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Practice Tips Archive 4

   Well, I find that keeping a pair of sticks in the car is a good thing to do - if I'm sitting in rush hour, or even highway speeds (uh...) and feel the need to groove, I can without needing a kit. Sometimes this is the best way to come up with new things. I mean, when you gotta jam, you gotta jam!

   Here is a tip I picked up from Robert Jospe, who studied with Tony Williams in the '70's--play triplets with double strokes and paradiddles--the accents fall in weird spots, but they sound great after you get the jist of them. A neat way to jazz up some rock fills and spice things up for your brain. Peace and happy drumming.

   Have you ever heard one of your favorite drummers do lightning fast double kick blasts?

   Well they didn't just jump on a set and do that, they had to struggle and sweat with pain and Act as if there running from the cops. I used to struggle but I pushed myself So hard that now I do paradiddles with my feat (only when i practice not while playing in my band).

   Same with the single bass - just push till you groan, it might hurt but be a man/woman and remember to Act as if your running from the cops.

   Don't get an ego!!! You may truly be awesome but there's always someone better, and they have probably been playing 1/2 as long as you (value the different way each drummer interprets the music; there can always be something learned from any drummer).

   Secondly, play with your set-up: move toms and cymbals to different and crazy places. What you create will always be interesting.

    Mike Chapel

   I like strapping on some headphones and playing along to my favorite cd's. Helps with keeping time and learning to keep your ears open to the other instruments in a band!

   I've been practising and playing for nine years several styles of music, yet only this year have I started to develop my own creativity.

   Here are some things I realized through my experience:

  • You don't need amazing technique to be creative, but a strong technical base (rudiments etc.) will expand your possibilities for personal expression.
  • Be open minded to all types of music and keep your ears open.
  • There are no rules about how you should or shouldn't sound, play, set up your kit or improvise.
  • There are unlimited possibilities: masters of the instrument (V. Colaiuta, T. Williams, Roy Haynes, Jack Dejonette) prove this fact.
  • Play what YOU think fits the music, yet be willing to accept and apply suggestions.
  • Play YOUR style, and spend time developing your style.
  • Think of EVERY SOUND as music and see if you can emulate sounds you like on the kit.
  • Become close to your drumkit - think of it as a friend- take time to tune, clean and enjoy it.
  • Play your drums, don't beat them (unless that's the vibe you want your audience to get).
  • Play in the moment.

   Practice tip:

   Here's an exciting method I used to get to know my drums:

   I waited until it was dark out, turned out all the lights and closed the blinds (this way I didn't have any distractions). I breathed deeply, relaxed and cleared my mind (try visualizing a blank sheet of paper). I then closed my eyes and without thinking played. It was scary at first, but then amazing new ideas started to come out without me even thinking abouat them. I was "in the zone" I think the trick is to be able to find that place even when you are nervous or in front of an audience. Vinnie can!

   Ready for an even deeper concept?

   Now I'm not religious, but I am spiritual. I feel that God has given us each a gift- ours is the gift of rhythm. If you start to feel that your practise routine is really boring or your having trouble staying focused or your playing is getting sloppy, try playing for the ever present audience, God, as a gift back to your Creator. If you hold your God in high esteem, then you will find the self discipline to focus and play/practise your best for Him. You may even find that you are rewarded with a wealth of better chops and creativity!

   E-mail me if you want to chat more about drums and concepts!

   Never practice repitition, always practice perfection.

   This tip will work well if you have a lot of time and you want to become very frustrated. Switch your set so that if you are right handed it is left handed, or vice versa.

   My practice tip is one that I'm sure everyone has thought of but, I wanted to submit it anyway. If you like this practice tip E-mail me for funk patterns.


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As I said before this is a given but if you like the way I think E-mail me.

   I have noticed that a single practice sheet (rudiments, grooves, exercises, ect) can be turned into numerous lessons! Read it backwards, put the bass drum where the hi hat is played, just screw it up royally! It makes for excellent independence training.

    Tony Schmitt

   As you all know, pratice is important, but I think a lot of drummers practice on the wrong things. What I consider to be MOST important is to keep the beat steady, else from that I belive in developing own teqhniques and styles. Of course it is important to have certain basic skills, but I guess everyone that is serious to drumming know the terms "Paradidle, flams, tripple stroke, press roll and so on". Just groove your own way, don't think, just play! But play it good! Paul.

   Ps. Exscuse my english...but hey, I AM Norwegian...

   I have been playing for about two years now, and I am ashamed to say that I have never had one lesson or know how to read any music. However, most of the professionals that have heard me play say that i have a "nack" for it, then ask me how i did it.

   Well, I am not shit hot... or at least as shit hot as I would like but my method of practice is simple: Always do some stretches before you pay. This will ease that first fifteen to twenty minutes when you are first getting into it.

   Lisen to music ALOT! don't just play your favorite albums over and over.

   Listen to ANYTHING you can get your hands on, even CLASSICAL! The ideas you will pick up will help you. My theory is, unlike guitarists or any stringed instruments, drummers learn more from other drummers. If you open your mind and your ears you may find that what you are listening to sucks, but that one little fill or roll catches your ear and you find yourself learning it.

   If you have any tips for me, or you think what I just said is a load of fetted dingos kidneys, mail me.

   One of my favorite drummers in the world, David Silveria, said "Don't think,just play". It has worked for me in my practicing, and when i'm just playing with my buddies. I'm just out to have some fun, and to have fun at what I'm playing. I just sit back, when I play and let the music take me away. I don't worry about a thing, I just play and have a great time doing it.

