JK Drum Solutions: Drum Set Instruction, Transcriptions and Educational Podcasts
Drum Set Education Resources

#1 Practice Makes Proficient
"Perfect" Makes Neurotic!

    If a teacher ever tells you the falsehood "Practice Makes Perfect" bring them a cookie cutter at the next lesson and ask them to autograph it. Practice Makes Perfect leads to unattainable expectations that will turn in to frustrated self-judgments and finally unfound the willpower to practice in the first place.  I used to teach at a place that brandished a banner with this phrase "Practice Makes Perfect" and gosh it seems like a harmless phrase until you see student after student freeze with fear every time they make a mistake.

   How many of you have sat down to practice: you tinker around with a few ideas, hit a wall, feel unsure of what to do and give up?  Many of my students initially recoil into guilt-ridden apoplexy when they make a mere mistake in a lesson (thank you public schooling!)  Imagine if Thomas Edison acted similarly with each mistake he made while in the process of stealing Nikolai Tesla's inventions?   It's not a curse - it just means you need to develop a practice method.  It's not enough to be told to practice but perhaps more importanly practice makes perfect 2HOW to practice.  This is something many teachers or schools of all levels don't explain to students.

   When you practice, your concern should be how you practice and then what you practice.  The how refers to the methods you employ to better break down material you are learning.  It's more than just slowing down or repetition although those are important but applied patience & compsure and day-to-day consistency.   There is no "perfection" required to practice well and no "all-or-nothing" about it.  Once you have consistent practice methods, the aim for "perfection" is a mere natural result of your practice.

   If you have been moved by another musician or music that you want to learn an instrument - you were not moved by perfection I assure you, but conviction or emotion!  So if you must be perfect please become a surgeon, a geological, meteorolgical or financial forecaster, a chef or even a mechanic - but egads...not a musician!

   Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms? I'm open to read your thoughts!