When is the last time you truly practiced? No, I don’t mean playing your instrument. I mean phone off, material you struggle with, fully giving yourself to that material. Mindful practice.
Image thanks to mindfulpurpose.com
I’ve been finding myself enjoying music lately, but not playing the drums. I think it’s because I haven’t had a good practice session in a while. There’s just no flow to my playing and when I sit down, I have ZERO ideas. That’s a problem.
I’ve been playing for 12 years. I have trillions of ideas. I think what happens is we have too many ideas that we don’t know what to do and we become paralyzed. It’s like if someone told you to take a free solo RIGHT NOW. It would actually be pretty hard.
My suggestion and the suggestion is the same from some of my favorite drummers and teachers, Benny Greb and Mike Johnston. Limit your parameters. When you say, okay I’m only going to play this, this, and this, it’s much easier to practice.
Also, when it comes to the lack of idea part… sit down and write out the ideas you know just off the top of your head. I could think of 25 (just off the top of my head). Those are the ideas I’m going to practice tomorrow and the parameters I will stay in.
I used to freak out about my weird circadian rhythms. There used to be a lot of laying in bed wide awake wondering when I would get to sleep. Finally one of my doctors said, “Maybe that’s just you. You’re an artist who doesn’t need much sleep.”
Then he told me this story of a guy who went to go meditate with the monks for three months. They had him do a sitting meditation (ouch). The monks would feed him. They had his breathing, heartbeat, and brainwaves monitored. He was really only getting like three hours of sleep each night of the three months.
So this wasn’t really meant to be advice, but if I wake up in the middle of the night wide awake (as I usually do) I’m going to get some work done. Maybe you need more sleep and that’s cool too. Listen to what your body needs. I think that’s the best advice I got.
Even the most smart, talented, and beautiful people like us can get into the occasional rut. I’m no Dr. Phil (though I do an excellent impression), but I have some ideas that could possibly get your motivational mojo back again. Let’s get you inspired again and rediscover the fire in your belly that just needs a little rekindling.
1. Play the Part
Fake it til’ you make it, baby!
2. Kids and the Elderly
No one lives life to the fullest more than kids, and the elderly just love company. A visit with these people can really boost your mood and theirs. Maybe even mentoring a kid could be the enrichment you need…
3. Try something new
The internet and library are great for this. Your local community education has cheap classes as well. I know I will be teaching group drum lessons for adults this winter!
Get those feelings and creative ideas out on paper. Hash out the past and dream up your future blue print.
5. Limit Facebook
Facebook and other social networks are great, but when you’re in a rut, sometimes they can be not so great. They have you refreshing the same info. of other people posting the same good things in their lives over and over again. But guess what? They are only showing the positive parts of their lives. They could be in a rut just as well. If we’re all on FB all the time, who’s out living?
6. Walk with your head up
This simple task can create amazing results. Just try it. Trust me.
Start slow. One thing at a time. I just started going on walks. It helps to have music along. Now it feels weird if I don’t go on one every day. It helps tremendously in getting the endorphins going.
8. Talk to someone who is working it
Chat with people who are really killing it right now. They can build you up and give you advice on how to focus and what they do when they get in ruts – because everyone gets in them from time to time. I ask my friend J.P. for advice a lot.
9. Send some letters
Everyone loves getting some snail mail that isn’t a bill or junk. Writing letters to close friends or friends you haven’t talked to in a while warms your heart and can even spark up friendships again. My goal is to try to send one letter a week to someone for either thanking them for something they’ve done for me in my life or to simply catch up. It’s great to tell someone how much you love them and it’s lovely to receive it.
10. Make lists and Organize
Making to do lists and organizing your space can help the flow of your life immensely. You know what they say, “A scattered something is a scattered brain.” That is true for me. I’m working on it.
11. See a counselor
If your symptoms are more severe, I would recommend seeing a counselor. I’ve done it and I don’t feel shame about it. You shouldn’t either. No one can get through this life by themselves and sometimes it’s nice to have a third party not directly involved in your life give you their perspective. It’s extremely cleansing. I would highly recommend it if you’re really struggling.
I know not all guys are built like Clark Kent and many are shy when it comes to women. I’m going to give you some tips when it comes to dating that me and many other women find attractive.
1. Be Assertive
Even the hardcore feminist likes an assertive guy. I was at the movie theater recently and two high schoolers walked in the front door. Instead of waiting back not knowing what to do, the guy walked forward to the counter and said “Tickets?” I wish I had a boyfriend in high school that was assertive like that and knew what was up. Don’t pick her entree for her, but hold doors, hold her hand first (JUST GO FOR IT OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL). Seriously bro, you do not want to be in the friend zone for good.
2. Call her on the phone
There’s something about hearing a man’s voice that releases our pheromones like YOWZAA. I really don’t know if it releases our pheromones, but… we like it. It’s so easy to send a text these days. Call a girl up. If you are nervous, have a piece of paper ready with what you want to say. You can even have the “Well, I have to let you go now because…” written down.
3. You CAN be funny
Think you’re not funny? Think you’re too shy to say anything? False. Being funny comes from being observant. After an end of the year pot luck at my school-age-care job, I was carrying some hot dogs and one of the dads goes “Uh oh! Someone got the leftovers!” I laughed and said “Uh oh!” I was like, that guy is observant of the pot luck and he commented on it. What a funny guy. It didn’t take much.
Observation + comment = laughter C’mon, Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K do this for a living. You can even practice with your friends and family if you are shy.
With the internet, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have cool ideas for dates. Surprise her! Also, there’s no reason you should ever not know where you’re going. Smart phones, people! Part of Assertiveness…
6. Be Observant
My friends say I have a super memory. I might have a larger than normal hippocampus, but really I think it’s because I pay extra attention in conversations. I’m a good listener. Be mindful to what a girl says. Then you can bring it up in the next conversation with her and BLOW HER MIND. “How’s your sick kitten doing?” “Oh! (surprised you remembered) She’s much better after some medicine from the vet. Thank you so much for asking. I like your hair today by the way.”
I’m a musician and I get caught up in the “what if’s” of the future of my craft or the “I’m not as good as this guy or gal” when really, I need to focus on the point. Playing music is a gift and I need to remember why I play it in the first place. I LOVE TO PLAY IT. It’s my passion.
Plus, the journey is the destination. Improving on your instrument and as a person in general, is a life-long journey. I am only in competition with myself and the future will work itself out if I work hard.
Oh… here’s Gavin Harrison, one of the best drummer’s in the world, enjoying his passion.
I think I figured out what love is this past week, or maybe it was lust. What do you think love is? When people are like “It’s just something you feel” I didn’t believe them. Maybe I believe them now. I think when you literally love the mannerisms of the other person, their little quirks, the way they talk… that might be love if that gives you butterflies. Or that might be lust. Hmmmm. I may never know. I’ve never been in love, but someone gave me that feeling and I know I want someone to give me that feeling again. No, this wasn’t sex. Ha.