You might recognize the feeling; You know that you should be practicing a certain technique exercise, but you think it’s so freakishly boring. So you simply avoid the exercise, and at the same time ruin your progress on the instrument. One part of me want to just say ”Suck it up, stop whining and just go and practice!”, and a big chunk of the answer is in there. It’s your attitude that is the most important thing. Deep inside, you must be willing to put in the time to practice.

But we are not machines. Sometimes it’s really tough to get yourself to play certain exercises 7 days a week. That’s exactly the reason why I want to share a way that might actually make you look forward to the previously boring exercises.

When I was a kid, I started using this method. Being a huge Jeff Porcaro fanatic (…and still am, by the way) I made playlists with songs in different tempos, so that I could practice a certain groove to a whole playlist. I remember one list was named ”16th note half-time grooves alá Jeff” (or something very similar). Playing the same kind of groove for an hour doesn’t sound THAT exciting, but time seemed to fly by when playing it to my favorite music.

The approach I recommend you take, to create your own musical & technical experience, is to write down three different aspects of each song, so you later can categorize them. Here they are:

1) Tempo

2) Time signature

3) Grid (is the song based on a triplet subdivision, or 16th notes, or…?)

Take a day or two browsing through your music library, with a metronome near by. Write down (either on a piece of paper, or using your computer/phone) the tempo, time signature & the main grid of the songs. Then, with the exercises you want to practice on in mind, divide the songs in categories that suit your practice session needs. One playlist can be named ”Hand technique – Moeller”, or ”Foot technique – single stroke roll”, as some examples.

It’s really that easy.

This is a great way of making technique exercises really fun to do. You’re playing along to some of your favorite songs on Planet Earth, and developing your technical abilities simultaneously. What’s not to love?