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Practice Tips Archive 6

   I have been only playing drums for less then a week (probably less then 4 hours collectively), but have figured out a way to play a part almost without messing up.

   If you are having trouble with a drum part, break it down into the diferent drums (if you have snare, bass, and cymbal, play just the snare, then just the bass, and then just the cymbal. Play the unwanted parts next to the drum without hitting it, so you are only playing one part). Make sure you have each part down so that you dont have to think about it. Then add them back in. Try not to actually listen to the drums too much (just enough to tell that you have done it correctly, or made a mistake), but listen to it in your head. Try to imagine what it sounds like.

   This may sound a little weird, but I promise you it has worked for me these last couple days.

   I have been playing drums for about 5-6 years and have had lessons from an great teacher.

   We used to practice double stroke rolls to Swamp thing by The Grid. It real helps your weakest wrist. I like to practice this on my knee so i cannot bounce the sticks.

   Also practice any little teasers that help with your co-ordination. Some of the paradiddles exercises on this page are great!

    Marcos Willatts

   Listen to a lot of music to help with your drum beats.

    Craig Jones

   I've only just got a drum kit at christmas and before that I had been playing with apair of sticks on my bed. When I got the kit I was fast and didn't tire because I had practiced on the bed which doesn't rebound and takes a lot of energy. Just wanted to tell all the non-drum owners out there to thwack their pillows instead; it really helps.

   I haven't been playing the drums too long. I started when i was eight at my friends house who had a drum kit. I loved it and I have finally gotten a kit 7 years later. I find that doing simple exercises like holding th stick in your have and air drumming builds up muscle and coordination. I had a friends that studied under a teacher and he has improved greatly. I think that you must study under a teacher to really excel. You also must PRACTICE.

    RAGE against the MACHINE rules

   When your a beginner, find someone that knows how to play very well, watch him play a few beats and you should be very inspired to play by yourself on your set.

   I find that if you start with a funky beat, and play it continuously, try to think of some fills from your fave bands, cd's etc. and incorporate them in to the beat. You'll find that you discover tons of new stuff.

   Also, instead of doing continuous beats, why not try and adopt a dj scratching technique! I.E.: play a backbeat, bring in a nice rhythm on the ride, turn the snare off, turn it in to some jungle kinda tribe stuff, turn the snare back on with the left hand and spin the right stick at same time. With this, incorporate ambidexterity within the exercise. This method creates a bond with your kit ie. you can eventually play your kit blindfolded better than u can not blindfolded, it looks pretty impressive and your hand movements will be imaginative, speedy and will build up your wrists and stamina. Trust me, it worx...keep on drummin', later.

   I have been drumming for only a year... But when I didn't have a drum kit I would use 5 books. Put them in different spots and practice simple beats on them. Then when I got a real drumset I got so much better in months. I play very hard songs.....

   Here's a few pointers.... Never give up; always keep trying... and never say never!!...I have my second drumset now; it's a TAMA Rockstar 5-piece, an it's amazing.

   But remember, it's not the size of the kit: it's who's behind it. If you can't play good, then any drumset will sound crappy, no matter how big it is. So start out slow, with a normal kit, and then start to add on until you master it slowly. Keep on drumming!

   Listen, check it out, practice, foreget it und then play what you feel....

   To improve on your double-bass drumming speed, the best thing to do is playing a simple paradiddle with your feet. Start slow, keeping consistant beats, then go faster when you think you can. This simple exercise imroved my speed ALOT. Hope it works for you!

   You can do it!

   I am not going to offer any technical tips or practice ideas. Instead I would like to share my experience with everyone in the hope that it will inspire others to take up the challenge.

   I took my first drum lessons when I was twelve years old from a local drummer in my home town. As is usually the case I soon progressed to a garage band and then on to a working outfit doing the local clubs, school dances etc. When I was 18 I decided to give music up and joined the Australian Air Force. I picked up the sticks once in the next 12-and-a-half years.

   After leaving the force I worked in a variety of jobs before realising that the one thing I was really missing was music. I bought myself an old kit, a metronome, a set of sticks and a book on rudiment studies and set to work. The next nine-months were the hardest I think I have ever endured. The mental concentration required to keep going was unbelievable. But I stuck it out. That was four years ago.

