We all have our artistic specialties, but one thing that none of us can get enough of is the core elements of rhythm itself. From one perspective, rhythm can appear to be basic and rudimentary, but upon closer inspection, we can zero in on all its nuances.
In order to maximize your current skill level and the skill level that you're willing to work towards, a bit of a strategy will certainly do you and your growth some good. As many of us may remember, if you’re trying to get good, or better, at something - “repetition is key”. This is especially true when incorporating new methods of playing while simultaneously creating new muscle memory.
No matter what skill you're trying to improve, documenting your progress along the way is essential. If you are able, you can film or even just capture the audio with a voice memo app or device. You'll begin to listen to your playing from the listener's persective. This isn't something that you need to shift with completely, instead its just another perspective of how to view the way your playing sounds from the other side. If you're able to film your percussion perfecting sessions, be sure to keep the file names organized and give yourself one topic, if not more, to focus on each lesson.
Don’t forget to have fun. Running percussion exercises all day long has its time and place, but sometimes it’s completely practical to use some of your practice time just jamming out and enjoying the purity in the playing in the first place, without all of those attempts at creative perfection getting in the way.
If you haven't yet, let's get out our trusty metronome. Some of our favorite activity advice is from Zing Instruments, who filled us in with "One of the most obvious uses of a metronome is to slow down a tricky passage, gradually increasing the speed at a consistent pace. Take a piece of music you want to learn, and identify the shortest note value (eighth, sixteenth, etc). Then set your metronome to 60 bpm and practice the passage with the shortest note value equal to 60 bpm."
When sharpening your rhythmic skills, be sure to incorporate a wide range of genres and instrumentations in which you can practice the various ways that rhythm can be interpreted by each of them. Each and every genre has its own slight twist and bend on how rhythm is interwoven into the melodic pieces of each song. While doing all of the above and beyond, be sure to take it slow and start simple. Once you've mastered the core elements, continue to subdivide further and you'll be amazed at just how skilled you can become if you approach it with patience and process.