Deciding what to practice
Once you have created the CPA and SWOT analysis for your career aims, a SMART analysis should be done to refine your practice routine.
You can use the SMART analysis on more general playing goals that relate to your CPA, or for very specific technical aims. It’s particularly useful when deciding if a certain technique needs a lot of attention – it is pointless wasting time on something you are already great at or working on a technique that will be of no use in the long term.
Let us take a broad career aim such as “becoming a better independent player”. The SMART analysis will pinpoint areas that need work
Is it Specific?
More detail is needed to make this more specific – what styles need work? Is it the independence or the grooves that need work. If your long term career goal is to play on cruise ships, then the grooves need work, however, if your long term career goal is to become an educator, then you need to study the movement and coordination of the independent exercise, plus the technique.
Is it Measurable?
What defines being a better independent player? Perhaps learning a certain track would be a suitable goal. Recording yourself playing against click every week and analysing will also help. We can also analyse comfort level with independence, so are you comfortable moving your limbs independently?
Is it Achievable?
If you put in suitable practice then it will clearly be achievable, however, is it achievable at your current level of playing, are there other techniques you need to learn before starting this line of rehearsal? is it achievable with your current workload, school or job?
Is it Relevant?
Becoming better at any technique is definitely relevant to improving as a drummer, however, if your goal is to work on cruise ships playing Latin style grooves, is there any point in practising death metal double pedal licks?
Has the aim got a Time restraint?
There is no time restriction on improving, but if a long-term aim is to be a cruise ship drummer playing with your Latin band within 2 years your Latin grooves need to be on top form by then. Setting a goal of learning certain pieces within a time constraint will give more structure.
This SMART analysis can be applied to all techniques that need work – every time you add a new area for improvement to your routine these questions should be running through your mind.