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Author Topic: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith  (Read 6313 times)

JFunky

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The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« on: September 26, 2006, 09:05:54 PM »
The Art of Practice: An Excerpt from "Steve Smith: Drumset Technique/History of the U.S. Beat" (Hudson Music DVD)

Developing good practice skills can be an art form in itself. What we practice and how we practice are very important to oneís development as a musician.

What do you practice? This will be different for everyone depending on your stage of musical development and what you currently need in order to move forward. Here are some ideas and recommendations:

1. Practice whatever you need to do a better job on the gigs you are currently playing. You will have some relevant ideas to work on by remembering what songs or feels you had trouble with, listening to a recording of the gig or by using feedback from the other band members.

2. I recommend studying with a good private teacher to learn how to read music, develop good technique, be exposed to interesting ideas and approaches, and to get clear and instant feedback on your progress. By studying with a teacher you can also develop good practice discipline because youíll need to prepare a weekly lesson.

3. Use your practice time to work on and develop your own ideas.

4. Use your practice time to learn music and prepare for an upcoming gig, session or audition.

5. Work on an idea that interests you that you read about in a magazine or that you hear someone play on a CD, a live gig/clinic or an educational DVD/video.

How do you practice? Here are some practicing principles I use that have helped me continue to grow as a player.

1. Practice Every Day with an occasional day off.

2. Be Organized and Consistent - know what you are going to practice each day and stick to the plan.

3. Use Patience and Take Your Time.

4. Practice Quietly and Slowly. By doing this you gain control at many Volumes and Tempos.

5. Figure out the Stickings and Hand/Foot combinations. With this process you gain an understanding of the information in the idea. With Consistent, Slow and Relaxed practice you allow the information to enter your subconscious.

6. Slowly work out the motions necessary to play the ideas and eventually allow the motions start to "play themselves."

7. Breath slowly, relax and use the practice as a meditation. Develop the habit of playing relaxed, donít hold tension in your body. Use a mirror to watch your motions.

8. Eventually "hear" the idea in your head and allow your body to respond and play it effortlessly.

9. Practice with Musical Form (e.g. 4 & 8 bar phrases, 12 bar blues, 32 bar AABA song form) , play along with CDs, and practice both with and without a click track.

10. Warm up before the practice session, stop when fatigued.



 

JFunky

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 09:06:58 PM »

Offline Praise_Productions

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 08:40:17 AM »
That is a great dvd!!
Say hello to my little friend!!!!

rjthakid

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 08:58:24 AM »
6. Slowly work out the motions necessary to play the ideas and eventually allow the motions start to "play themselves."

7. Breath slowly, relax and use the practice as a meditation. Develop the habit of playing relaxed, donít hold tension in your body. Use a mirror to watch your motions.


8. Eventually "hear" the idea in your head and allow your body to respond and play it effortlessly.

It's really good to hear this stuff again.  Sometimes we'll forget things that we know we should do and fall into bad habits.

:)

Offline Cherri

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 09:15:00 AM »
I had this discussion just last night about structural practice sessions it's so imperative to the magnitude of elevationÖ Great share Jfunky. *Nearly 30 views and only 2 replies. 
What can I $ay Juanita Bynum is my cicerone.

Offline Mysteryman

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2006, 09:59:23 AM »
I paid $49.99 for this DVD and I still have not regretted it. It was worth the investment. There is alot of educational historical material. Plus is has nice special features and plenty examples of the different styles of music.
Vision without action is just day dreaming. I miss practicing.

Offline SabianKnight

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2006, 12:44:13 PM »
6. Slowly work out the motions necessary to play the ideas and eventually allow the motions start to "play themselves."

7. Breath slowly, relax and use the practice as a meditation. Develop the habit of playing relaxed, donít hold tension in your body. Use a mirror to watch your motions.


8. Eventually "hear" the idea in your head and allow your body to respond and play it effortlessly.

It's really good to hear this stuff again.  Sometimes we'll forget things that we know we should do and fall into bad habits.

:)

These are some of the principles of Effortless Mastery.

In all you getting get understanding... The people that have risen to greatness in our craft and others are those that have mastered what they do. Hint, Hint... Master Studies I and II should be a regular part of your study/practice time if you claim to be serious about the drumset. Why half heartedly do anything?
Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of VALUE. - T. Harv Eker

rjthakid

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2006, 01:59:03 PM »
These are some of the principles of Effortless Mastery.

