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Wise Words From Vinnie Colaiuta On Developing Practice Regimens

“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.”

(Source: http://gc.guitarcenter.com/interview/colaiuta/)

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Wise Words From Alex Van Halen

“Be flexible. Your time will come. If you’re really a musician, you will have your whole life in front of you to get your sound. And I think part of the fun is that whatever it is you’re reaching for, it’s always just a little bit out of reach. This not only provides the motivation, but it keeps the dream alive. If everything was perfect, what would you do?”

(Source: Modern Drummer Magazine, July 1993)

Wise Words From Elvin Jones…

 “.., a drummer can make or break a rhythm section in two seconds if he allows his ego to get the upper hand—it’s very easy, no problem at all. In one stroke, you might say, he can absolutely destroy the continuity.

“It is the duty of the drummer, I think, to take a rhythm section for what it is and not something he imagines it to be—it’s easy to destroy the simplicity of it. Rhythm is a very fundamental part of any kind of music, no matter how complex or simple it is. I think it is very simple, but then that can be a problem because it is so simple. We have to put a direction to the creative qualities we have. In a way it might seem simple, but it can be very demanding to suppress at some point the desire to go off on a tangent.”

Elvin Jones, Downbeat Magazine, 1977.