Practice TipsTomás Howie Drumming Web
menu bar


Ambidexterity
Biography
Community
Drum Resources
My Equipment
F A Q
GigBox
Heroes
Liner Drumming
Link To Us
Modern Drummer
Monthly Lesson
Paradiddles
Practice Tips
Reading Music
Rhythms of Prog
Rudiments
Technique
Tuning

 

    

Practice Tips Archive 7

   This is something I do to really get a beat down pat. I don't know all the technical terms so I'll do my best. Take a beat you know already..or are in the process of learning. Say it has a slow hi-hat tempo. Just do the same beat but up the tempo of the hi-hat..then up it again if you want. Even better, use both hands for the high-hat.


   this is pretty simple but i find it helps me...when playing put headphones over your ears, you get an echoy sound and it makes you sound better(to you any way)....keep drumming gurls!


   Ok. Before you start to practice, first listen or even better watch one of your favorite band play for a while. Since you like the music im sure some of you start to tap the beat on your leg or somthing. And then if you get as excited as me, then go ahead, stretch, warm up, and then... play away with the excitment...


   Rudiments are worthwhile as long as you can execute them as you're moving around the kit. I've practiced my rudiments trying to strike a different drum/cymbal with every hit as well as using all combinations of my limbs. For example, paradiddles with my right hand and right foot, then right hand and left foot, etc.


   Hey fellow Drummers, I got a neat tip for y'all. It sounds really sweet when your playing off the ride cymbal and keeping a constant beat on the Hi-Hats. Try hitting your Thin Crash on the off beat without giving any kickdrum beat. This sounds great with the right combination of rolls on the bell on your Ride cymbal. (Do it on the up beat.) You'll notice you can get a great ska thing goin' on with just cymbals. Use your china to define that ska up beat. Once youve got a good tempo going on, Try to slowly fade the rest of the kit in.

   Ps: I'm not a Nerd.


   My practice tip is simple. For those of you who are new two the art of drumming remember this, practice every day! Don't think because you don't have an hour one day that you can't practice. I set my students on a default practice sheet. It is a 15 minute daily exercise program. The idea is two pick no more than 5 exercises that will be played every day. Make sure you play these exersices the same way every day. Don't change or leave out any thing. Create new programs every 2 weeks. The idea of every day practice is to create the habit of pratice.

   Think of the worst habit you have. What if you were just as consistent in drumming as you were in doing that bad habit. By playing the same rudiments or exersices every day for two weeks we get a chance to really absorb those fundimentals. As a young drummer I was never consistent in what I would practice. I would practice almost every day for an hour or more but it wasn't the same thing more than one day. How many of us really practiced our drum lesson home work every day. I would always wait till the day before my lesson. Well I changed that.

   Thanks to this program.


   Don't spend heaps of money when your first learning...the newest most expensive gear wont make you a better drummer. When your leaning a new beat/fill try slowing it down to less that half the speed it should be played so that you can see what hand comes down where.

   Also break it up into sections (eg. just do snare & bass, then try gust snare & hi hat, then hi hat & bass ect.) then put it all together. If your a double kicker, what i found really helps is doing all the rudiments with your feet. Basically anything you would do on the sane drum you can do with your feet. take your time...no matter how boring doing the same thing over & over at slow speed can be.

   And most of all have fun...isnt that what its all about?¿?


   Basically the only practice tip i can give is to change it up, you know, do a simple 8th note right handed beat, ad some fills and stuff, then switch it up with the left hand. Trust me, you don't want your left hand any weaker than your right. Sure, you might be able to play basic kit, but when it comes to those fancy fills and stuff you want to put in this new jam you wrote, your left hand will tense up, and your right will be relaxed, and your left will tire out. Take it from a dude who has had this happen to him. I've been kicked out of a band for it. People only want top quality drummers for their bands, and that means you gotta give it your all and Imean just practice 'till you learn it. Chad sexton of 311 is a really good drummer, and he got their by lots of practice. That's all the advise I can give. E-mail me and tell me what you think, agree or dissagree.


