Watch me play a cover of Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder on drums.

Similarly to keeping an exercise log or food journal, documenting my progress on drums over the years via video recordings (I’m still a somewhat beginner/intermediate level drummer at 6 years in) serves to help me improve upon my skillset and gain some awareness into what is working, what’s not, and to celebrate my growth and progress. For how do you know you’re improving if you don’t have a means to track your progress?

For me, it goes something like this.

I choose a song to learn, practice a ton, and once I’ve gotten enough confidence to press record, I will then treat it as an actual performance (in my head) and give it my best shot (as if I were drumming in front of a live audience). While of course I’m not obligated to then share this finished recording with another human, chances are I will eventually, and I will therefore give it my very best effort in an attempt to produce the best recording. Just so you know, this video was probably take 4 or 5 (and I probably could have played an even better one, but for time’s sake you just have to let it be at some point).

Having an archive of videos serves the purpose to document my progress over different skill levels and my learning trajectory. I went back to a video drum cover from 3 years prior after posting this Stevie video to YouTube recently, and it was really cool (for a lack of better words) to see how I had progressed. My playing is far from flawless, by any means, and sharing helps me to overcome fear of putting myself out there more.

I don’t share and allow myself to be vulnerable nearly enough, therefore few others get to see the real me in action. At least that’s what I’ve learned I should be doing more of according to the my Enneagram type (I’m a 5) and books I’ve been reading lately.

Here is my very first recording of In Bloom by Nirvana (made a few years into taking lessons). You may or may not notice a difference if you don’t know much about playing drums or an instrument, but for me the improvement from then until now is noticeable and keeps me going forth with anticipation to learn and hone my skills even more so. I look forward to continued improvement on drums and for more recordings to add to my archive for my learning purposes, in addition to sharing with others just for the simple pleasure of enjoying music.

So, if you’re aiming to accelerate a particular skillset, improve certain biomarkers and your health, and achieve better results in life, start documenting what you’re hoping to improve upon now and get to work!


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Mike is a holistic nutritionist that helps people feel more optimistic about their health and wellness through changes in diet and lifestyle shifts. He has authored posts and articles featured on MarthaStewart.com, today.com, and iVillage.com.