Brett’s Top 10 Tips When Practicing Drums!
Practicing drums can be a struggle and feel boring at times. In fact, most drummers will sit and jam with an iPod for an hour, and call it a good “practice”. The truth is, practicing your technique and jamming are two totally different things. So how do you get the most out of your practice times? Note: Practicing doesn’t make perfect – Practicing RIGHT makes perfect.
1. Use a Practice Pad
Use a practice pad! Believe it or not, it is essential for developing strong stick control. I recommend you spend 50% of your practice time on a drum pad, playing drum rudiments and working on endurance. A practice pad helps eliminate distraction and will force you to stick to your drum rudiments, and be more creative.
2. Count Out Loud
We have all heard this is a good thing to do, but not until I was trying to learn more difficult beats and rhythms did I find how helpful it was!. Counting out loud is a great way to check and see if you are playing things right. If you are counting and your playing doesn’t line up – you will know immediately that something is wrong.
3. Use a Metronome
Use a Metronome! Regardless how long you’ve been playing, a good drummer will practice with one. Taking the time to learn how to use a metronome is essential when it comes to practicing. It will help make you a consistent drummer, which is key if you’re looking to land gigs or be asked back to play. Because it forces you to play on time, you will see just how good you really are. Another idea is to listen to your favorite tune and use the tempo from that song.
4. Slow it Down
When you start to learn something new, always start slow. Even if you think that you know the beat already, play it slow just to make sure that you are doing it right. Once you know that you are doing it right, then you can start to speed it up. Trying to play too fast at first will ultimately slow down your progress.
5. Practice, Don’t Play
Dedicated “practice” time should be focused. You should never jam or play things you have already mastered during this time. This is a mistake that we all have made. It is extremely important to stay on task during any formal practice time.
I have seen students who don’t follow this simple principle and as a result have been working on certain beats for months. They come into lessons week after week without making any real progress.
6. Be Open to All Styles
Try to find different styles of songs you are not used to; or find songs that are above your level of playing. Listen to larger variety music. Playing along with these songs will force you to be more creative and make you step out of your comfort zone. An example, if you want to increase your speed , try playing along to some faster music.
7. Get Creative with the Sticks and Surfaces You Use
To increase you speed and control, try playing on different surfaces with bigger sticks. Instead of playing on a practice pad, try drumming on a pillow. This will give you a lot less bounce, forcing you to build your finger and wrist muscles faster. Also, go out and pick up a set of thicker sticks. If you use 5a’s, try practicing with 2b’s, or if you use 2b’s, try using marching band sticks. Do this for a week and go back to your smaller sticks; you will be very surprised at the results! If you are unsure how the thickness and weight of drumsticks make a difference, do some online research for drum articles for more information.
8. Have a Routine
Ideally you want to practice everyday of the week, but at very least you want to get in to any form of routine. This will help you learn at a steady pace – spending more time advancing your skills instead of re-practicing things that you’ve already mastered.
Inconsistency will make it harder to remember everything you’ve practiced. You might still know a few of the things, but ultimately you will have lost much of what you worked on. As drummers, we are trying to build muscle memory. Practice and repetition is key to achieving this.
9. Good Posture is Key
This may seem odd, but it is extremely important that you sit up straight during a practice or performance. Not only is this better for your body, but it also helps you stay more focused on what you are doing. You’d be surprised how much easier everything seems when you are in the “ready position” with your back straight and your arms loose and ready. Have those close to you to help keep you in check that you are practicing good posture when sitting at the drum set.
10. Make it Fun – Let’s See You Smile!
Forcing yourself to practice is the worse thing you can do. Instead, find a way to practice so you enjoy it. Chances are if you accomplish more objectives. It’s always important to end practices on a good note. Overcoming small obstacles is a great way to wrap things up and give you that added confidence to take your playing to the next level. In drumming and in life, confidence based on your accomplishment is everything.enjoy what you are doing, you will do it more often and with more determination. Look at your practice time as a challenge.
Brett Frederickson – DrummersRule! Drum Lessons
Call or Text today at 602-769-2075 or check us out online at http://www.drummersrule.net.
Come see why our students keep coming back… We look forward to seeing you!!