   I am a left handed drummer if you didn't know, and my drum instructor told me to play right handed as well. This helped my playing significantly as you can tell from my drumming, so try to play with both hands equally. If you can play wonderful on right hand try to play left handed. A lot of drummers can thrash in the right hand position but can't even play a simple beat on the left handed position.

    Dave Lombardo


   If you're frustrated because your drum kit sounds like a pile of junk, try the following.

   Put a microphone in your practice space, as far from your drum kit as possible. Plug the mic and a big set of headphones into a stereo. Wear the earphones while you're playing, and listen to what you sound like, coming through the stereo. Guaranteed, you kit will sound far better. This technique allows you to hear your playing as others do. Most of the annoying (and distracting) noise of the kit isn't audible from a few feet away.

   One important note: For this to work the noise coming out of the headphones has to be louder than the noise coming from your kit. Very loud. Wear heavy-duty earplugs inside the headphones or you'll deafen yourself. No one wants to play with a drummer with bad ears.


   Don't overrate yourself. Meaning don't play something and say something like, "Yes! I kicked the competition's ass!" But don't underrate yourself either. Don't say, "I suck at this." Just know that there's always something to work on. This should keep your feet on the ground.


   DON'T BE CLONE!!!CLONES ARE BAD!!!

   Playing to cd is fun and even great for a warm-up. But, if that's all you play, you're not creating or nurturing your own style. You're playing to someone else's. And your not your own drummer. Soooo, don't do it.


   Hey everyone! I hope that my tip hasn't been suggested yet, but here it is! In a constant effort to enhance my versatility, I find it very useful to have a stereo nearby. Turn it on to any random station, not necessarily one that you know, and play along to whatever song that comes on! First, try matching the beat that the drummer in the song is playing, and from there, add your own flavour to it! Switch the station regularly to get a whole PLETHERA of songs and styles! Even if it's not a style of song that you enjoy, and even if you find it boring---That's the whole point of the exercise!! PLAY IT ANYWAY!


    I have only briefly looked over the other practice tips, but now that I have seen what's covered, these are what I feel are the foundation of a good practice session. Here is what I suggest for all drummers no matter what your experience level.

  1. Streach-- hands, wrists, arms, legs, neck and back. This is very important. A runner always streaches before a work out, no reason you shouldn't either.
  2. Straight 4-- Start with the straight 4 rock beat. Eighth notes on the hi-hat, and quarter notes on the kick and snare. This is a good time to work on your tempo. Start slow, and gradually build to a speed that is good for you. I like to use a click and move the tempo up and down. Sounds easy but takes some concetration.
  3. Mix it up--Now you have your straight 4 working, mess around with the kick, snare and hi-hat. Work on spicing it up but, always count and find your way back to the down beat. I have discovered alot of beats that sounded great by playing around with them during warm up. Play, but play with purpose.
  4. Fills-- start throwing in fills. I try to follow the rudaments. 1/4 , 1/8, 16th, etc. Then play with the fills but always fond the down beat.
  5. WORK--now that you're warm work on what you need to. You know the song that you aren't quite getting, or the song that the bass player just looks at you and shakes his head on. (maybe thats just me)

This is my way and seems to work for me, but you should do it how you feel comfortable. Use what works and have fun.


   You can do it if you belive you can. There are people out there that say, "No, you aren't going to make it." Well, I'm here to tell you you can. Use your metronomes, paradiddles, and such. Never give up on your dream: you can do it. If there is a will there is a way. When people say you won't make it, tell them, "Ok, in your eyes I won't." Then you give it every thing you've got to become a drummer. It won't be easy but you can do it.

Good luck and God bless.


   Try practicing on a very basic kit, try even a three piece kit, for instance bassdrum, snare and tom with a hi hat and one crash. This will make you inventive and force you to come up with new patterns variations. trust me......


   My practice tip is relatively simple if not slightly different . It involves a little constructive critisism.

   Firstly record a short tape in different styles pass it onto fellow drummers to return with a list of ten things they think could have been better. After all it's only what people would be thinking as you are performing. Yes it's different but it's a good way to go forward - it can also be fun!! You know drummers seem to be unique in the music world at sharing their Knowledge.