   I am now playing in a couple of bands - one a blues outfit, the other a country group - I have even been lucky enough to pick up some session work at a small studio near where I live.

   The point of sharing my life with you is not to say 'hey look at me', it is to illustrate that if you really want something bad enough you can do it. I am 41 now and having the time of my life.

   Now, I am under no illusions as to where I stand in the scheme of things. I have much to learn and there are plenty of better players than me, but that gives me targets to work towards.

   To all you younger guys and gals get stuck into the practice and don't wait as long as I did. Do it for yourselves NOW.

   For the older aspiring drummers out there. Take heart. If I can do it anyone can.

   Practicing by just drumming is ok, but to make things more fun I put on my headphones and play along with the music I listen to. Not only does this give you a reference to what things should sound like but it's also more fun.

   Turn on the radio, crank the volume, use headphones and earprotectors, play along to whatever good tune that comes along. Whenever a boring song comes up, just change the channel. For the best training, select a channel with diffrent kinds of music. I´ve found this being good for expanding my horizon, and get tighter too.

   I´m from Sweden, so don´t make fun of my bad ingllisch.

   The first thing I ever learned to play was the guitar. Then I learned bass, and now I play drums. The most beneficial thing I've found was knowing how to play every part in the band, being able to -feel- their parts, so you know how your band mates think.

   I also recommend practicing with a band (or just a keyboardist/bassist/whoever) as much as possible, and then take time afterwardss to think about the songs. If you can, record the session and improve the songs in your mind and the next day try out what you thought up.

   THIS IS A GOLD MINE OF 28 EXCELLENT TIPS: Please bear with the lengthy message, it?s incredibly useful. The following is a collection of all the tips I have gathered from a mere 2 pages of the ?Practice Tip? archive. I tried to include all the tips I?ve seen thus far just so you can get an idea of what other people are saying if you aren?t checking them out. I myself have only been playing for a year, therefore I feel tuned into to all the techniques available and I chose to share these tips and advice as well as use them myself. To all of you have posted a message you?re really influential to me personally with the things you write. These collective tips pay homage to those of you who take the time and share your knowledge with the rest of us, if yours isn?t somehow referred to, don?t worry, I just haven?t got to it yet, but so far they?re all worthwhile tips. If you want to reply, my email address is posted at the bottom:

  1. Learn basic definitions- flams, paradiddles, strokes (double, triple, etc), triplets, etc. -Then learn to do them.
  2. You don't need a kit to learn drumming, buy a $5 pair of sticks and practice virtually anywhere, just be respectful (not in church or anything).
  3. Beginner: play slowly, not for volume, be persistent, honestly, it will all come if you work, you'll learn something and not even know it, it'll be natural. Learn one thing at a time, then move on to your next technique.
  4. Keep sticks all over...bedroom, kitchen, train, school, and always bang away...Great Tip.
  5. Warm Up on the Kit: and get relaxed. Play as you wish but work on learning what you haven't yet. Always brush up on what you already know...throw in some rudiments for practice, make your session fun and enjoyable.
  6. Air drumming-strength/speed.
  7. Double pedal excercise(heel/toe/legs)-quick control.
  8. Practice with heavy sticks, (i.e. broom handles) -better stick control.
  9. Jazz drumming-more techniques.
  10. Stretch-loose/relaxed/no cramps.
  11. Play quieter- to learn beat broken down.
  12. Metronome-keep time accurately.
  13. Roll: snare to tom to snare to tom2 to snare to tom3-quick hands/knowledge of kit locations.
  14. Play eyes closed-know where your drums are.
  15. Play to CD's-test your accuracy.
  16. Play to classical music-hard, builds creativity.
  17. Wear ear plugs- protect ears.
  18. Record yourself-identify and correct problems.
  19. Play with guitarist/bassist/band-improves timing/skill/level of fun.
  20. Play on pillows-strength(arms get tired) and speed (pillow doesn't rebound much).
  21. Listen to CD's and other drummers- more insight.
  22. Play for/with friend-feedback/insight.
  23. Don't be afraid to create new things/ try odd timing.
  24. Record new ideas from music, TV..etc and practice them later.
  25. Be open minded, play what you don't know to learn new things.
  26. Remove spring from bass pedal and play without it to improve legs/speed.
  27. "A building is only as good as its? foundation"-master beginning skills.
  28. Above all: HAVE FUN, BE RELAXED, ENJOY IT, it's a HOBBY, not a task.

