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Practice Tips Archive 2

   To get a faster playing in your hands, build a support, made with a woody chair with a tire rubber attached on it. Then, playing with your sticks over the rubber. As most you practice, faster you will play!

   When you play an exercise, after you can play it perfect, try to switch the beat and turn it around. You'll start to improve fast.

    Kent Rosenbaum

   For great foot speed, This is what I did: When you are in school or at work, or any other place you will be sitting for long periods of time, (on carpet is best) try alternating between rudimentish stuff and 32nd note rolls with your feet (heel down). Your calves will get real sore the first few times, but you will notice the difference within just a couple days. Also try alternating between tapping your toes and heels, and different patterns of that. Try playing your favorite grooves on the floor with only your feet. You can spend a whole day doing this at work and school, and be ready to kick butt when you get home to your precious set!

   When Practicing with a drum machine or midi computer sequencer, try to play over existing drum tracks, rudiments or ostinatos. Be aware of what's going on the track itself but try to play something totally different! Think of an other piece while listening/playing to the machine, possibilities are endless!! You can play a samba rythm over a 4/4 rock beat! Try to play shuffle and swinged jazz rythms over a straight 16th funk!!! (This is a VERY tricky thing to do!!!) It has improved my timming and musicality a lot! You get new ideas from things you thought you already knew! And you can start to play on 2 for instance or 3 and a half! Experiment and mix the styles togethers!!! Don't forget the click track!!!

   My son and I practice together. When practicing rudiments we will start with one particuliar rudiment such as a paradiddle, but to keep it interesting after 8 repetitions we will take turns playing another rudiment while one of us continues with paradiddles. Ex: While my son plays paradiddles I may play flam taps or ratamacues at the same tempo for 8 repetitions then I will go back to paradiddles and he will play another rudiment. It is not only good rudiment practice but sounds cool and is fun to see who get the fancier. It sounds like a simple duet.

   Hey guys, just listen to: art blakey, roy haynes, elvin jones and so on! Drums player, don't forget to listen to the other musicians: bass (charles mingus), sax (steve coleman),...!

   USE A METRONOME!!!! Practice Practice Practice. Then skip a day and you will find you learned alot! Use silent tips from Tama if your not around your kit. GOOD LUCK!

   If you think only rock music has a variety of beat, THEN YOU'RE DEAD WRONG! Try to hear jazz music alot, and you'll find that by practicing jazz beats, your rock beats will not [be] that poor.

Try it, it's free! :)




[thank you, Katie! - ed.]

   Hello there!

   I definitly think that switching hands (lead with your weaker hand) is a practice that every drummer should do. It has helped me tremendously. Just start with reversing your patterns, note for note.

   This is something for double bass drummers to try. Play a 16th note single stroke ride pattern with the feet while on the ride c. or closed hh and snare playing a 5 note (per quarter note) grouping (alternating single strokes). Accent the ride notes on beats 1 and 3, snare notes on 2 and 4 being sure top play all others very lightly. It might help practicing only the hand part first, being sure of even spacing. At first this may sound like a drumset being thrown down a long flight of stairs, but you will notice that all the notes (including bass notes) not played on the beats fall within each others cracks, creating an even and unbroken stream of notes. Also,you may have to try several different facial expressions before it sounds right.

   Try to play with better musicians. Give a try on hearing Danny Carey from Tool; you will be amazed on how much you can learn from him, and disappointed on how hard it is to play his traks


   TIP 1 - Get a good teacher. I have been playing for 12 years but I am finding renewed inspiration by working with a good teacher. It is helping me build confidence in my playing.

   TIP 2 - Several parts:

    a) Write out a phrase that you really like. For instance:

    1  e  +  a  2  e  +  a  3  e  +  a  4  e  +  a       (this is the reference line)
    X         X     X  X     X     X      X X               (the accents)

    b) Play the bar AS IS several times to get the feel into your hands.

    c) Now play the accents within a continuous sixteenth-note single stroke roll.

    d) Now play the accents over a pulsed closed double stroke roll. That is, fill in the unaccented notes with doubles. This is the technique used so often in snare drum solos (e.g. Neil Peart's YYZ). But leave the accented notes as single strokes.

    e) Now do part d) but get melodic: move some of the accented notes over to the toms and hi-hat (voice displacement) and/or to the bass drum (voice substitution).

    f) Now play the accents with one hand and "fill in the holes" with the other. Example, play the accents on ride cymbal with RH and the fill-ins as ghost notes or rim clicks on the snare drum.

    g) Do part f) while playing a samba clave on the bass drum and hi-hat --> this leads to some kickin' latin rhythms!

    h) Come up with new patterns and do the same type of exploration - see how much juice can be squeezed out of one little pattern?

   TIP 3 - This one is adapted from "Laying it Down" by Kenny Aranoff (DCI - 1987).

    Consider the following stickings:

    R L R L     R L R L
    L R L R     L R L R
    R R L L     R R L L
    L L R R     L L R R
    R L R R     L R L L
    R R L R     L L R L
    R L R L     L R L R
    R R R L     R R R L
    L L L R      L L L R
    L R R R     L R R R
    R L L L      R L L L
    R R R R     L L L L

    a) Play the entire series above contiguously, playing each line twice.

    b) Play them first with your hands and then with your feet (hi-hat and bass drum, two bass drums or even two hats!)

