mastery

Thoughts on Mastery

We live in a world of dabblers. A place where people pretend to know everything but only have enough surface knowledge to merely get by. A place where people’s skill sets tend to be“good enough.” A place where people aren’t committed to their craft and make excuses about why they didn’t “make it” or why they stopped pursuing their goal, dream, etc.

The truth is, they’re dabblers. And dabblers never win.

What separates the greats from the not-so-greats, the legends from the forgotten, the strong from the weak? One word:

Mastery

mas·ter·y
ˈmast(ə)rē/
noun
full command or understanding of a subject

Make no mistake about it…the reason why most people dabble is because mastery is difficult.

We want instant gratification.

The easy way out.

The get-rich-quick plan.

But mastery is a long, arduous, lonely process. And when people hit roadblocks or plateaus, negative thoughts creep in:

“I’m not good enough.”

“I’m working on the wrong things.”

“I’ll never get better.”

“This is pointless.”

After that, they quit. Never reaching their full potential because the road got tough.

Mastery lies in the minutia, the repetition, the analyzation, the complete comprehension of what you’re studying and then compounding the small amounts of progress over long periods of time.

Unfortunately, measuring small amounts of progress is extremely difficult.

Think of it like this: If you go to the gym today for a few hours, how different will you look in the mirror? Not at all. But if you went 100 days in a row, the progress would be apparent.

So, no, practicing for 2 hours today won’t make you a noticeably better player. But if you string enough of those together, push through the roadblocks, have faith that you’re getting better with each hour of practice and keep an eye on your long-term progress, you’ll be on your way to mastery.

“If you show yourself progress, the need for motivation becomes non-existent”
-Benny Greb (Drummer’s Resource Podcast #52)

Forget “surface learning.”

Go deep.

Study every style.

Learn the nuances of the instrument.

Practice at every dynamic level.

Practice at every tempo.

Understand the history of music.

Respect the craft.

Pursue mastery.