   Timed dynamics: Some of the best drumming can be done by using dramatic dynamics (very soft to very loud), creating a mood or adding to the climax of the piece. Start with timed sesions of about 2 minutes. Think of distict levels of playing in terms of dymnaic levels, going from soft to loud, and then vice-versa. Do this a few times going from both piano to forte and from forte to piano. To increase the range of playing, change the time intervals, the number of "sound levels", or even trying a soft1-loud1-soft2-loud2-soft3-loud3, etc. pattern.


   Hi all. I've been playing for 16 years and I guess my tips are the following (please forgive repeats of other fine tips in here)

  1. You've got to want it. Remember doing something that was supposed to be a chore, but instead you liked it? You have to make practicing similar to that. I find books on motivation help alot as does Zen and meditation before you practice.
  2. Use a metronome.
  3. Practice on non-rebounding surfaces.
  4. When learning other beats like tango and waltzes, etc., join a dance club. Moving to those rhythms will help you understand them.
  5. Practice with a mirror and learn economy of motion.
  6. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself at least a few hours just to play whatever and however you want.
  7. Play with other musicians (preferrably with better musicians to learn their tricks and to motivate you to practice harder).
  8. As for independance, I am working through the new breed by Gary Chester and it's quite tough.
  9. Wear ear protection.
  10. And finally.....be open and listen to everyone's advice.

   Hope I helped a little.


   Hello fellow crazy drummers!

   My tip is simple,most of you probably already know it, but it is very important!!!!! If you have some exercise to do, always do it slow... and in time do it faster and faster. It will improve your drumming alot!!! Also, learn jazz as soon as you are ready to. It helps play with feel and also the coordination in it helps with all the kinds of music there is!

   That's it.... And last - KEEP DRUMMING AND DONT STOP...NEVER!!!

    Alon


   This is a tip on the hi-hat.

   One way I like to aproach the hi-hat is by using the shank-tip method. What you do is: you play all the down beats with the shank. And you play all the up beats with tip and I think it adds like a nice finess to the hi-hat. That's one way aproach the hi-hat.


   RIPPIN' SINGLES... interested?

   This is about the best praticing technique I have been taught, actually by the drummer of Bran Van 3000! First, take your metronome at 60bpm and practice 16th notes with one hand counting up to 100 quarter notes, then do the same with the other hand. Now raise the tempo by 6bpm to 66bpm and repeat the exercise and then raise it again by another 6bpm and so on. Top speeds should be around 96bpm.

   Now, repeat the whole exercise and this time, play 32nd notes with both hands alternating. After reaching the 100 quater note goal, change the leading hand. This should be a little tougher and your top speed will probably be lower.

   Always (ALWAYS) remember to remain COMPLETELY relaxed and if you are tense, lower the tempo and focus on where the tension is coming from. Try to keep the area relaxed at all costs. Lower the tempo more if necessary. Usually a change in techniques will be necessary to reach a higher speed, like switching from wrists to fingers. Also, try this exercise at ALL dynamic levels and adding various accents, like on every quarter note or every other quarter note. Playing the "wipe out" accent pattern with your weak hand leading is very effective.

   Do this exercise everyday for a month and YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT THE RESULTS!

   Remember that faster speeds will require you to be more efficient and relaxed in your movements. That means, you'll have to develop your finger technique and use as much of the bounce as possible. You probably won't be able to play as loud at your top speed than at 60bpm, so don't kill yourself trying to.

   As for developing your singles above 100bpm, the same idea can be applied, but now just try to see how fast you can play 8 bars of 16th notes, then 4 bars of 16th notes, then 2 bars, then 1 bar, then half a bar. Then, of course, you repeat using both hands playing 32nd notes.

   This whole idea can be applied to developing your doubles, paradiddles or any other technique. Good luck!