    HANDS: Go through the entire series twice Why twice? Because each time through, play the series on top of the following eighth-note feet ostinatos: 1) BD on downbeats, HH on upbeats 2) HH on downbeats, BD on upbeats

    FEET: Go through the entire series six times (no, we're not doing voodoo here!) 1) RH on ride cymbal doing quarter notes 2) LH on hi-hat (or any accessible object) doing quarter notes 3) RH on ride cymbal doing eighth notes 4) LH on hi-hat doing eighth notes 5) RH on ride cymbal doing upbeats 6) LH on hi-hat doing upbeats

    6) is tough at first! But it helps develop some independence


   TIP # 1- I live in a one bedroom apartment. My neighbors wouldn't appreciate my setting up a drum set. I use one of those practice pad sets. But that gets a little boring, so I glued some cheap triggers on the pads and hooked it up to my drum module. I plug headphones into the module and I have a drumset in my head and none of my neighbors banging on my walls. And it didn't cost me thousands to do it. I also run the module thru a little 4 channel mixer. That way I can plug in a metronome, CD player, etc......

   TIP # 2 - I trick myself by telling myself I'll just practice for 10 minutes. I usually end up having so much fun that hours have been known to go by in those "10 minutes".

    W.K. "Ace" Fraley

   Learn to play with both hands (both sides of your brain). Only then can you really master the rhythm!

    Kebh O Shea

   When practing a beat, any beat, always do it slowly. A slow beat is harder to play than a fast one, because timing has to be more precise.


   If you really want to learn some new chops, set up your drums for your weak hand, usually the left. Everything is reversed. High hat is now your right foot, Bass is your left foot, etc. It really feels strange at first, but you really open up your sense of rhythm and strengthen your inferior side.

   I think the best way to improve is to try a slightly more complicated syncopation than you are already able to do!

   What else is there!

   My practice tip is pretty basic. Watch out for the ruts in the road, if you practice to your favorite band, practice other things as well. AC/DC has a nice beginners beat but what a rut in your carreer. Much the same is the Neil Peart rut (I know some of you are already damning me to hell), but it must be said that music in it's whole form is a mix of compliments and there may not be the need for solos in songs! Solos are great in their own right but we as musicians must hear and react to the sounds of the others in order to gain the true feel of each particular song. Take for instance the Cult song Firewoman: for the most part what a powerful kick, not tough, not showy, but none the less powerful. Ok, so I too have been known to ad lib some double kicks and such but it is only when I back down and just cruise through the song methodically do I feel the connection to the soul of the song..... paradise. Sounds pretty deep for the Cult I know but you can change the names if you like, the theory will work!

   Make sure you play all the way through your chart, or music. If you always stop at your mistakes in your music, it will be inconsistant. Don't wail away at your set on the parts you know best. Practice the your biggest problems first and go from there. ALLWAYS BE CONSISTANT WITH PRACTICING.

    Aaron J Chase

   What I do is I play a peice until I screw up . Then when I make a mistake I go back to the beginning of the peice and start over again and see if I can play that part. If your anything like me you will screw up enough that the song will be in your brain and easy to play.


1. Study with GREAT teachers
2. Plan your practice Sessions
3. Critiques your practice sessions and make improvements in your schedule
4. Learn to play all sorts of styles
5. Technique and reading are critical
6. Be creative
7. Listen to as many players as possible
8. Work your but off
9. Have fun

   When I first started drumming, I made the mistake of going for the "all work and no play" way of practicing. I forgot to play for fun! The reason you play the drum set is because it's a special unique instrument, and, of course, YOU LOVE TO PLAY! WEll just make sure you don't get so bogged down in: BLOOD-SWEAT AND-TEARS-MUST LEARN, that you get burned out. Those days that you take off and just play for pure enjoyment are very important!

   As a touring percussionist, and one with his own project studio, Mother Nature and I have had a few go arounds.

   Humidity, over a period of time, can wreak havoc on drum hardware. Car wax applied generously to chrome hardware can make a world of difference, it may be tedious work, but you`ll thank yourself later for it. A couple of soft cloths and a toothbrush (to get the wax out of those hard to get at places... like threads and rivets) should do the trick. DO NOT APPLY WHERE MANUFACTURES GREASES AND OILS ARE PRESENT I.E. LINKAGES AND CHAINS.

   Many of us these days have our own project studios in our living room or wherever. If humidity and temperatures constantly change, you will, like myself, wonder ..."what happened to the drum EQ?" Treat your wood shelled sets like a grand piano.... Buy a dehumidifier and keep the humidity and temperature consistant. Your recordings and equipment will sound and perform that much better.

   Finally, whether you are touring professionally or just doing local gigs.....BUY CASES..... for your equipment..........Enjoyed your site.........

    Paul T. Brandon

   DON'T TRY TO BE DAVE WECKL!!!-be your own drummer, create your own style.

   1. If you for get the basic techniques of everything, you WILL develop bad habits.

   2. When you practice, don't be afraid to practice basic stuff like Stick Control and Syncopation.

   3. Focus, Focus, Focus

   4. Refer to rule #3

   See you at the NAM in L.A.

    Jason Littrell

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