The Year End/New Year Edition
So how are you and what are your resolutions? But before we go into that, how many of your previous years' resolutions did you manage to accomplish? This is always a sensitive topic. Well I'll admit, there are a tonne of things I didn't manage to accomplish, for example, it's been over 2 years since I told myself I really want/need to master the use of Adobe Illustrator and till today, I'm not confident in using it like I am with say Adobe Photoshop. However, I have to admit, putting this next to all the things I did accomplish makes it seem like a very minor set back. For one, where I am as of today has completely surpassed where I aimed to be, at least with my comedy and my band as well as my self-confidence. I've said this over and over again, success breeds success and the more you succeed, the more you believe you can succeed and in doing so you succeed more. And it goes the same way, failure breeds failure. The more you screw up, the more you will screw up. Think about it, the more you feel depressed about say, your body composition, the more you're going to avoid the gym and hit that tub of yummy ice cream and end up hating yourself even more.
For those of you following my blog, you'll realize that I'm one to believe in invest now, reap tomorrow. A prime example is my drumming. Had I not picked up those drum sticks and invested in an electronic drum set 3 years ago, I'd still be dreaming about playing drums today. I will never, ever forget the days I used to stare into the mirror and air drum thinking it was the coolest thing since slice bread but feeling hopeless as I knew I couldn't drum so who was I really kidding? But then again, no one was born with the ability to drum or do a lot of things for that matter, it's something you just have to start now and keep working at it. Then you have those excuses of oh but I'm too old to start. It's like that with any musical instrument. I started playing drums at 23, that's a pretty darn late age to start seeing as every other 23 year old drummer I knew put my skills to shame. However, with disciplined practice all the time, I've managed to grow fast in the last 3 years. At least I'm proud of my drumming abilities for a 3 year old player. Another great example is someone who doesn't know how to ride a bicycle. It's a shame if you're my age and you can't ride a bicycle. Imagine needing training wheels when you're old enough to shave yourself? How embarrassing is that?! But to be honest, embarrassment is really all in your head. Sure, it's easier said than done, but it really is. Take for example a guy who has to dress up for work, say in a clown suit. Is he embarrassed to be in that suit? Perhaps on the first few days, after that it just becomes normal. I try my best to keep reminding myself of that idea. Especially when I'm at the gym working out during the time the trainers are. Just keep reminding myself that at one point, these trainers were as weak as me :) I'll get there. Oh and keeping a log really, really helps. Like I have a training log that reminds me what weight I was pushing in my last work out and that definitely puts a smile to my face when I see myself pumping a tad bit more today than I did last time.
So what are my new year's resolutions? Well this year I'm going to try to take it as seriously as I can. Not just putting down points "Learn illustrator". After reading countless books on achievements and goal setting, I've come to realize, goal setting is a bit more than just setting a goal. You need to work out the full strategy of achieving that goal to make it happen. Like, how many times have you said "lose weight" and just sat there staring at the goal and doing nothing about it? :\ Also, I've come to really appreciate the idea that there is a different mindset for different things. For example, you have to get into a different mindset when planning stuff out versus when you're actually doing those things. For example, when I sit and think about how to do something, I'm writing it all out based on the ideas I have and what should work in theory. Of course, we all know, rarely do things happen as planned and that's why we need this guide to help us stay on track so that we don't need to worry about that part of the issue. When things don't work smoothly, we know what our next step is and so we find new ways to getting towards that next step we already defined in our think it out phase.
I'll give you one break down I've created to accomplishing my new year's resolution. I've always had the dream of being Hong Kong's best metal drummer. Sure this sounds quite far fetched, after all, I've only been in this for 3 years but so what? It's not how long, it's how well you adapt. I've seen people work out all their lives and still never get that six-pack they aimed at achieving when they first got their gym membership. Reason? They didn't do their research properly and ended up just going in circles. They'd work out great but not eat properly, or else they'd work out badly and starve themselves. So here's the break down.
What makes a good metal drummer?
Well playing drums for metal music is basically about speed and power. A lot of it is about creating that adrenaline rush and feel like an engine roaring. To achieve that you need to really hit people with the lower end of the sound spectrum. In other words, it's about the bass drum constantly fire. This means I need to have lightning fast feet while playing. The normal goal for metal is to have 200 beats per minute, right now I can hit 160 and on really good days 165 beats at most.
So now I know I need to increase my bass drumming speed by 40bpm in a year's time. That might seem scary at first, but if you break it down, it's really (40/12 months) approximately 4 bpm per month only. I think that's achievable.
So now I have my first goal:
Increase bass drum speed by 4bpm per month
Wonderful. What else? Well it's about blast beats. They really bring out the brutal sound of drums gone wild. What are blast beats you ask? Well here ya go:
Crazy eh? Yep. So now the next thing I need to do is learn my blast beats. How can I go about doing that? Well there's the various books I can buy, the DVD's I can purchase or simply falling in love with the power of YouTube and all the free lessons you get on it. I'm going with YouTube. Lovely.
Learn 1 type of blast beat per month
Now I've also got to have crazy speed fills to help my musicality. I've found one of my weaknesses in drumming are fills. A lot of my fills I create are groovy. Not as in cool, but like bouncy. I really like playing drums that make people want to bounce (hip hop drumming is fun!) but I need that intensity sometimes, like a car engine roaring, not bouncing, so I have to work on my single stroke rolls. Single stroke rolls?
Saw the ending? See how the seemingly boring beats suddenly became so brutal all because it was done super, duper fast?! Ive got 2 chapters in one of my drum books teaching all about drum fills and incorporating hands and feet together, exactly like you see in the video. So I guess that's where I'll have to go.
Learn 1 drum fill a week
Do a recap of all 4 drum fills learned in the month and apply them to various drums/songs
Lastly, I need to learn to be musical with my drumming as well. With speed and power doesn't come musicality. I could be the fastest drummer ever but no one wants to hear noise, they want to hear music. This requires my studying different music and learning from the masters. Seeing as I want to develop my metal musicality, I need to work on cover songs in my genre. One of my favorite drummers is Chris Adler of Lamb of God. I like his taste in drumming as well as his goatie. Yes. I wish I could grow a goatie like that. So the best thing for me is to try to follow him and learn what he does best. Playing drums
Play 1 Lamb of God cover song per month
Now here comes an issue, since Lamb of God songs are so darn complex and fast, how the hell am I supposed to be able to hear out exactly what he's doing? Well here comes the awesome-ness that is Lamb of God, they've come out with a Producer Edition of their latest CD which includes separate tracks of all their instruments. In other words, I can hear the drums and only the drums for each track. Accompany this with my search for drum tabs and voila, I can train my ear as well! Fantastic!
Hopefully by following the above, I'll reach my goal by the end of 2009 :)
And there you have it, one example of how I make my resolutions and my hopes of it being the way of my achieving them too :)
I could go on and on and on but seeing as I've just spent the last hour thinking/typing this out, I'll stop there.
So you've got 10 days to go and I strongly suggest you start your planning and begin within the next 5 days so you still have 5 days to take care of any teething problems with your resolutions. Good lucky and Merry Christmas! :)