In all you getting get understanding... The people that have risen to greatness in our craft and others are those that have mastered what they do. Hint, Hint... Master Studies I and II should be a regular part of your study/practice time if you claim to be serious about the drumset. Why have ehartedlyt do anything?

ehartedlyt?  WHOA?!?!   :D

Offline SabianKnight

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2006, 02:28:23 PM »
Sorry... fat fingered the keyboard... supposed to be half-heartedly
Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of VALUE. - T. Harv Eker

JFunky

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2006, 09:42:11 AM »
I had this discussion just last night about structural practice sessions it's so imperative to the magnitude of elevationÖ Great share Jfunky. *Nearly 30 views and only 2 replies. 

...it's okay Cherri.  This isn't for everybody.  Just those who want to expand their horizons but need someone to guide them out the front door.

MaestroDivine

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2006, 10:23:27 AM »
It's a shame that this is being over-looked by so many members!

If you don't want to be a real musician, then just QUIT! I'm forever bothered by guys who claim they want to get better, but only want to jam with their friends ... trading licks. That's fine, but that's not practicing. Anything that requires any type of discipline is passed over for the sensational(Fills that can be learned in a week, to use at church on Sunday).

Unfortunately, this problem will not be solved, 'cause you now have avenues for people who prefer to take that route...

Ummm...

Hate to say this, but gospelchops.com(Sorry Gerald, but I've held this back for a while...) is a part of the problem. Guys get the wrong impression when they go to that site. It ought to be made known that fills & flash aren't the end all and be all of music. They're not even close to be the most important part, but sites dedicated to that, will lead many down the path of incorrect thinking. It reminds me of AND1 basketball. Impressionable kids don't even want to take the time learn the fundamentals of the game ... but, they'll definitely take the time to learn to wrap the ball around someone's head, or dribble it in between their legs and around someone's back.

We need to stop this mess, for real. Do you want to be Showtime, or do you want to MUSICIAN with showmanship? Nothing wrong with showmanship, but if your  foundation is built on that - you will forever have to come up with new ways to entertain, because the "Oooooweeee" crowd hates repetitiveness. Once you cease to wow them, you're forgotten, for the next new-jack with a hot new back of tricks...

Musicians play for the music. Halftime shows are of secondary importance to the actual game....

Offline Pinaro

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2006, 10:33:52 AM »
YEA this a great thread mann thanks alot yo!!
chris "Daddy" DAve ROCKS!!!
jesus ROX HARDER!!

BROOKLYN

Offline Pinaro

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2006, 10:36:01 AM »
Good words there meastro  ;)
chris "Daddy" DAve ROCKS!!!
jesus ROX HARDER!!

BROOKLYN

Offline SabianKnight

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2006, 10:43:20 AM »
"...SPLASH !!!!!!!"  some where in the deep waters off the coast.

Div, straight forth as usual but very well said. I hop folks take it for the truth it is and not the emotion that it stirs. 
Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of VALUE. - T. Harv Eker

rjthakid

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2006, 10:48:50 AM »
It's a shame that this is being over-looked by so many members!

If you don't want to be a real musician, then just QUIT! I'm forever bothered by guys who claim they want to get better, but only want to jam with their friends ... trading licks. That's fine, but that's not practicing. Anything that requires any type of discipline is passed over for the sensational(Fills that can be learned in a week, to use at church on Sunday).

Unfortunately, this problem will not be solved, 'cause you now have avenues for people who prefer to take that route...

Ummm...

Hate to say this, but gospelchops.com(Sorry Gerald, but I've held this back for a while...) is a part of the problem. Guys get the wrong impression when they go to that site. It ought to be made known that fills & flash aren't the end all and be all of music. They're not even close to be the most important part, but sites dedicated to that, will lead many down the path of incorrect thinking. It reminds me of AND1 basketball. Impressionable kids don't even want to take the time learn the fundamentals of the game ... but, they'll definitely take the time to learn to wrap the ball around someone's head, or dribble it in between their legs and around someone's back.

We need to stop this mess, for real. Do you want to be Showtime, or do you want to MUSICIAN with showmanship? Nothing wrong with showmanship, but if your  foundation is built on that - you will forever have to come up with new ways to entertain, because the "Oooooweeee" crowd hates repetitiveness. Once you cease to wow them, you're forgotten, for the next new-jack with a hot new back of tricks...

