Response to a guy on a drum forum who is "giving up" because he "thinks he's not getting any better"
Oftentimes when you feel as if you're getting worse it's not because you are "getting worse" but because your awareness is expanding and you hear more things that you used to didn't perceive.
It's like this- when you begin any activity you're going into a darkened room. You know the room is infinite but all you can see is the tiny space that your tiny light allows you to see. As you begin to work out and become aware of the tiny area you occupy, you begin to "furnish" that area with your personality and proclivities. At some point "the light goes on" by way of epiphany or other realization and all of a sudden you see so much that's there but the meager furnishing that you've brought in prior don't even begin to give the added space any sort of life or definition.
So it's a bit like interior decorating; you have all this newly found space but only so much stuff to put into it to make it look "liveable". So you have to work up more furnishings and items to place around the area and fill it in to make the space functional.
Another way to look at the learning process is like a pile of sand. If you have ever watched those conveyor belts that stack sand onto a pile you'll notice that the height of the pile grows, grows, grows then BAM!! It all falls down and the height shrinks. But what happens? The base gets wider and occupies more space and then it's the same process over again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Eventually you get frustrated at your "upward progress" but should you step backwards and see, the pile of sand is taking up so much space and it's a LOT of material. What you lack in stature is made up for in stability. It's easy to push something tall over if it's not stable.
When I was teaching years back kids would come in with the fast paradiddles and rudiments, stick tricks, etc. I'd give them something to counter that "ego" and it would decimate them. "Play paradiddles around the drumkit" I'd say and they would look at me like I'd asked to sleep with their mom! It was like I'd pushed over the top of their sandpile. But their base needed to be widened.
And so that's probably what's up with your learning process. Your base is getting wider, your light is growing brighter but all you are seeing is the negative and that's the fact that now all you have is empty space where there ought to be something there. Everything you've learned is still there, it's just settled in.