Esteban Roybal / Blog

14 Karats double kick section...

I was thinking about the song 14 Karats. For those who might be interested, the double kick at the end of the tune is NOT sampled. A lot of drummers use sampled drums to play their very fast double kick parts. I did not sample these drums or use triggers of any kind. It was recorded as I played it with a microphone to give it that raw sound. Hope you enjoy!

How to practice like a professional

I've been thinking for a long time about the difference between professional practice versus amateur practice and the answer lies in organization. If you are working in a business to produce a product, you have schedules and deadlines. In order to finish the product on time, you need to schedule your work day and prioritize tasks. You do this by creating checklists, writing down important deadlines, and setting aside specific parts of the day to complete projects. It doesn't help to float around and complete tasks randomly. If you don't have a plan your product will be sloppy. You have be to be organized, and most importantly, you have to set limits for yourself. I find as a professional musician who practices upwards around 20 or 30+ hours a week, that time can get lost concentrating on difficult parts or pieces of music. When you focus too much on one aspect of your playing you neglect other important aspects of musicianship.

I recently created a checklist of exercises that needs to be completed daily. Once an exercise is completed, I check it off the list. If an exercise is missed for the day, I make sure to nail it the next day. Additionally, each exercise has a specific time limit for completion. Most exercises are 5 or 10 minutes long. The reason you limit yourself is due to the sheer number of material that needs to be completed. While you do need to practice what you know in order to maintain, you also need to practice what you don't know in order to grow. It is a balance of growing versus maintaining. Set a kitchen timer for 5 or 10 minutes for each exercise and then quickly move on to the next. Do not linger. If an exercise takes longer than 10 minutes to complete, give yourself 20 or 30 minutes. Endurance exercises need to be done for at least 30 minutes a day. If you want serious chops, 2 hours without stopping is sufficient. The key difference between amateurs and professionals is not time spent practicing, but knowing how and what to practice.


I am planning to move to Seattle in May and will be looking for gigs/work. Anyone needing a percussionist for any style of music should contact me. I look forward to playing music in the Seattle area!