   A sure fire way to warm up your hands when pressed for time is to play a press roll for at least 5 minutes. While performing this rudiment, really squeeze the sticks (use both traditional and matched grip) and press rather hard while at the same time striving for smootheness and evenness. If time permits try varying the dynamic levels from a whisper to a roar. This can also be applied to the feet by playing alternating strokes slowly with legs slightly elevated and using just the ankle (calf muscle) and pressing each stroke into the floor (no bd pedal required).

   You'll be amazed at your technique and speed when you get to the kit.


   This tip deals with one of the most important aspects of drumming: concentration. It is common for drummer's minds to wander, especially when reading a chart in the studio. To improve your concentration, take a page of music and play it from beginning to end without any mistakes whatsoever. In order to accompish this, you will have to keep your mind totally on the printed page. I used to use the classical etudes from the Anthony Cerone book - "Portraits in Rhythm." These are difficult and one mental error will cause you to make a mistake. Eventually, you will find you can keep your mind totally focused on the page of music and you will be able to play it without any mistakes. Of course, this tip will be virtually useless if you don't read music. But then again, if you don't read, you don't have the problem of losing your place in a chart!


   Try playing 'openly'. What I mean by this is that you play in a way that means your left and right hands do not cross over when in the normal Hi-Hat/Snare position. This will improve the strength of both hands and also give you easier access to the entire kit when playing fast rhythms. You may need to change your kit around though, and left-handers will find this easier than righties.


   Some people think it's boring to do rudiments (hey, I do too!). Still its your basic and you need to do them every day if possible. So what I did was take my drumchair and a second one (with a ?cushion? Sue me: I'm Dutch!). Anyways, you put the second cushionless chair in front of your TV and watch it while doing your rudiments. One important catch though! DONT FORGET TO PLAY THEM ON YOUR SET AS WELL!!! When I first started playing rudiments I did it this way and when I taped myself on my set later on it sounded as if I only played singlestrokes in other words: No accents!

   Seeya around

   Tha JUL


   1. Don't ever forget that you are making MUSIC. That's something we all tend to forget from time to time. If you have the choice between a flamboyant double ratamacue or a simple left-right-left that simply sounds better with the rest of your band, go for the left-right-left. It's not as impressive and the other drummers in the crowd will not be impressed, but your primary job is to lay the beat and make the other bandmembers look good. Nobody will admit it, but sometimes drummers get a little carried away, when they reach these levels of drumming.

   2. Jam Jam Jam Jam and Jam, with your band....At a certain point you need to incorporate those paradiddles and flamacues into your style and you need to be prepared. Sitting at home doing those is very productive, but when you're playing a song you need to be able to do them once, perfectly AND like a clockwork! Besides that I've been playing in bands for about 8 years (I'm 19) and if there is one thing I've learned I've learned that jamming is crucial in getting to know each other musically. So it's two for the price of one!

   These tips are probably in the list already somewhere, but I didn't have time to read them all yet and I think these two are pretty important. The second is probably useless since everybody jams a lot(at least I think), but still....

   Seeya around

   Tha JUL


   Practice makes Perfect... when studing percussion I have learned a metronom always helps. Know what your gonna practice before you practice it. Have a clear mind and relax your hands... Good Luck


   1. Always keep your back straight, if you have your back slouched it will not pass down and will not be as relaxed .

   2. when playing fast double kicks put weight on the back of your ass, not on either of feet; this will improve your playing.

   Single strokes

   With a practice pad tap a coin on it at first start with a 50 cent and as time progresses, and after alot of parctice, move down sizes to a a 5 cent pice or a dime. This will help to focus on concentration and make your stroke a lot more accurate. Plus if you do this with some 3s parade sticks, or the biggest you can find, it will help your wrists tremendously.

   It's VERY important to isolate the muscle and tendons in the the forearms, wrists and hands just like if you were working in the gym. A great method to do this is to place books under your Armpits this will focus the muscle development, remembering to sit straigt (Billy Cobham uses telephone books).

   Fingers

   This is a little hard to explain but VERY VERY effective. Okay, get your stick and place your right hand facing down - open your thumb and place stick in webbing of thumb. Now move your 3 large fingers above stick and bounce it; do not move the wrist at all. This is a complete finger movement. It's hard at first but will improve. Remember, it's just like bouncing a basketball. This is extremly hard in left hand but it will help alot in the end for your fingers.

