- Go out and listen to live music! I know we can all be busy, but it's important to see and hear other musicians. It can be inspirational, giving us new ideas. It can be educational and teach us new things.
- Listen to music, especially types of music you aren't familiar with. If all you listen to is heavy metal, or be-bop, then you have a very narrow world view. Listen to other types of music, especially styles you may not like. As with going to hear live music, this can inspire us and give us new ideas to work with.
- Work on things out of your reach. If all you ever practice are things you know, you will never grow. As drummers, it's easy to just play the same old great feeling grooves. Find something you can't play and work on it.
- PLAY LIVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! Practice, practice, practice is great, but sometimes you just need to get out there and play, especially playing with others. Sitting in a practice room and working away is commendable, but it can also be stifling. So play whenever you can: 2 songs, a whole set, a whole concert. LIVE is what music is all about.
- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. Let me repeat that: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. If you wait until what you are working on is perfect, before you play it out, you will never play it out. Get it down and get it out there!
- Don't listen to destructive criticism. Today, with the internet, everyone is a critic. If someone does a write up/blog about your music and gives you unqualified shit, don't pay attention to it. Not everyone will get what you do or like it. Just keep moving forward.
- Be gracious about constructive criticism. Positive criticism can be helpful. It can often see things we can't. It can help us improve our technique, or music, our careers. The one rule about any criticism is to look at the context: does the critic know what they are talking about? Is it someone you respect? Are they just trying to slag you to make themselves look better? With any criticism, take what helps, then keep moving forward.
- Stick to your vision. You are the only one who can see the whole thing. Don't let others put you off your path. But also be willing to adjust and change things as you go along. Sometimes we hit dead ends and need to start over. Sometimes we just need to make a slight turn left or right. Stick to your vision.