Steve Smith's Top Practice Tips

If you want to learn how to optimize your practice time, you won’t find anyone better to turn to for advice than Steve Smith. Practicing is such an important part of his daily regimen that he dedicates an entire section to the topic in his Hudson DVD release, Drumset Technique & History Of The U.S. Beat. Here are three practice tips he recently gave us:

1. Practice Every Day. “If you don’t practice every day your chops never move forward. You can wish for it, but it isn’t going to happen. And if you go for days without practicing, and then you sit down and practice for a few days, you’re doing maintenance practice – you’re usually only bringing your chops up to where you left them off. So the only way to really break ground is to make practicing a part of your daily life.”

2. Be Organized. “You shouldn’t work on one thing one day and another thing the next day and still another the third day. It won’t add up to anything. You need to have organization and consistency, where you actually build on a concept from one day to the next. By being organized and planning ahead the ideas will eventually work their way into your playing and then you’ll be free to move onto other things.”

3. Take Your Time. “When I learn something new, I practice really slowly, very quietly, and try to be very relaxed. Then I really get whatever it is that I’m working on. I don’t try to shortcut the process. I concentrate on being patient enough to not only let the information sink in, but also let the physical motions really take hold in my body. I turn the practice into a meditation. I breathe, slow down my pulse, and allow myself to get to the point where I can hear the sound in my head. Then my body will respond to that sound.”

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