Setting Goals For DrummersThe Drum Coach
On reflecting on my own past successes and failures. I came up with these five reasons why drummers don’t achieve their drumming goals. And how you can overcome them with very little effort.
Start by asking yourself, “what do I want from my drumming?” Then set your drumming goals appropriately. It’s then a simple case of being specific about what you want to achieve from your drumming. And then measuring your progress as you develop. Knowing that your goals are achievable based on the result you want. Set a date for the completion of your drumming goal. Next, we will dig into this a little deeper.
Setting goals in drumming and in any area of life is essential to your drumming success. Drumming goals are a cornerstone of effective time management, and drumming development. And are fundamental to any achievement in your drumming career. In the area of self-improvement, it has become something of a cliche to set S.M.A.R.T goals. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented, and Time-bound.
But, is this enough to ensure that your drumming goals will be achieved? It certainly helps to be able to write down your goals in the concrete way that this format forces you to do. Also, the SMART structure allows you to determine, whether a goal has been achieved. So you can then move forward with your drumming development plans. The SMART model can also help to determine progress towards the end goal.
Yet, for all this, many (myself included) still fail to achieve some of their drum goals. SMART or otherwise.
So is there an approach to improving the likelihood of achieving your drumming goals? And to development goals, beyond SMART? To answer this, we need to look at why goals in any area of life aren’t achieved. And, as drummers, we don’t end up playing to a flock of seagulls.
But first, let’s presume that you actually have aims and ambitions, goals and plans. And that you want to achieve a certain level of success in your drumming career. And you’re not just “having what you get” so to speak.
Why Drumming Goals Are Not Achieved
One of the main reasons that drumming goals are not achieved, is that they are not relevant to the person trying to achieve them. The goal may belong to someone else.
This happens a lot in organizations. But it can also happen with personal goals when you want to achieve something to please someone else. A parent, a spouse, or a sibling, for example. Or, you take on a goal because you heard someone else speak of it and so you took that goal on yourself. So you need to make sure the goal is one that is important to you. That belongs to you and that you desire to come to fruition through the duration of your drumming career.
Is Your Goal Achievable?
Secondly, in my experience, the “achievability” of a goal is often taken to mean capability or skill. But it’s also necessary to assess whether a goal is realistic within other constraints. That may also exist. Such as time, money, and other people who may need to be involved. And of course, some degree of realism should be applied to you as a developing drummer. Based on what you think you can and cannot achieve in the drumming world. Of course, being “realistic” should be removed altogether. If, you plan on dedicating your life to drumming. And are therefore prepared to do the work involved. In the area of practice and development of your skills.
If A Goal Is Achievable… What’s Stopping You?
Related to this, goals can be missed completely. Because of a failure to assess the nature and size of obstacles that lie in the way of your drumming success. If obstacles are sufficiently onerous or large enough. Then there has to be a compelling reason to overcome the particular obstacles that may be in your way. So to improve your chances of achieving a drumming goal you have to assess the obstacles that lie in your path. And assess your desire and ability to overcome them. Which will be proportional to the strength of your reason (your why). Your reason for achieving the end drumming goal.
Let’s say for instance that you want to play gigs that require you to read drumming music. And you can’t currently read drum charts. Are you willing to conquer that particular obstacle by learning music theory? And even taking a music theory class? Perhaps you want to play in a rock band and are not exactly built for the job of “hitting hard.” Are you willing to go to the gym to make the drumming easy due to your body strength? Of course, these are only a few possible obstacles. Determined solely by your end drumming goal.
You need to analyze yourself and your drumming ambitions. To self-determine what the obstacles are in your case. Then make plans and set other goals to demolish the obstacles. So you can make greater forward movement toward your main drumming goal, whatever it is.
If you Don’t Make Plans to Succeed, You Plan To Fail!