   Keep on drumming.


   Print out these paradiddles, play them to a click track. Play along to tapes or cd's, and remember: you are best at what you do the most.


   I have been playing drums for a little over 2 years. I play drums, on average, about 7 hours a week. One thing that improved my drumming was to move my snare and hi-hat around. So in other word if you are right handed, play drums like you were left handed, and vise versa. This helps your mind open up to something new. It is hard at first but you get used to it after a while.


   Just a few quick tips that may help any one with these problems.

  1. If you are finding fast bass drum stuff hard, loosen your pedal spring so it is hanging on by one thread and play it with heel up and right at the bottom of the pedal. Some of you may hate it, but it may work for others. It's works for me!.
  2. To do really fast snare stuff, get a pratice pad and relax your arms a hell of a lot. If you keep praticing the fast stuff it will help with experimentation in slow stuff.
  3. Try experimenting with your kit. Take bits off and add bits. I have had a 5 piece with an extra snare (very interesting!) and also played with bass drum, snare, ride, crash, hats and one floor tom! This is very good as it helps you adapt and find out what you can do with what you got.

   Hope this is some use to some of you.


    A common problem almost all drummers have is having a comfort zone when it comes to tempos. Use a metronome to find your comfort zone, note them then practice to the metronome outside of those areas, dont go back to your comfort zone for a while. Nine times out of ten the more you slow things down the harder it gets even on the simpler stuff. Most music drummers encounter never is as slow as you'll be doing here but the amount of control you gain by practicing this way is invaluable. Control over your instrument is everything, the more you practice it the less likely you are to think about what your playing and more allowing yourself to be fully creative.


   I've found a great way to work on building leg strength, flexibility and control: ballet.

   Now I know you guys out there probably won't try it, but I swear it's one of the best things ever! I bought a video called "The Ballet Workout", there are probably others out there. Let me tell you, ballet is tough. It works muscles you never knew you had, and stretches your muscles rather than compressing them like many weight lifting moves do.

   After just a couple of weeks of exercising with the ballet tape I noticed a MAJOR difference in my bass drum technique. My control was much better and so was my stamina. My legs don't get tired anymore like they used to. So don't be afraid to try it... if you get a video you can do the exercises in the privacy of your home.

   [I took ballet in college - the best workout my legs ever had! - Ed.]


   Hey!!!! if you play with double basses put some JUDAS PRIEST music in the background it will help and it will get you going. just feel the power of the double basses!!!


   I believe there is nothing more important than playing along to a Click/metronome which is what I have started to do. Start by playing your favourite grooves ie rock/funk at a certain bpm then practice fills at the start of a bar its suprising how out of time you can become just by playing a fill.

   The best way to use a metronome is to practice rudiments against it like doubles and paradiddles etc start slowly and give yourself a target ie 200bpm with doubles its hard work but good fun and your timing will greatly improve over time remember it wont happen overnight!!

   yours truly

    Nick Edney


   During practice I usually position myself with my back close to a wall this prevents that lazy lay back when playing. I also tend to sit up, and leaning forward is hard when your toms are close to your chest.


   Start off slow. Then as you get better start adding accents to it; then go faster.


   Bass drum control.

   I have recently been experiencing a problem with my bass drum technique: not being able to play a solid sixteenth note double repeatedly without rushing it or missing the second beat. I generally use the heel up technique but have just started playing flat-footed and making progress since I started using a Buddy Rich practice technique.

   Here's how I fixed the problem: disconnect the spring from your bass drum and remaining flat footed use your foot to control the bounce of the beater keeping a constant tap going, this will be tricky at first as you loose control of the beater and your leg will ache. Each time your leg begins to ache stop playing. After practicing this technique for a couple of weeks you should see improvements in your bass drum technique.


