Want to eventually land your dream drumming gig? As you learn to play the drums, setting goals from the very beginning will help you get on the right path. Read on for helpful tips from San Diego, CA drum teacher Maegan W...
We’ve all heard about goals before, right? We’ve heard the 1979 Harvard study that showed only 3% of the MBA graduates had written down their goals, and that they earned 10 times more money than those who didn’t have goals at all, and earned twice the amount of those who had goals but never wrote them down.
This is true with your drumming success too! Having clearly defined objectives and goals is the fastest and surest way to success.
That being said, setting and accomplishing goals goes beyond just writing them down. Once you are clear on what you want, then you can begin to figure out how to accomplish it. So here we go, six steps to setting and accomplishing you goals as you learn to play the drums and work toward a career in music.
1) Determine Your Vision
This is the most important step. If you don’t know what you want, how will you get it?
Take some time to really figure this out, and have fun with it. What do you want to create for your everyday experience? Once you do this, it becomes a lot more clear what kind of drum career you really want.
Write down what you want your life as a whole to look like, and also the specific drumming skills and experiences you want. What kind of drummer do you want to be? Would you like to play tighter grooves? The craziest fills? Be the fastest, most versatile? Whatever you crave, make it your focus as you practice.
2) Make A Decision
This is so important on many different levels. Making an actual decision tells your subconscious mind that you are committed and serious. Once you make a decision, the ball immediately gets rolling. This doesn’t mean that challenges won’t arise, or that your path won’t take unexpected turns, but it means you are committed to becoming whatever you set your mind to, whatever your future vision is.
Technically speaking, if you decide that you are going to be the best drummer in the world, you are setting yourself up for failure. There is no real way to measure this, because it is a matter of opinion. If, however, you decide that you will be able to play any chart put in front of you, or play a double paradiddle as 16th note triplets as a fill at 160 bpms, this is absolutely obtainable and measurable.
3) Take Action
This is the part a lot of drummers fail to do. They come up with all these great plans and goals as they learn to play the drums, but never take the necessary action to accomplish them.
We can become fearful of success. But the truth is we must act first, then motivation follows. You know the saying “Just do it!” Every day, do least one action that will directly bring you closer to your goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Brick by brick, my friend.
4) Measure /Track
Keep track. This is so often overlooked, but imperative to success. The entire job of a private drum teacher is to help keep track of your progress, give your higher goals to improve, and to celebrate those benchmarks when reached.
Keeping track can be overwhelming and seem time-consuming at first, but I assure you, it will save you time in the long run. You will be 100% more focussed, and your practice time will be cut in half! You will progress 10 times faster and feel more accomplished because you will actually know what you’ve done for the last hour or two.
Give yourself time to adjust and get used to this process, but don’t overlook its importance. All successful people in all areas of life — be it music, sports, or business –are very careful not to waste any time, and they track and measure everything. It is equally as important to drumming success.
5) Set Benchmarks
Big goals are necessary and great, but if we don’t have smaller benchmarks, then it’s easy to throw in the towel when the going gets tough. I like to set five-year goals, one-year goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals. This makes it easier to figure out what small steps to take to get big results.
Giving yourself smaller benchmarks makes success more attainable and more fun. Decide on some rewards that you will give yourself for accomplishing your benchmarks. They can be big or small, but always celebrate each and every success.
Now it’s time to enjoy your successes. Take time to really look back over your progress. When we finally accomplish something we’ve been working on, it can seem hard to believe it was ever a challenge at all.
Once you accomplish your goals, it’s time to adjust them as your preferences grow and change, and then create new ones.
Thanks for investing your time in reading this article. I encourage you to give these steps a try if you’re not already –I know that you will see huge results when you do. And remember: they are not something to do once then forget. They are tools to use everyday, in every area of life, for as long as you want to grow and succeed.
Maegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004. Learn more about Maegan here!
Photo by Armistead Sapp