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Impress Vs Improve

August 9, 2013

ImageWhat happens when you practice your instrument? Are you going over the same things again? Are you trying something new? Everyone practices differently and I’m going to be straight with you. Some of you may be trying too hard to “impress” with your practice sessions, instead of “improving.”

What do I mean? Well, many times people try to think they are only getting better if they are playing more advanced, complex, and flashy things. Guitarist try to play the fastest, coolest tapping lick. Drummers go for the fastest double-bass fill. Singers go for the highest note. What if we are focusing on the wrong stuff? 

Here’s a good mantra for ya: “Impressive” doesn’t necessarily mean “improvement.”

The cool, sexy stuff that makes people go “wow” aren’t only things you should be working on. What about the fundamentals? What about the boring stuff that no one likes to talk about? Well, if you wanna get good, you’re gonna have to work on that boring stuff. Why? It’s worth it.

Next time you sit down on the drums, maybe you should work on making each hit more consistent.  Maybe your next guitar workout should be in front of a metronome. Maybe you should take a break from increasing your vocal range and work on breathing. The truth is, the subtle “unflashy” things usually make the biggest overall difference. Start tackling deeper concepts in your playing. If you learn a new flashy lick, there will always another flashy lick. But if you work on tightening your rhythm, for example, then EVERYTHING you play will have tighter rhythm.

Don’t get me wrong, flashy is good. I’m not saying you should never practice the impressive stuff. I’m simply saying you should never ONLY practice the impressive stuff. Practice the fundamental stuff too. Don’t only practice to be the Harlem Globetrotters. Instead, practice on making points and fundamental skills that win the game.


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