Something personal: Practice all the time?if you love it...quit if you don't love it.

   Hey there!

   I just wanna remind that practicing may be a bit boring sometimes but you can't let it defeat you! As people say: "there're will be no miracle". If you don't practice, you won't evolve. If you don't evolve you'll feel like a piece of crap! Believe me, I've already felt like that! I found out that you mustn't let boreness bring you down. You must bring new things up to your practice session! Innovate! Find new exercises! Work out on the things you like and things you dislike but that are really important. I just can't find things that I dislike, regarding drums. Most of times, these things that you don't like are things that you still can't play on drums so you must take it as a challenge! You must excel! Keep on practicing!

    Jean Claud DeGaulle

   For developing arm/wrist/finger strength:

  1) Sit on your throne and play the air with your sticks imagining where your kit would be for 5 - 10 minutes (put some of your favorite music on in the background to keep you interested). Try single and double strokes slow to fast and back again. This develops your ability to pick up the stick as well as drop it: Feel your hand stretch and strain without the bounce of a drum head to keep your hand relaxed.

   2) Buy two broom handles without the broom attached and practice single and double strokes in the air with these.

  I found the control in my left hand increased quite dramatically using these exercises. Ex. 2 also makes physically playing feel much easier as sticks are so much lighter than broom handles.

   Take care out there and happy groovin'!

   For any of you rock players, get a copy of Carmine Appice's Realistic Rock. It's great for warm up... play through the quarter and eight note exercises to warm up... it's pretty easy, and warms you up for the tricky stuff later in the book. I find that each day's goal is to get another exercise down... that's a good enough goal for that book.

   I dont know if any of this will help you, but this is just the method that i had and used when i was growing up and the choices and paths that i took to get where i am now. when i was in elementary school, it came to me that drumming was in my blood. of course at my age i couldnt afford one, so i made a make shift drumset out of cardboard boxes, cookie sheets, and a rusty piece of metal in the corner of my room. and i'd beat the piss out of that thing till the cardboard was scattered all over the room. and when it was ruined, i'd replace it with another box.

   after elem. school i joined the 6th grade concert band. i was with it all through 6th to the end of my freshman year. in that 3 year time, i learned so many things, because i WANTED to. sure you can take lessons and have the best kit in the world and attend the best clinics ever, but if you dont have heart to what you're doing, you're not going to learn a thing.

   during 9th grade i finally bought a drumset. it was just a basic 5 piece with ride and hi hats. i played this set all of the time...and this is where i learned just about everything i know today. i've never had an actual 1 on 1 lesson, or been to clinics or anything like that. besides the 3 years of concert band which was basically just drum corps stuff and enhancing rythym abilities, everything was learned just because i wanted to teach myself. i played the 5 piece duo cymbal setup for 5 months, and then i decided to add a crash cymbal. i played this setup for another year and a half and then i decided to make a major addon and go to a drum rack with 2crash 1 splash 1 chinese 1 hihat and 1 ride.

   then one day my buddy came up to me and asked me about something called "double bassing". i didn't understand, and i checked into it. now it turns out there are 2 deffinitions for this: 1. something also known as a heal stomp. this is when you stomp your heal down which causes the initial hit, then you slide your foot forward wh! ich causes a double bass hit, giving it the name double bassing. when i read this i thought, i can already do that. this was an ability that just kind of..well evolved. i didn't intend to learn it, i didn't even know what it was. now that i know what it is, i use it all the time. its effortless almost and can be done so quickly and with ease. eventually i think every drummer learns this skill. if you haven't, well dont give up. it will come to ya.

   definition #2 is: having 2 bass drums, or a double bass pedal that allows you to use both feet as bass drum hitters. so i decided, what the hell, i'll buy a double bass pedal. so i did, and i had no clue what to do with it. then i bought a few cd's with drummers who are excellent double bass players (ex. pantera, slipknot, dream theatre). i then listened to this, and i've pretty much perfected the art of double bassing.

   i HIGHLY suggest if you're a rock/funk/metal drummer that you pick up a double bass pedal and learn the technique. it enhances your playing so much, but its a pain to learn. make sure you have strong legs that can dish out endurance. and to make sure that your hits are evenly spaced. this is a valued technique i suggest all you drummers try it. you'd be amazed how fast your feet can move with practice of it. and its not an expensive investment.

