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Practice Tips Archive 3

   Play slow then once you play it steady, play faster and faster. Practice double strokes and paradiddles and add them in your fill-ins, man they sound great. Play with feelings. Watch how Charlie Adams plays in the live video of Yanni: Live at the Acropolis, especially the song "Marching Season" when he does the great 3 min 48 secs drum solo. I say I am inspired by him to play drums. Learn from great people. Get an instructor if possible. My friend Lim Wee Liat who taught me a lot of drumming says practice makes perfect. God Bless U in drumming.

   "I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13)

   First, I would like to say that all drummers could benefit greatly if they were to check out the "Patterns" series of books by Gary Chaffee, a man who in my opion is one of the most influential and innovative teachers of the drumset ever. The books are titled Technique Patterns, Time Functioning Patterns , Rythm and Meter Patterns, and Sticking Patterns. Gary also has a great book on linear playing titled "Linear Time Playing". Also get with a great teacher when studying from these or any other books and for now good luck and much great and enjoyable playing experiences ahead - Goodbye.

   This is not so much a practice tip as a playing tip. When playing with a band, don't try to be louder than anybody else, keep it in the background, keep it simple, only fill in where there is a place for a fill. Remember the drummer is the basis for the rhythm together with the bass. If there are vocals in the band , they should be heard AND the lyrics should be understood.

   In many bands the drums and the bass are way too loud. Feel the thythm!!!!

   Listen to a CD and turn the controls so that you can hear the drums as little as possible, then play your own beat to the song, and keep doing that to the same song until you have mastered a beat to the song. It's a really fun way to practice too, because it's like playing with whatever band you choose.

   When you practice, try practicing WITHOUT your hi-hat. I have a problem sometimes just keeping a straight beat without it. And also one thing that's cool is hitting on something other than the hi-hat, like the rim of your drum or even the cymbal stand.

    Guy Cramer

   Playing in a band is the best way to improve time keeping (there is not better incentive not to mess up when the threat of a beating from your guitarist is on the cards). Also if you have a teacher who is trying to make you something you are not (a jazz drummer if you like rock) tell him where to go and teach yourself from a book.

   I know of many drummers and what I've seen on this site has not only taught me a lot about drumming but that if you have fun playing and you don't stress out on a simple beat you learn to move on with a new beat or roll. I'm only 14 yrs. old but I ve been playing long enough to know the obsticals of DRUMMING so for all you beginners out their my word of advice



   Now here's a beat you can work with:

1 e + a  2 +   3 e + a  4 +
x     x     x      x    x       x x 
B B    B S B B B    B   S 


   THANX FOR VISITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tommy Eib

   One of the best tips I received was about grip-just hold the sticks in a relaxed manner-not too loose, and not too tight-and at my next band practice-the beats were a lot more rhythmic and executed more precisely. This comes easier after working with "Stick Control" or any rudimental study. Neil Peart once stated in MD to think of certain beats more as a circumference rather than a straight line-it makes sense-this leaves more gaps to fill in-just have some sort of a guide to keep it tight. Oh yes-don't forget-the groove is where it's at! Don't ignore your bass drum-I hear so many drummers that just don't have that solid bass-to me that's one of the most important elements of the beat-if not the most important. Sitting with your legs at a ninety-degree angle helps you feel those bass drum notes a little more. Don't be scared to close your eyes and play-it makes you approach the beat in a different way for some reason.

   I was recently at a Dave Weckl clinic in St. Louis and this is one of the suggestions he gave: sing different rhythms against a song on the radio or cd. Experiment with odd groupings (since you don't have to worry about the time). He and Jay Oliver were both very vocal about doing this.

   I am a 35 year old pro musician. My son, who is 11 practices with us at times, which gives him a real sense of the dynamics in a band and what is expected of a drummer. At home we run a computerized studio for recording and mixing purposes, to wich we have added a midi file player and a sound module, which enables my son to practice in the studio with a flawless rhythm track to back him up. Say what you will about electronic music gear, but my son has the best timing of any youth I've heard in a long time! Metronomes and drum machines are your best friends for gaining good meter and timing.

   Everybody has a rhythm and rhythmic energy. Sit down at your drum set and let your energy flow out. You'll find yourself doing things you would never see yourself doing.

