Iceberg speed

It is sometimes difficult to make a student (especially a young one) understand the concept of growth. If we start an exercise like one strike per hand, it will take probably a good six month before one is able to reach such speed that it will sound like a continuous buzz, or, to use the technical term: a roll.

Anything to do with muscle memory and repetitive movement implies weeks or months to master. Almost no two ways about it.

Was it always like this?

I was reading 19th century literature. A passage described how a young man willing to become a black smith will first have to learn and do some very basic things: pumping the bellows to keep the fire going or getting some water to cool down the iron. Those young ones would do that for years before they were showed how to adjust an iron on a horse. Their task was boring, repetitive and seemingly pointless. And yet, they were learning. Sometimes that position was even coveted, because the young one knew that those task were not there to humiliate him or demean him. That was a way for him to get inside the workshop. That was a way to observe, to understand, to be part of the job. That was a way for him to become a blacksmith, to get a job.

There was another reason why the process was slow, why it took so long for them to get away from the simple task: safety. Almost every job was dangerous. I’m sure you can imagine what could have happen to a careless young blacksmith.  It was a the same for the farmer, the baker (those hot ovens), the cooks, the woodworkers, etc… People were dealing with the real world, if I may say. Nothing pretend here, no digital “never mind”. If you made a serious mistake building that wall or shaping that cabinet, you could lose a limb or your life.

So, they had to go slow.

The fun, you might ask?

The fun was up to the young one to find, not the task of the master to provide, he was busy making a living.

How time has change, hasn’t it?


But no.

Because it still takes a long time and a lot of practice to get to a roll with a pair of sticks, or a nice chromatic scale on the piano. There are no shortcuts, you have to push that iceberg every day to make sure it’ll inch towards your goal.

Now, I am a drummer, the concept of time is an interesting one to me. And I just talked about time the only way the animal known as human beings conceives it: practice, practice, practice.