Note: On your phone, PDF documents may only open if you choose the “Save, Replace, or Keep Both” option and then it will be downloaded and notify you of this on the top of your screen. Open it there or in your Downloads folder and it will give you the option to Open with Adobe Acrobat, Drive, or some other PDF app you have installed on your phone. If you watch the associated video, it will open in another tab/window so that you can easily bounce back & forth between the PDF doc and the video. If your screen is big enough you can even arrange the windows next to each other!
See also Spirit-Learning Playlist for Divine Motivation!
If you haven’t already determined your goals for all your Life Categories/circles and a Mission Statement of your overall integrated Vision, read about how to get a “resounding YES” within you so that you can more easily say “NO” to the myriad of things/people in life that will distract you from your dreams. This self-dialectic is a personal inventory and self-diagnostic evaluation accomplished through a Socrates-like question & answer dialogue with yourself to discover your own personal goals. Each answer will illuminate your path to discovering who you really are, shining light on how to answer the next question, taking you deeper and deeper within yourself. Answer each question very quickly – your first impression is often most revealing. Then put more thought into it and observe if you consistently try to reason away your first answer. Keep track of all of this in a journal so that you can go back and see the patterns. Click here to read the self-dialectic PDF file. Here is an excellent PDF file on Stephen Covey’s “The Passion of Vision” and how to overlap your Life Category “circles” of “spirit/mind, body/health, relationships, career/finances, and recreation” to create a “fire within” Mission Statement.
The “diamonds” are often in your own backyard: You don’t have to travel to Africa or dig deep within a mine to find diamonds. Diamonds in the rough are often lying on the ground unrecognizable by most people. The highest-value activities for your life have generally always been around you – you just haven’t recognized them as such. Read Russell Conwell’s classic speeches entitled, “Acres of Diamonds” for stories of people who found treasure so close by.
Focus in on a target: Without a target, you’ll just be shooting arrows aimlessly into the air! Whatever you focus on expands, so stay focused in keeping your “Main Things the Main Things,” like Stephen Covey says! A magnifying glass can not only help you zero in on things by making them appear bigger, but it can take random sunlight and focus it down to a tiny dot of fire. “Focus is fire; Focus is power” is what I tell my students. Like attracts like – if you are crystal clear on what you want, like a magnet, you will attract others with the same desire. But if you are vague and wish-washy, that’s what you will attract also. James Allen’s book “As a Man Thinketh” is a classic about this. Whatever you stare at while driving is what you will drive right towards. See Leo Babauta’s “The Magical Power of Focus” and Developing Good Habit’s “10 Mindful Habits to Build the Power of Focus – with Action Items.”
Specific, Measurable Results (SMRs) – deadlines work on you: If you want to go to New York City, you can’t just head east and take just any road. You have to have use Google Maps and wisely plot the best course. It takes specific planning. Most companies know this, breaking their long-term goals into very specific short-term monthly and then daily goals that can be measured to determine progress and make adjustments, and then they set deadlines for these goals to be met. It really works! SMRs and deadlines are like signposts on your journey – if don’t read the signs and you’re sure to get lost! Do they same thing for your drumming! How do can you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Read Tony Mayo’s “Guidelines for Writings Your Goals” with SMRs. Read Mike Delgado’s “Why Deadlines Matter.”
Do you have SMRs, plans, and deadlines for your drumming? Most people don’t plan to fail – they just fail to plan. When you take action on your intention, you move abstract, formless energy into concrete, physical reality! If you don’t take definitive steps to move toward your dreams, by physic’s Law of Entropy, the chances of your dreams materializing only decreases over time. Consequently, every day you put off taking the necessary steps, makes your dreams even less likely from manifesting. Unless you move, you will rust as frozen as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz! Life abhors a vacuum! If you don’t intentionally fill it yourself, by default it will be filled for you by someone else, and often with many trivial matters. Without a burning “YES” within you, it’s almost impossible to say “NO” to the barrage of insignificant diversions around us that would steal our dreams from us. Here’s an example from a grade school band drummer who wants to play well in his school band and here are his steps: 1) Learn how to read music – whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes & rests. 2) Learn how to control your sticks at different dynamic (volume) levels and accents, 3) Learn how to count and play correctly at different tempos (speeds), and 4) Learn the 26 Standard Drum Rudiments, especially Flams, Drags, Paradiddles, and Buzz Rolls. Here are my drumming goals and plan of action from 2013 and My Drum Lessons and Practice Log and my practice regimen I use during sabbaticals. This is the approach a professional takes toward their career, but you certainly can come up with something simpler. Go for it!
Know WHY you want to drum: “This is how you come to me: without why, without power, another link in the chain” is what the Merovingian said to Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity in “The Matrix Reloaded.” If you don’t understand WHY you are doing something, you will likely become just another link in someone else’s chain, and have no inner power to sustain yourself to reach your own personal goals nor the ability to convince others to help you succeed. You will lack the “fire within” or passion to go where few men dare tread. You can get so caught up in the hamster wheel of activity that you forget why you started and where you are heading. Instead of getting to your destination, like the hamster, you end up going in circles. Oh, you may be busy, but busy going nowhere fast! I’ve found that you have to remind yourself frequently of “the main things” so that you can “keep the main things the main things.” Otherwise, you can easily fall prey to the “tyranny of the urgent” and end up “majoring in the minors.” For more about this, read the PDF file.