   Jazz drumming is much more difficult to do well than rock is. This is because it is based upon the triplet rather than the eighth note. The biggest reason it is difficult to comprehend is the fact that whenever you turn on the radio, you are bombarded with rock all day. The best thing is to listen jazz constantly. The more you listen, the more you will like it, the more it will make sense, and the more you will desire to play it. Then start to pick it apart mentally. How does the drummer interact with the bass? The piano? The soloist? The entire big band? The more you listen, the better you will get.

   When playing anything, jazz, most of all you must break apart something that is giving you trouble, and just "woodshed" that part untill you got it. Then you you continue this untill you can play that part. Most important is to take it slow, work through the bugs then move up to the tempo you are happy with.

   I have only been playing a month. Bleah.

   Well, I have found that it is easier for me to play a new fill, beat, roll, whatever if I listen to it properly, break it down in my mind then see myself hitting it in my mind. This reduces a lot of physical time trying to get the damn beat and instead I can spend my time playing it.

   Also, if you want to play a song that's difficult to you, don't try playing the whole thing at once - its demoralising when you fail. Instead try breaking it up into logical parts like intro, chorus...etc.. That's what I've been trying to do with YYZ (all I can say is that I ain't no Neil Peart) :)

   Our practice tip is to practice drum chops with sticks size 5A on a down pillow, something that don't have any rebound. We asked many drummers about it and they said to practice next to a mirror. But most of all practice and be patient it is a yearly process it takes time to develop good rolls.

   One warm up Istill have trouble doing is to do continuous flams, (I mean da,da,da,da,da,da,d,da). Then just keep on speeding up to where they sound like sixtenth notes, then do them as triplets. It will build up your weak hand to where it will get even with your strong hand. You will think its easy, but when you try it at a fast speed, you'll be surprised.

   For anyone with double bass, here's a hard lesson. One tip I learned and cherish was from Terry Bozzio.

   The tip was to do triplets with your feet. Split your left foot between your hi-hat and left pedal (half of your foot on the hi-hat and the other half on the bass drum pedal).

   The exercise was left-right-right, repeat.You keep time with every left and you can hear the difference because of the cymbal. You will think it's easy but try and make it real clear and precise.

   When you get it down, reverse it (right-left-left). I'm only 14 and I've got it down real good, good enough so that I can apply it to my solos.

   Watch Terry's Melodic Drumming and The Ostinato Vol 3, and he does it for like ten minutes. Now that's practice.

   There's a general tip I would like to give to all those drummers there outside: play musically! I have seen a lot of drummers playing without any sense of music, they're just learning techniques. Try, especially if you're in a band, to listen to your companions as much as possible.

   Second tip: focus on your sound. The first thing the audience hears is not your technique, but the way you and your drums sound. A fine tuning is not enough, to get a good sound. A good sound has to do with your manner of playing. Wether you play speedmetal, jazz or rock, always play as relaxed as possible. People hear when there is too much stress in the air.

   When asked to pro's about their sound, they always answer: 'it has to do with my tuning, the heads I use, the mics etc..They always finish with '...and of course the way I hit the drum'. So try to pay some attention to this. Listen to the way you hit the drum. Do you always get the sound you want?

   Some practice tips for a better sound control:

  • play your exercises on different volumes (pianissimo to fortissimo).
  • Let your sticks balance in your hands (don't hold them too tight).
  • Try different ways of hitting the drum:
    • Hit the drum without rimshots from the middle to the edge of the drum and find out where you get the best sound.
    • Try rimshots hitting with the tip of your stick close to the edge of the drum.
    • Try to pull the sound of your drum instead of hitting the sound in your drum.

   If you play a lot of gigs, try to find somebody who can play your drumset for you, so you can hear the way your drums sound from the side of the audience.

Even though I am only 15, I have been playing about 6 years, and have lots of experience.

   First thing - If you are like me, you may want to play with headphones to a CD all the time, instead of lesson material. But if you want turn drumming into your career, or a part of it, you're going to have to make a bigger effort than playing to CD's not to say you can't, I still do a lot, and it helps, but don't overdo it.

   Next - practices doubles, singles, and paradiddles, till you get them FAST, CONSISTENT (from left to right) and STRONG! This is so incredibly important!

   Don't even dare play in a live situation until you know the beat you are playing inside and out! That means you could accent a note, leave out a note, or change it in some way without completely messing yourself up! Make the beat definite!

   Bass drum power is important! On both feet if you play a double pedal setup! But you need all the hits on the bass to be strong and accurate!

   Listen to lots of music, and transcribe fills or beats you like. Do this all the time, figure out what makes them so good, or why they sound so good. If you do this, you may use the idea later, and it will help you a lot. Transcribe all the time!!! It helped me more than anything!

   I hope these tips help you, and even though everyone says it, it's true: ALWAYS PRACTICE!

   No kit required!

   Simply listen and try to work out rhythms or grooves from any source.

   If theres no kit available imagine one and play.

   Soon you will be full of interesting beats.

   When you are playing a rhythmn, count the beats of the bar aloud. It is hard at first but I find it is a good discipline which helps sure up your groove and can give you more freedom from the time.

   I have only been playing for two years but I have found that when you practice you should try practicing by yourself first but then try to play it with a tape or CD so you can practice playing with a band and keeping rythem with music. Try to play things slow at first but then gradualy speed up when you get the feel for the beat.

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