“GC: Do you have any thoughts on a practice regiment and is it important for every drummer at some stage to practice like crazy?
Vinnie: I think that if it’s important for every drummer to have an iron clad rule at some point in his life and to practice like crazy, if we understand what “like crazy” means, I would say no. Sometimes you can get into a neurotic obsessive thing about it just because you think you have to do it rather than wanting to do it and you worry about getting to a certain level and that’s your motivating factor. Some people may argue and say what difference is your motivating factor as long as you get results. I would argue that what you’re doing when you’re in that mind set is: you’re not relaxed, you’re worried, you’re doing it for the wrong reason and you could sit there and continually repeat the wrong things and do something the wrong way for nine hours.
I think it’s just better to know that there are certain things that are beneficial to you to have certain skills developed and that it is a process. Enjoy the process and realize that if you have good form and you’re not doing anything really physiologically twisted, the way you do something technically should service your concept. Not the other way around. It should service your concept and so you should strive to conceptually understand why you’re doing something on the instrument and have your technique develop around that . Otherwise, quantitative skills are a measurable amount of speed and flexibility to an extent after which doesn’t serve a pragmatic purpose in situations. It could be a point of diminishing returns. But concept and certain things like developing a good innate sense of time, internalizing time, having good form on the instrument, having a specific kind of touch, and doing things repetitively over a time-event oriented process, you physically become physiologically comfortable with the instrument.
I think the battle is getting as good as we can as fast as we can and comparing ourselves unfavorably for the wrong reason as opposed to knowing what it is we want to do, what it is we need to do individually, and what our objective is in the musical collective.”
As usual, Tommy Igoe (Groove Essentials / Great Hands For A Lifetime), one of my favourite drummers and drumset educators, presents his thoughts as it is, no-holds-barred and from the heart,
His thoughts on the importance of drummers being able to sight-read in today’s music business are especially eye-opening (face-slapping too!). This is a video that I will watch and re-watch, and thereafter reflect deeply on my approach to teaching the drumset in the 21st century.
Secondly, the truth for us is…If we drummers of today do not have a basic recording setup at home or in the studio, we are operating on a dinosaur mode of operation. I feel that Tommy hit the nail on the head on this one. I have had so many benefits come my way because of my ability to have a space and the equipment to record my drums for independent artists.
Nobody tells the story of the evolution of the drumset better than Daniel Glass. Check out his fantastic info-tainment DVD, A Century Project, that deals with the 100-year story of the drumset, and his work with the Royal Crown Revue Band.