Step outside of your comfort zone.

Its the easiest, hardest, most beneficial, most uncomfortable thing you can do. It doesn't seem obvious, but its also common sense. How do we build muscle? We go to the gym and sweat...we pick up heavy objects until we can pick them up no more. Then the next day, we hurt. All in the name of self improvement.

How does this relate to drumming? Here's a personal anecdote to connect the dots:

For a long time, my focus was largely on metal drumming. It was (and still is) my favorite genre of music to listen to. As a result of my focus, my playing became very one-dimensional. I had lots of speed and accuracy, but not much else. I always felt as though my playing lacked dynamics and feel.

I started getting requests to play non-metal gigs, and join non-metal bands. Eventually I took the leap, joined a David Bowie tribute band, and then another band that played mainly Everly Brothers & Simon and Garfunkel. This meant...no double kick. And shuffles. Lots of shuffles. Which I sucked at.

After a few years of this, the effect on my playing has been monumental. People started commenting on how the drums sound better (dynamics!) and how the grooves sound so good (feel!). It was a lightbulb moment for me. Playing Bye Bye Love and The Boxer had made everything I played sound and feel better. Metal, Rock, you name it...there was a noticeable improvement.

Keep this in mind: Everything you learn affects everything you play.

So step out of that comfort zone, and experience some real growth!