Musicians play for the music. Halftime shows are of secondary importance to the actual game....


Preach!

I'm trying to teach two kids in my church how to play (so that I can move over to the Organ), and made the mistake of listing Gospelchops as one of the sites they should check out.

big mistake.   ::)

Instead of it inspiring them to be better, it got them into a "show me that lick" mode.

If they see me do something in church, they come and ask me to show them, and I refuse ONLY because I know they don't know the BASICS yet.  I still have to correct them on their grip ("You're holding the stick too tight.  Let it rebound."). 

Having a thousand licks won't help you if you don't know where to place them, and how to do them CLEANLY.

That's another thing I see.  They'll be like: "Robert, look at this...."  Then they do a cool fill, but they do it SLOPPY. 

I told my sister (one of the people I'm training) on Sunday that she needs to go home and just practice Single strokes.  Not paradiddles, not Flamacues, not even doubles.....Just singles.  Keep your stick height even.  Get it smooth.  She looked at me like  :-\ ?/? ::)

What sense does it make to give a 10yr old a Ferrari?  Can they take full advantage of it?   :-X

JFunky

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2006, 10:56:22 AM »
...hey yall, let's not get the thread locked.  Flat-Fifth did his site with the mindset that he wanted to teach.  Now, if the drummers selected didn't know "what" or "how" to teach, that's a different story.  Let's be clear with that.

...now, I really love what I'm reading.  Maestro, you are definetly on "Another Level".

MaestroDivine

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2006, 11:00:34 AM »
...hey yall, let's not get the thread locked.  Flat-Fifth did his site with the mindset that he wanted to teach.  Now, if the drummers selected didn't know "what" or "how" to teach, that's a different story.  Let's be clear with that.

...now, I really love what I'm reading.  Maestro, you are definetly on "Another Level".

J, I understand what you're saying. Perhaps I was just a tad bit on the emotional side this morning. I think I've just had enough of the "ooooweee" generation. People always say, "They'll learn better as they get older..." The Devil is a Black-Faced liar! I see guys older than me with the same mentality. Kids are not incapable of understanding ... however, if we allow them to think this is the right way to approach the music, then they will continue on that path. It's easy ... it's fun ....

.... that's what kids want. It's up to the older generation, as their musical parents, to let them know right from wrong.

Offline SabianKnight

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2006, 11:13:12 AM »
J, I understand what you're saying. Perhaps I was just a tad bit on the emotional side this morning. I think I've just had enough of the "ooooweee" generation. People always say, "They'll learn better as they get older..." The Devil is a Black-Faced liar! I see guys older than me with the same mentality. Kids are not incapable of understanding ... however, if we allow them to think this is the right way to approach the music, then they will continue on that path. It's easy ... it's fun ....

.... that's what kids want. It's up to the older generation, as their musical parents, to let them know right from wrong.

Train up a child in the way they SHOULD GO and they will not depart from it...
Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of VALUE. - T. Harv Eker

rjthakid

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2006, 11:21:45 AM »
...hey yall, let's not get the thread locked.  Flat-Fifth did his site with the mindset that he wanted to teach.  Now, if the drummers selected didn't know "what" or "how" to teach, that's a different story.  Let's be clear with that.

...now, I really love what I'm reading.  Maestro, you are definetly on "Another Level".

There's nothing wrong with GospelChops......if you approach it the right way.  It's educational.

The vids by Yaahn Hunter, Demiyon Hall, Carlin Muccular, and especially Randy Gallerin were beneficial.

The problem lies when you try to learn all those licks without a FOUNDATION.  Even the most musical of drummers have super cool licks.  They just use them judiciously.

Offline SabianKnight

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Re: The Art of Practice by Steve Smith
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2006, 11:37:26 AM »
There's nothing wrong with GospelChops......if you approach it the right way.  It's educational.

The vids by Yaahn Hunter, Demiyon Hall, Carlin Muccular, and especially Randy Gallerin were beneficial.

The problem lies when you try to learn all those licks without a FOUNDATION.  Even the most musical of drummers have super cool licks.  They just use them judiciously.

Nothing is wrong with GospelChops in itself.

I think the point being made is that the explainations for the most part lack that foundation. Randy's clip by far is the most instructional foundationally to the instrument.
Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of VALUE. - T. Harv Eker
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