   One for the weaker hand! Try carrying a SQUASH BALL around in your pocket to use in the weaker hand. It takes up no room at all, is light weight, and you can try squeezing exercises even when in conversation. This will help the weaker hand more than you think! For this and other practice ideas see I HAVEN'T GOT TIME!! Feature page at (Feature page changes monthly).

   If you take lessons and your instructor is teaching you the basic 16/4 beat, incorporate the snare with your left hand.... even if he says use your right hand!!

   I was struggling to play with my right (I'm right-handed) when I switched over.... wonders!!!!

   When you have a practice session, sit down at your kit and start of with a simple beat and just play it and try lots of different stuff for fills because if it dosent work who cares but if it does work youve learned something and then just keep trying.

   Also start a band with your friends as I started one and I learned alot form listening to guitarist and bassists as I try to match everything they play and you get your timing right also.

   Don't take drumming as and instrument, take it as a way of life. Feel every beat and play it smoooooth. Practice daily to one day be an excellent good soundin' drummer. ROCK ON! AND BREAK IT DOWN!


   1. Don't forget the basics. I have been playing for 15 years and I still do my rudiments to start each practice. (I wish I had done them more religiously when i was starting out.) Don't run before you can walk.

   2. Set a few minutes aside during practice to listen to and play along with music that you don't normally listen to (Jazz, Reggae, Latin, Country): listen to the rhythms and try to incorporate some of them into your style. (ie. Stewart Copland, Carter Bueford (DMB).) Just because you don't like the music, doesn't mean you can't learn from it.

   This tip works well with most all percussion instruments, but I think it is most beneficial on keyboard instruments.

   When you are working on a peice that is giving you trouble with note accuracy, try dead stroking. this is where you force the mallet head into the bar, permitting no resonance of the tone. Playing the whole peice and/or section in this manner will allow your muscles to memorize the correct movements, which should make your accuracy much better.

   [How would you translate this into a drum exercise? Any ideas? -Ed.]

   Taking lessons from an experienced drummer is the best way to learn. Even if you can play the notes you may not be playing them right.

   This tip is for younger drummers: If your school has a jazz band that needs a drummer or has one and you have even the slightest intrest in drumming go for it!!! I did and it has been the most fun I've ever had.

   Also when you start doing fills just let loose and see what happens. If it sounds bad oh well, remember what you did and don't do it again so you can do something the next time. It sounds good use it again and then start experimenting with variations and soon you'll have some pretty creative stuff going.

   And most important of all after LISTEN is KEEP IT REAL. You aren't going to be the next Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band) overnight.

   I think a beginner drummer should listen to an easy beat, let's say on the radio. Play for a while, then put an fill-in. Then, choose a different bass-line which might be hard at first, but will be progressed due to more practice.

   To increase drumming speed, you should take your hands a little farther from the bottom of the sticks. Start practicing rudiments, or any simple beats on high hat, or on one of your choice. You should also take your non-dominant hand, and practice on one hand for a long time. To be a more talented drummer, switch them around to a left-hander's positions.

   I was having some back problems while I was playing for a long time,one thing that helped me, apart from swimming, was my posture.

   One thing my chiropractor picked up was my shoulders were not in line with my hips when I was sitting at the drum kit. I was twisting my body which was causing pain.

   So when sitting at the drum kit have a look and see if your shoulders are square with your hips. This helped me so much but took a while to get used to. Good luck.

   Ruts. It seems like every musician goes through them too often. What are they. You know, its the week(s) when you feel like you aren"t learning anything new or you feel like everything is becoming monotanous.

   I'm am a strong beleiver that when these ruts seem to be overtaking you, it may be a good idea to take a break for a few days. When you play hard for a month or so and stop for a while, your coordination and strength have time to develop naturally without the frustration or boredom to hinder your development. When you do stop LISTEN to lots of music.

   Try experimenting with new beets in your head and use your fingers to manifest them. Hang something like an air freshener from your rearview mirror in your car. this can be used as a crash cymbal and comes in handy when practicing on the steering wheel of your car. But don't wreck. When you finally do go back to your set, I guarantee you will notice a definite difference in your playing. You will have more ideas and coordination.

   Write out patterns that you think are above your skill level to play. Then break it down, and learn it. This will make you better at reading and understanding music, and help you develop you own style.

   Use a metronome, and play to your James Brown CD's. These two things always keep me interested.

    david hudson

   You know how your always scared whether or not you can keep a straight beat or keep straight time? Well Try to feel a pulse of the time like when you dance to a song you can feel the song perfect now when your playing the drums express yourself as if your dancing to it. Give it a try. I've been playing since I was three and it took awhile, but I got it.

