles walked

I'm loving this conversion of drums to miles thing. LOL. I practiced two more hours today, and about an our into it finally got the jam session out of my system. That means I walked 18 miles over the last 2 days. Kinda-sorta.

For the first hour I just played along with music again, and as time wore on I realized that either I was playing worse than yesterday, or more likely, I was now actually hearing myself play instead of just rolling along.

So, it was back to actually working on rudiments and timing (i.e. actually practicing) for about an hour.

On one hand, I realize that I'm much further along in learning to play these things than when I started. On the other hand, I have no idea how my progression is vs. where I should have expected to be by this point. My first drum lesson was August 6th, which means that, later this week, I will pass the 7 month mark of playing. While I can't say that I've practiced as much as I would have liked, I have, at the same time, been legitimately and consistently practicing, probably on the order of 5 hours a week if you were to average out the time when I'm on trips and get only limited practice. When I'm at home it's more like 7 hours I'm sure. And there are more intense weeks, like this week where I've practiced 4.5 hours over 2 days.

Anyway, that's something between 150 and 200 hours of practice. Yet I'm not even remotely capable of really playing a song of any complexity at all. With my sheet music in the "Rockin' Bass Drum" book (LOL - what a name), I'm about half way through it and can mix and match the rhythms pretty consistently. For any drummers that might be reading this, it consists of using the bass on any of th 16th note beats, which is good, but the snare is always just 2-4 and the hi-hat is 1+2+3+4 always closed. Basically, my hands are coasting along and my one foot does something interesting. But some of them do sound pretty cool anyway.

However, then when I go to play a song, my ability to apply any of that is dramatically limited. I basically can play along with just the most basic rhythms like snare on 2,4 bass on 1,3 or 1,2,3,4, hi hat closed on 8ths. Maybe (and only recently), I can go all crazy and hit the crash on 1 once in a while, or go way crazy and hit it on the "ah" or "and" of 4 AND on the 1. Woah. All the fancy Rockin' Bass Drum footwork goes right out the window.

And I can do some basic fills, although if the music is not a basic 3e+a 4e+a fill or something like that (and it seems like it seldom is), I'm lost. And even then I'm pretty limited. Luckily I can work a simple 1 count, 4 beat snare fill in after I've already heard the drummer in the actual song start his break, so I can act like I'm kinda doing something.

(I realize I completely lost the non-drummers. Sorry about that).

Anyway, I suppose as with any instrument there comes a point where you think "Shouldn't I be farther along?" and I'm at that point. Sometimes I feel stuck, sometimes I make a little progress, but the ability to actually sit down and play songs consistently seems quite a way off yet. So much for my plan of paying off the mortgage with my mad drum skills as a second career. LOL.

Ah well. I realized that I'm really just ranting to myself, but you'd think over 100 hours of something and you'd be pretty good at it. With drums, apparently that's not hardly enough. But at least I'm enjoying it, so I'll just keep at it and hopefully see steady improvements.

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