I started playing drums at the age of nine. Being that I just turned 28 that means I'm coming up on two decades of drumming. I have been playing fairly continuously ever since I started. The only real break in my playing came in my freshman and sophomore years of college. The following year I jumped right back in, first learning to play the Bodhran while I lived in Ireland and then moving into a house back in New Brunswick with a drum set.
The first nine years of my drumming I studied percussion with the best teacher I've ever had (of any variety). Taking percussion lessons had a profound effect on my life and I highly suggest that all musicians study with a teacher at some point. The reason that my lessons were so meaningful to me was because they taught me how to teach myself. At some point I would love to take lessons again but for the most part I feel confident with my abilities to analyze what I want to learn and figure out how to get there. This attribute is what brought me to a recent epiphany. I was playing my drums way too fucking low!
I've always liked keeping my drums super tight together and low to the floor. I'm not exactly sure why I started doing this but I've never really questioned it. Well, now I'm definitely questioning it.
My whole percussion training was based around German grip. I still warm up on a practice pad before every show we play. During these warm ups, I use German grip. On our last show of the year at the TLA in Philly, I suddenly realized that while playing drumset I was using French grip! What the hell have I been doing?! Why have I trained myself for nearly 20 years with German grip and then play every show with a grip that I don't totally understand. After realizing the situation I came to the conclusion that if I raised my snare, hi-hat, and floor tom, I would force myself into German grip (actually, really it is more of an American grip, but close enough). Thus I have made the first major change to my drum setup in well over 5 years!
Along with realizing all this, I decided that I needed to spend more time with the practice pad, metronome, and classic drum books. Right now I'm spending a lot of time with 'Stick Control for the Snare Drummer' by George Lawrence Stone. This book was published in the 1930s and is still really annoying (I mean, a great workout).