   i use a Gibralter Prowler double pedal, which went for about 170 bucks, and i even got a $50 deduct becasue of trade in with my old single. double bassing can really add a lot to a driving force, or its fun to add into fills and whatnot. i'm strictly a rock/metal drummer. thats my passion and its what i play.

   but dont get me wrong, i own jazz cd's. jazz is an unbelievable type of drumming that can enhance your skills even farther than you'd imagine. and you can take your jazz skills, and transfer them to rock. dont believe me? buy a Tool cd. Danney Carey is highly influenced by jazz and he plays rock. you can tell the parts of his playing that are jazz influenced. i'm getting better at it all the time, and i wont stop til i am comfortable with how i do it.

   when you practice, dont be a drone. try different things all the time. experiment. dont be afraid to try something really off beat. stretch before you do anything. nothing worse than pulling a muscle or getting a cramp. and one more thing: be proud of what you can do. you're never going to be the best at what you do. no one is. everyone is continually learning. and if you come across someone 3 years younger than you who can do twice as much as you, so what? he does what he does and you do what you do. theres nothing bad about it. carry yourself and keep your head up high.

   happy drumming drum comrads!

   Don't learn how to read music, learn how to read tabs... When I first started playing drums, I thought the only way to get better is by a teacher... I was wrong... Forget a teacher, learn by yourself, it is more fun because you are the boss! What I would suggest is to learn how to read tabs and listen to your favorite music and try playing it. Then just run through your exercises for about 15 minutes and stop. In about two weeks you see a remarkable difference and it is alot of fun. Remember not to get hooked on just playing your favorite music, because you really want to do that most of the time. Balance it out with exercises and playing your favorite music. Like 15 minutes of exercises and as much.

   For really fast hands and feet look at your motion not the notes. Everything in speed is simpler than it looks. For example if your hand goes down on the first half of the stroke so should your fingers naturally allowing the stick to fall, on returning your hand to the begining position of the stroke you fingers should follow, if done correctly producing another note, two notes with one motion. Taken even further with your arms, done correctly you arms would be doing a wave motion you can get three notes possibly 4 with one down upstroke motion, even though I still have yet to achieve the latter with any clarity.

   The same can apply to feet: I saw a video, ballistic bass drum, that explains the rocking motion, but you could even go further by breaking this technique down even further, when plaing you first note, toe up, play with just your toe, no leg, after the first note naturally let your leg fall producing another note. You could even go further by bringing your leg up to the starting position by rocking forward as you bring your leg up putting presure on the ball or toes producing another note.

   I know these techniques have been around for a while but it seem like I never hear any one one talking about them. I can tell you they do work and are fairly easy to learn and will build tremendous speed with little effort. Just look at tap dancers for the bass drum technique.


   Practice slowly when working out to new material. Avoid making mistakes as much as possible. Practicing involves repetition and so by repeating the same mistakes each time you can in fact end up learning them.Try breaking down the bar into smaller chunks, putting it togethor as you progress.

   I've been playing for three and a half years and am totally self taught. I tried going to a teacher but after five lessons he wasn't any good. He gave me a paradiddle and a triplet to practice which was fair enough since I was just starting to play. I went home after writing it down and practised till my knees were red raw. I practiced for a week untill I had it perfect.

   I went back for the second time and showed him on the kit. I knew it was right but the teacher just looked at me and says that I skipped a beat and told me to try again. So I counted the notes on the paper and then played it again and again. It was the same for the next three lessons. But still he said it was wrong. So I gave up with the teacher.

   A week later I went to my local drum centre where a mate of mine teaches the drums. There was four drummers with good experience. So I played the parradiddle and the triplet twice, asked the drummers and it turned out that it was spot on. What I'm trying to say is that you should go with a teacher that you know won't lie to you.

   But If not I have found that about 3 in 5 drummers find they learn faster and better by themselves. I'm 16, have been playing for 3 years, have performed at clubs, school award nights, and my band has recently had an offer from EMI records. So look after you're selves drummers and all the best.

