CAN be improved. Max Weinberg once said that when he found that
his timing wasn't
perfect, he wood-shedded for an entire year. And using a metronome he
said his timing improved so her could play as steady as a metronome!
(or something like that). That inspired me to work on my timing. I learned
to play playing punk and rock and hardcore punk, and I developed a habit
of often 'pushing' the beat. Playing in bands that often had flexible
tempo shifts (i.e. speeding up was part of the arrangement) led to bad
habits. After some work with a metronome, my steadiness improved incredibly. CLICK
HERE For more about using a metronome & the GROOVE GUIDE .
Playing Ahead or Behind the Beat
When you play ahead & behind - it is not even a 16th or 32nd
note off - it is still the correct note position, but if you looked at
it on a computer, it would be before
or after the actual click by milliseconds. The trick it to make it subtle
enough that it sounds in time, and to be ahead or behind by the same amount or time on each hit, and equally for each limb. You don't want your snare 'on top' of the beat but your tom fills behind the beat.. although there are times when your snare can be 'behind the beat' but you keep the rest of your kit on top of the beat. As you work on this you will start to feel this & be able to work with it.