Hold yourself accountable to someone other than yourself: It’s easy to back out of commitments to yourself, but not so easy if you are accountable to someone else. An instructor will help you keep your goals and the steps to achieving them in front of you, and help you become more accountable to them until they are accomplished. Statistically, 50% of all people fail because they just don’t start, but another 45% fail because they simply stop – and an instructor will keep you from being a statistic in both cases! An instructor will also get you fired up! A powerful rocket will sit on the launch pad forever unless you light a fire under it! Also, it’s a law of nature that you absolutely can’t reap a harvest without first sowing a lot of seed! That’s what taking lessons every week does – it sows the seeds of your dreams, giving you hope that you will see the harvest of one day making beautiful music! An instructor will help you keep moving toward your dreams, helping you create a clear target with a bulls-eye, improving your aim, and hitting it more often! Finally, you can take forever on the long “scenic route” and possibly never accomplish your goals or simply model the excellence of your instructor and get there in a fraction of the time. An instructor will show you the shortest distance between two points, which is a straight line. Click here for 10 Advantages for Music Lessons.
Get in a band as soon as you can! Being accountable to your band mates is a sure way to stay motivated. Playing in a band can hardly be beat! It’s a 100 times more fun than a video game because it’s not a fantasy but reality! Nothing will motivate you more to get better as a drummer than making awesome music and being ready to play it in front of people. I’ve been in 35 bands and can tell you that the energy on stage is a 100 times greater than even the front row seats! I’ve helped a lot of young bands get going, so I can help you get there too. Bring your music buddies to your lesson and I’ll show you how to play together. Check out Passion Academy’s “Band Benefits” and Music Advisor’s “Top Benefits of Playing In a Band.”
Time-Wasters can rob you of your dreams: We all have 168 hours in a week. Often the difference between those progressing toward their dreams and those that aren’t is in how the former use the time the latter waste. I’ve also found that few people have large blocks of time to accomplish their dreams, so it comes down to how they use the small blocks of time that add up over time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Also remember what Brain Tracy said: “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not to be done at all.” For more about this, read the PDF file.
Video games are one of the biggest dream-robbers: I’ve been teaching drums full-time since 1998 and have seen the detrimental effects of increased video-gaming first hand. As the new and better gaming systems came out, I started to see a rise in ADHD, ADD, and other attention problems that have made it very difficult for many of my students to succeed not only in drumming but in any of their school subjects. I’ve had to design many more specialized methods to combat the decline in learning ability. I’ve collected the following research studies to help parents understand what educators and childhood development specialists have known all along – that excessive TV and video-game playing can have far-reaching and often irreversible consequences. The consensus is to allow no more than 2 hours a day of any fast-moving media source, i.e., phone, I-pad, car display, TV, or computer! See other recommendations at the bottom of this compilation. There are literally hundreds of research studies on this, but there’s enough here to take this seriously. For more about this, read the PDF file.
Reward yourself for reaching your goals: If you plan ahead of time what you will do for yourself as a reward for achievement of key steps towards your dreams, you will be more motivated to reach them. It really works! Here is one of the ways I reward my students – a certificate of achievement.
Keep regularly feeding your dreams: If you stop watering a plant, it will die. If you stop putting wood on a fire, it will die. It amazes me how many parents and students have thought that taking a week or two off from lessons actually would have no effect! Or that skipping a few days won’t affect your motivation or ability! Life abhors a vacuum, so a lot of nonsense comes in to fill the void, and now you have to overcome inertia to get “back in the saddle and start riding again.” Keep stoking the coals to keep your fire hot! What you regularly feed your eyes and ears with feeds your heart. Out of sight, out of mind! Keep music playing everywhere you go, but don’t just listen to it – interact with it by singing the grooves or drum beats and at least air-drumming. Keep drum magazines laying around on coffee tables, the car, your backpack, and in the bathroom – and keep a pair of sticks there, too. Every time you watch TV, be taping on your legs, a practice pad, air-drum, or at least do your finger stick-waiving exercises. Create Youtube.com playlists for your phone or use my extensive Genre Info & Playlists to watch killer bands play killer songs, and there are many excellent teaching videos in addition to the teaching videos I have for this website. There is so much live music being played everywhere in Tucson, especially at The House of Bards, so get inspired!
Make practice a daily habit: Because drumming is a physical skill it requires nearly daily exercise to develop muscle memory. As with many athletic skills if you skip a day or two, no matter how much you practice you can’t make up for what you’ve lost. There are no shortcuts to drumming success – you can’t “cram” for concert like you can a test in school! Remember that success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Desire gets you to the starting line, but good practice habits get you to the finish line. Everybody has to pay the same dues because there are no shortcuts to success, so practice until you fall in love with music! It only takes 21 days in a row to create a habit – a habit that can make your dream come true! If you skip a day or two, no matter how much you practice you can’t make up for what you lost. Also if you practice too long, you may just injure yourself! Create a set time in your schedule to practice, turn the phone off, close the door, and keep your appointment with yourself and your dreams. Click here to use an Assignment & Practice Log as added motivation.
What will motivate you to practice drums at least 15 minutes every day? How will you overcome inertia and get off your duff? If you take a day off, your body “at rest” will tend to stay at rest – sitting on the couch watching TV! What will you say to yourself to help take advantage of momentum? Remember, a body “in motion” tends to stay in motion! What will motivate you to “keep on keep’n on?” What in the short run (this next week) will keep you going? What in the long run (this year) will make your short-term goal-setting successful? For more ways to stay motivated and practice tips, read this PDF file.
Keep your practice FUN to stay motivated – enjoy the journey: Here’s some ways I keep from getting stressed out during practice and making it so much more fun so I end up putting more time in. Click here to read the PDF file.
Motivational thoughts to keep you going: Over the years of teaching I’ve collected many sayings that I regularly incorporate into my teaching. Read through these and highlight the ones that really speak to you. Commit them to memory. Share them with others. Most importantly, use them to get “in gear” and stay moving towards your dreams! Click here to read the PDF file.