I HEAR THIS QUESTION A LOT.
Here’s the truth: there’s no ‘should’ regarding practice. What we’re interested in here is playing music. Not working music; playing music.
Imagine you’re taking care of a 5-year old child and you start telling them, ‘hey! You! Play! Yes, you! PLAY! Go on! Have fun. HAVE FUN, NOW!’ The child will probably be scared, which isn’t much fun. Leave the child alone for 5 minutes, though, and it will probably be back to amusing itself on its own terms.
Play isn’t something that can be forced. Neither is a good musical performance, and neither is good music practice.
Instead of asking, ‘how often should I practise?’ I suggest you ask a different question: ‘what am I curious about?’ If you’re not curious about anything, go watch some videos of great drummers. And really watch. And listen, obviously. If you’re anything like me, the question, ‘how the hell are they doing that?!’ will arise. Now you have something to go on.
If you’ve seen Dennis Chambers flying around the kit at a million miles-per-hour, and you think it looks like it’d be fun to do, now you have a goal. I wonder how fast you can move around the kit? 10 miles-per-hour? 15? Half a million? Wherever you are right now, your practice goal is simple: to go 1 mile-per-hour faster. Then another. Then another. And enjoy the hell out of it.
Continue this process of beginning with curiosity and the question, ‘how often should I practice’ will become, ‘how often should I stop playing drums to eat?!’
(c) Danny Cox 2020. All rights reserved.