Play Room

Barbara Borden

Barbara Borden

Welcome to the Play Room…

First and foremost, when you play an instrument (notice it is “play” an instrument – not “work” an instrument), you are developing a relationship that has great potential. This relationship will be exactly what you make it. The more time, energy, focus, love and respect you give to yourself, your instrument and the music, the greater the rewards.

The more you can let the critical, judgmental mind recede far into the background, the more enjoyment you will have in learning. The more enjoyment you have, the more curious and discerning you will become about music and the art of drumming.

For those of you who are new to drumming and/or playing music, get ready to enjoy the thrill of this powerful instrument. Expect challenges and surprises. Have faith, put in time playing your drum, stay aware and present to each sound and movement that comes through you. Allow your body to continually relax. Tap into the energy that is all around you and let it be your ally. Keep breathing!

Those of you who are seasoned players might want to add more creativity and challenges to your drumming including (but not limited to): enhanced speed and dynamic range; more precise time-keeping (using a metronome); expanded improvisational skills (making it up as you go). Make sure the fun factor is high, spontaneity abounds and that adventure and risk become your good friends.

As is true in all long-term relationships, practice makes progress. See below for some tips and guidelines that can help you make the most of your playing time. Join Barbara on video as she goes through her own warm-ups and playing routine. You might learn something new and exciting or simply want to play along. You might even feel like jumping up and dancing. Whatever you do, remember to ENJOY!



Yes, you do need to PLAY your drum!

A very small percentage of musicians come into the world knowing how to play their instrument without additional outside help. Others seem to have a knack for teaching themselves by watching and listening carefully to other drummers and musicians. Most of us, however, benefit greatly by working with an experienced teacher. And we also benefit by being part of a group – a community of drummers with whom we can share our experience, challenges and growth.

No matter how you learn, the more you play, the faster you will progress. When you play your instrument, you are simply repeating the concepts and techniques you are working with so that they become second nature. You are building actual physical muscles as well as muscle memory. All these ingredients help your playing become a more natural part of your body – like walking. You no longer have to think about what you are doing. It’s as if your body takes over, enabling you to be in the flow of the music, to add the colors, dynamics and emotions that transform your drumming into your own unique musical and artistic expression. This increases your ability to open to those you are playing with and for.

Each student is unique depending on innate talent, past musical exposure and experience, attitude, discipline (being a disciple of yourself), drive, desire and goals.

Barbara’s equation for success in developing drumming skills to one’s highest proficiency and enjoyment level is:

D + T x PT = P&P
Discipline (consisting of desire, drive, direction) + Talent (T) x Playing Time (PT)
= Proficiency & Enjoyment (P&E)



Daily playing time is most important. Playing time can range from 5 minutes to 8 hours a day – or more! Daily is the key here. Even short daily play periods give your body the opportunity to remember and absorb the music so that eventually you will no longer have to think about what you are doing. When your body can take over, you are able to enjoy being in the flow of the music. When you are in this state, playing is light, relaxed and effortless.
(see Barbara’s Minimum Suggested Playing Times).


Don’t think about playing—just do it!

Create a space where you can practice.
Make it comfortable and pleasant.
Make sure you have everything you need ready to go.

Play at the same time every day (if possible).
Schedule your play session early in the day.
Get it done and out of the way!

Start & end your playtime with something you love to play!
Then play assigned tasks (warm-ups, flow forms, songs).
Listen to music that inspires you. Find out why.
Play along with recorded music of your favorite artists.

Just do it!

Barbara helps her private students determine their optimal daily playing time according to the relationship that they are seeking with Drumming and Music. Below are guidelines to help you begin.


The more you play the more comfortable you get with drumming
and the more enjoyment you get from drumming)

Light Engagement with Drumming/Music
(for your own enjoyment & health as time allows –
playing alone or with others)
3 – 5 days/week – 10 to 20 minutes to start.
Add more time as desired.

Deeper Engagement with Drumming/Music
(creating a consistent ongoing drumming practice)
4 – 6 days/week – 20 to 40 minutes to start
Work up to 60 – 90 minutes a day 5 to 7 days/week

Deepest Engagement with Drumming/Music
(making drumming a primary focus and time commitment)
You most likely know how long to play!!
If you don’t know or need help staying with what you do know, contact Barbara for a consultation.

Life situations can be challenging to one’s playing time. This is where Barbara can help you strengthen your inner play power by initially being your accountability coach. She will then show you how to do the same for yourself.

NOTE: The more you play the more you’ll progress even though you may not notice! A prominent musician who played 8 hours a day once said: “If I don’t practice for a day, I notice. If I don’t practice for 2 days, my wife notices. If I don’t practice for a week, my audience notices!”