Often I will get parents asking me what to do as their child is just randomly hitting every drum and cymbal in sight without any thought or method.
I always give the same answer. "Nothing and good"!
As long as they are putting in the work that I have asked them to prepare then I encourage all my students to put time aside just to play without thought. This is where you start to develop your own voice. Sometimes we can get trapped in different sticking combinations and how we move around the kit. Quite often I have had really young students and just before we get down to some work they will play a random fill that sounds awesome. This is because they are not thinking about sticking, subdivisions, or how to move around the kit. They are free to express themselves and without thinking about if it's out of time, or if they're wrong or right. As drummers we can quite often be far too judgemental on if its wrong or right. Some of the best fills come out of mistakes. I'm not saying that sticking and technique are not important because they are if you want to develop as a drummer. To be able to play complex patterns and songs takes dedicated practise. At the same time though it is important at any level to put aside some practise time to just letting go without thought. Sometimes you will be playing along and an fill or groove will come out that you've never played before that sounds awesome. Stop! Write it down! Keep repeating it until its in your motor memory. You have just created your own voice. These are the times when all the hard practising gets to show itself by not overthinking. TRY IT!
Will you get good if all you work on is just randomly letting go?
Will you get good by dedicated practise?
Yes but you can become very unmotivated often making students give up.
Drums or any instrument can very hard and frustrating at times making you feel you are not making any progress. We all need time out to enjoy the journey. The next time you are feeling unmotivated put some time aside to let go and express yourself on the drums. There is no better therapy than having a full drum kit to take out your frustrations out on and who knows you might just come up with an awesome fill that breaks the internet!