Beats, Licks & Tips

I was reading the book The Toyota Way in a bookstore while on the road with Chicago and as I was reading I drew a parallel to practicing drums. The book talks about the history of Toyota® and their huge success based on “continuous improvement and respect for people.” It dawned on me that much of what they talk about could be applied to a musician’s musical development. The most difficult challenge for a musician is to master their instrument to the point where there’s no blockage from ideas to execution. It takes discipline, commitment, practice and sacrifice to become a great musician.

There’s a concept that is used in Toyota called PDCA (PLAN – DO – CHECK – ADJUST). It’s a business, interactive, four-step management concept for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products for continuous gradual improvement. This is perfect to use not only for your daily work, family and personal life, but also for studying/practicing music. I wish I had found this book 20 years ago!

Please, do me a favor: Write down in BIG letters PDCA (PLAN – DO – CHECK – ADJUST) and post it on your refrigerator, or in your practicing room, bathroom, etc. It will be read, planted in your subconscious, and you will see that you will start applying it to your musical life. At the end of the day, ask the questions and see what your answers are, “ What did I learn today?” “How can I improve upon it?” Hopefully it will be a positive one and you can improve in your practicing to master your instrument.

“Mistakes are . . . immensely useful . . . they show us . . . where we are right now and what we need to do next”  — William Westney, The Perfect Wrong Note (Amadeus Press, 2003)