   I live in a small town of 900 people, and it's verrry boring. So, I invest all my time in drumming. When I'm practicing, I like to play with my eyes closed. It really helps me with the accuracy at which I strike the drums(and cymbals). Also, since I'm a very 'all around the drums' drummer, I like to do one long roll back and forth around the set during my warm up. One last thing, DON'T FORGET to SAIL THE SEAS OF CHEESE!!!! Happy drumming!

   For me, my practices usually consist of just fee playing at first. Next I usually work on my double bass drum exercises. Following that I work on my drum parts for my band, and last but not least, my technique stuff, like left hand HH. The MOST important piece of advice for drummers I know is to ALWAYS wear earplugs. [Yes, sir! I whoeheartedly agree! - T]


   When u play the drums hear the beat in ur head. Think of what u are gonna play next and then play it; don't let a spontaenous thing evolve. Remember balance is the key: ever double stroke; balance it and ever accent put u heart into it. May it be from a simple eigth beat hits on the high hats to triplets around the toms; give it ur distinct sound.

Drum on!

   Here's a simple tip: practice slowly. It's sounds easy, but it's one of those chops busters (or builders). Set your metronome to the slowest possible speed. If you can, set the clicks to 16th notes, and play whatever pattern you like. Once you are comfortable, set the click to a 8th note subdivision, and practice the same pattern. The pattern should remain the same, the only difference is that the clicks are fewer and far between. Once you are comfortable move the click to quarters, then halfs, and finally whole notes. By the time you get to the end, there is only one click per measure to keep time with, make sure you are locked in with that one click. This exercise is one that will get your tempo tight and right on the money.

    Ryan Manning

   Try paradiddles using all four limbs. First try it between the right hand and left foot, then reverse that to left hand and right foot, then right hand,left foot at the same time, then left hand,right foot at the same time. It's a bit awkward at first but it gets easier. This one exercise helped my independence a great deal. You can actually use your own choise of rudement, but since the paradiddle is used most often by most drummers it's a good starting point. Happy drumming.

   I've only been drumming for 2 years now and am entirely self-taught, so I can't give any technical tips or label any of my tips technically, but I find that stretching before playing really helps in speed and to do fast rolls. Try letting your sticks bounce on the skin, a-la a "buzz-roll". Also, try rolling from snare to each tom and reverse (toms to snare) while doing a hi-hat-then-bassdrum beat (alternate your foot if you are a doublebass player).

Of course, practise practise and practise dont expect overnight miracles... :) all the best.

   I'm not too sure how much this would be of help to people who already play the drums, but...

   The first time I ever went on a drum kit, when I was about 9, I could play a simple beat straight away. This was mainly from about 4 or 5 years of wanting a kit, and tapping on tables etc.

   What I'm trying to say (I think..) is that you don't necessarily need a kit to practise, as long as you still have your limbs you can still play your favourite beats on tables, knees, heads, sandwiches..whatever! Everyone who doesn't play the drums gets really really annoyed at people who do this, but it's what I like to call the 'drummer's disease', where ye just can't get enough of the things!

   Oh, and I still go by my (and many others i should think) theory that jazz drumming is one of the best ways to expand your horizons..

   see ye's..keep on drumming!

   Before any practice session, I usually start by warming up my muscles through some simple stretching exercising. This involves the chest, shoulders, arms, wrists, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and waists. I then proceed to the drumset and start playing a simple beat for about 5 minutes straight. I then practice some double strokes between my bass drums and snare.

   I then pick a page from George Stones Stick Control and play the written line on the snare while playing 8th notes on top and 4 on the floor. I then play the written line with my bass drum and play four on the snare and 16th notes up top. Then I reverse hands and feet and repeat. I found this a great way to build your weaker side while keeping practice fun.

   Another tip is to set up your drums to the opposite side of what your used to (hihat, snare, floor tom and ride) and play that way for a few weeks. You will find out its not that easy at first, everything you do is now opposite of what you're used to.!!! Don't get discouraged and don't give in so quickly. The results of your effort pay off and you will be better and more creative as a drummer.

   Now its time to get into some serious playing. Remember to constantly check your grip and never substitute speed for technique. Learning to play fast is easy once you develop a strong technique. Happy Drumming.

   One of the best tips I have found is to have a fellow drummer or simply someone with good knowledge of rhythms listen to you play. Start by playing any groove you see fit and then ask your partner what could be changed to improve the groove. I have been doing this for months and some of my most solid grooves have come from this.

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