Working with distractions

So far, I’ve told you to shut out all distractions and turn off all notifications – to practice with laser-like focus. I know that in some situations, and for some of us, it’s simply not realistic or even possible to shut out all distractions. That’s ok – I have a great method for working with distractions that can actually help you with some elements of your practice.

What is this magic?

Believe it or not, there have been controlled scientific tests conducted at Brown University to determine whether the ability to learn some motor-related skills is improved when the person learning has a distraction. It turns out that there’s an increase in the abilities of the people who had a distraction over those who were focused on the practice… Crazy right!?

Speaking from personal experience, I learned to gain speed and control of my singles, doubles, and my ‘insert number’-stroke rolls in my early 20s when sat working a door job at a small venue in the UK. I was employed to put wristbands on people who were going to watch the bands. As soon as the wrist-banding was done (about 25 minutes), I just had to sit there for another 3 hours… so I’d watch episodes of Family Guy on my laptop while tapping on my practice pad. Three hours, twice a week. I can tell you, my rudimentary skills increased a huge amount during this time.

What should I do?

If you’re struggling to find dedicated time to practice the mundane stuff – getting your rudiments down, learning a new grip, learning a new kick drum technique… put your favorite show on and sit there with your pad/s, start tapping away and the time will fly by.

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