    Derek Green

   Music is feeling, Feeling is music.

   No feeling, No music.

   Enjoy the feeling, Enjoy the music.

   Not enjoy music with feeling, No MUSIC!!

   ** Try to get your feeling with your body movement. Feel it in every phrases with a deep breath also.

   Feel the DRUMMIN'!!

   I never realized the extreme importance of strengthening your left foot (highhat foot for right handers) until I did a little something that inspired me to see how cool a good pattern of closed and wash sounds can sound even in a simple rythm. All you do is take just the high hat and the snare off of your set, and then use your right foot on the high hat pedal while you play the snare. try it. It sounds really cool and you can see first hand what a strong left foot can do for your playing. (If you don't have one already!)

   My tip is to play soft. If you don't practice you won't get it. Don't play loud because it will drive you parents CRAZY!

   When you are practicing playing drum rolls, alway practice on something that is soft like a pillow. It helps you play your rolls more evenly and build up your wrist muscles so when you practice on a snare you will feel like your are playing on the pillow, but your roles will bounce easy one the snare and that will make your roles better and this is good for a Drum set and Marching.

   Obvious one - switch your kit round!! If you're a right-handed player, and have a practice routine established, split the time in half - practice the first half as you normally would, then switch snare, hi-hat & toms (it only takes a couple of minutes) to left-handed, and try the same exercises. Not so easy now, is it?

   This will improve your four-way coordination, strengthen your weak side, and challenge you!!

   Good luck, all!

   Hi folks!

   Do you suffer from inefficient and dead sounding FILLS? Doesn`t your filling have the "WOW!" factor?

   Even the easiest fill can be turned into something special, and it`s very easy, too! The best way to sprouse up a fill is by adding GHOSTNOTES to it. Use your imagination and you can end up with some really groovy things!

   Happy drummin`!!

   I've drummed for many years in a drum and bugle corp and then into instructing. I've just purchased my first kit and feel all the basic rudiments are a great source of practice. I love to do single, double and triple rolls on the snare first and then around each tom and incorporating the bass drum on every whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes. Great warmups!


   1. Practice playing along with a CD with a simple straight forward beat. This will vastly help to improve your timing by listening to what is going on around you instead of becoming dependent on a metronome.

   2. After you are comfortable with your rhythm start adding different rolls, quads, triplets, etc... into the music. This will accomplish two things: first it will help you learn to fit different patterns into different timings, and secondly it will help you learn to cover up mistakes because to stay in beat with the song you have still got to be able to come out of the roll on time. We all make mistakes, one big difference is a better drummer can cover his in a way that makes it sound to the average Joe like it was intentional.

   3. After you have developed a good sense of timing on your own, then bring in a metronome and play different linear patterns against it. After you get it down at one speed increase the BPM a little and practice it there. This will vastly improve your overall speed, but don't forget to practice playing to music also.

   4. Always set your kit up the same way. This way you know exactly where your components are and you won't find yourself swinging into thin air. Also practice playing in a dark room, this really helps you to pinpoint objects with the light on.

   5. Listen to as many different styles of drummers and music as possible. Pick out the cool parts, break it down, analyze and practice until you can do it.

   6. After you have been playing a while. When you become frustrated trying to play a particular pattern, get up and leave the kit; once you get frustrated with it, it just becomes harder. When you get away from the kit try tapping it out with your fingers and toes. It takes away the motion while still allowing you to develop the neccessary limb seperation to perform the pattern. You will find that when you return to the kit later, it will be much easier to pick it up, if you can't already do it as soon as you sit back down.

   7. Listen to a radio as much as you can and always tap along to the beat on whatever is available.

   If you want to play faster rythms with the sticks (without straining your shoulders) you should try this:

   Hold the stick loosly between your pointing-finger and the side of the thumb. Lean the stick backwards and push it with the rest of the fingers until it touches the hand. Then let it go back up. If this is gonna work you will have to do it every day, to get the feeling and to build up your muscles in your hand.

   I think that the best way to learn a pattern and to play good fills is playing the pattern, at first, only using snare and bass drum (without hi-hat), then playing it with all the various kind of hi-hat accompaniments and, at last, playing fills using the same notes of the pattern (using toms, cymbals etc.).

   That's how I'm learning to play!!

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