The fourth reason that goals are often missed is a lack of proper planning, The goal is the end, but what are the means? What needs to happen to achieve the goal? What is the first step? What are the timings for these milestones? Are all the steps realistic within the timeframe and the constraints in place? And of course, the depth and detail of the plan need to be proportional to the magnitude of the final goal.
So, begin today to plan out your drumming success with a clear plan. One that helps you gain the skills you may need to get where you want to be, and, to remove the obstacles that may be in your way. There will be by necessity, self-improvement involved in reaching your drumming goals.
Don’t Forget To Get Started Now!
Finally, once you’ve decided that you want to achieve something and you have a plan, then start. More goals, in general, are left undone because of a failure to start straight away than for any other reason. It’s too easy to say, “I’ll start that tomorrow or next week, or next quarter”. If it is important enough to set, a drumming goal. Then it should be important enough to start working on immediately.
So there we have five reasons for failure to achieve results in your drumming career. And five steps to ensure that your SMART drumming goals are more achievable. The goal must be Personal to you. It must be Realistic. Obstacles need considering and your ability and desire to overcome them are assessed. The necessary steps in achieving your goal should be Planned. And then you have to get Started immediately – these are your P.R.O.P.S to help you achieve your goals.
Simple Goal Setting Process
To be clear, let’s take a look at a simple step-by-step goal-setting process.
Know What You Want
First, it’s important to know where you want to be as a drummer. Do you want to be a studio session drummer, a rock, jazz, or Latin style drummer? Do you want to become a theater drummer? Playing for shows, pantomimes, and similar stage show artists. Where reading drum charts is paramount? Knowing exactly what you want to achieve and where you want to be as a drummer is the first and most important step. And let’s face it, only a small percentage of drummers ever set goals in the first place. Partly because drumming is reliant on others to a large degree. But mostly because they just don’t set them.
You may want to start by examining your favorite drummers and what they’re doing. Then ask yourself if you would like to do the same kind of gigs. Spend a day or more reflecting on exactly what you want to achieve as a drummer. And as suggested earlier… be sure that it’s achievable knowing your current skill level. And your willingness to work hard on your skills.
Once you are clear on what type of drummer you want to become. Then you need to have a good idea of the goal-setting process. This is important because once you Know What You Want, you need to know and understand How You’re Going To Get There. And you get there by setting SPECIFIC goals that will take you to where you want to be.
How To Get Where You Want To Be As A Drummer
And of course, knowing how to get there requires some developmental steps. You need to work through those steps to get there. Let’s say you want to become a session drummer working on various people’s recordings. Here are just a few of the skills you may need to have a good understanding of.
- Reading drum charts
- Microphones and mike setup techniques
- Specific drum miking techniques
- Being a masterful drum tuner
These are just a few examples and I am sure you will be able to come up with more. The point is that the skills you need to master should become goals or sub-goals on your master list. Each of those sub-goals will most likely have several subgoals within them. Reading drum charts for example will include a knowledge of:
- Time signatures
- Music theory
- Music notation
…and so on.
So, work through all of your goal steps in this manner until you have a master project list. Essentially, project or goals you need to reach in order to attain your main goal.
At which point, it is a simple case of putting in the work to get where you want to be.
But wait, for the two steps we just covered, knowing what you want and knowing how to get there. (understanding of the goal-setting process and a master list of projects and goals). We need to make these goals measurable and time-based.
So next, take your master goal list and:
- Prioritize the list by numbering each project/goal in order of importance. Then:
- Reflect on each project/goal and give it a completion date.
You can then measure your success by making sure each project becomes your main focus. As you develop in that area. You then move through the master list in a prioritized manner until you reach your main goal.
The point of “being realistic” is not to deny that you have the ability to achieve a goal. The point is to “be realistic” in regard to a particular drumming goal achievement. How long will it take to learn to read music and so on?
You may have to make your best guess and that’s fine. So long as you move through your list knowing that your projects and goals are being completed. On-time or as near as possible to your predetermined time.
I know you can’t wait to get started so get started now without skipping a beat. And create a vision for your drumming future.
Leave a Reply