   Warm Up and Strengthen Your Muscles

  • ARMS: Get a piece of rope 5-6 feet long. Secure some weight (20lbs) to one end. Secure a narrow (1 inch diameter) cylinderical piece of wood to the other. Hold the wood in front of you at shoulder level and turn your wrists until you lift the weight to the wood. Do as many reps as often as possible. Adjust the weight as necessary. This really works for guitarists as well.
  • LEGS: Do jumping jacks for a minute or more. This works wonders!
  • BRAIN: Rhythmic Interruption: Take a beat or fill-in you can play well and divide it into two parts A and B. A and B should each be some number of quarter notes. Then, this is the weird part split B into B1 and B2. This can make for a really radical rhythm if A and B have different note values. For example, A is 1/4 (5 quintuplet notes) and B is 2/4 (3 triplet-qtr notes). Make B1 = 1 triplet qtr note, B2 = 2 triplet qtr notes. Then, play A B A B1 A B2. It's more effective if A and B are on different surfaces (hi and low). It sounds like a berserk form of call and response.
  • Of course, this is the crazy. You can take any beat apply this idea. It might be easier if you write it down. I got this idea from an essay Steve Vai wrote on polyrhythms at www.vai.com

    Fred Schneider
    Frederick_Schneider@westlb.com
    http://www.padillla.com


   Hey all you fellow drummers.

   I have just discovered "how deep the beat goes" and, well honestly, I love to drum. I have been lucky enough to work with a member of the Colts. . .whoa...awsome...but I spend approx. 4-5hour per week night and close to 10yours every weekend. . . I am becoming pretty good.. but don't get me wrong I am by far not as good as I could be I have much more to learn and many more hours of standing on the line to do. . .

   But I just want anyone who doesn't know it already it helps very much to PLAY INTO THE DRUM and always have a good mental set (its 99.99% mental, and then hands). You must believe in yourself...never think while your playing "oh no im going to jack this up" cause you will; always think "Yea thats right listen to that groove this is so easy."

   There have times I have improved licks 20-30BPM in one night working like that - its a great feeling. Well I'm going to go practice, as should you! So hope this helped you, not confused you.


   The main point I wish to stress is to practice correctly and if possible to a click. By this I mean if you hear something, i.e. a rudiment, play it correctly. If this were a doulbe paradiddle play RLRLRR LRLRLL, not RLRRL LRRRL - you get the idea. This obviously applies to beginners more than advanced players. Playing to a click will only lead to good fortune. To become a Pro or Semi-Pro drummer you will almost always need to be able to play to a click; after all you are the rhythm section and time keeping here is essential, especially for less fortunate people like quitarists who don't know quite what a bar is and depend on you!


   Play on your snare alone. When I first began drumming, I didn't have a set, but I had a snare. I learned complicated rythems, tuning, and control. When I got my first set, all that I had to learn was the movement from drum to drum.


   Playing faster, smoother.

   Maybe some of you have also experienced this scenario - you practice the rudiments (slow to fast, quiet to loud, etc.) but some other drummer you've seen just RIPS, playing those same exercises much faster while barely moving his or her hands!! What are they doing and (most importantly) how do they do it?

   ECONOMY OF MOTION! Use the least amount of "muscle" and tension in your arms, legs, hands, feet, etc. Your muscles can act like brakes on a car - if they're tense, they literally squeeze your body into a slower speed. Of course, you don't want to slouch or just sit there like a big pile either. Bruce Lee (one of Buddy Rich's heros) used this Economy of Motion in his martial arts - always relaxed but always ready. If he prepared for a fight by flexing all his muscles and remaining rigid, his amazing hand speed would have been slowed. Same thing with drumming. With speed comes power, and you can't play fast if you're tense and rigid.

   For your hands - make sure you use the fingers, wrist, and forearm movements as one complete unit. Start slowly and increase your speed - pay close attention to where your body feels tense (usually the neck and upper back for me... I tend to "pull my shoulders up" as I play faster) Keep playing!! As you control and relax your muscles, soon you will gain much more control over the sticks. (In about two weeks of practicing this approach, I saw great results - from faster playing to less fatigue after shows).

   Drumming is not just hands and feet! Relax. Practice. Enjoy.


bar separator

E-Mail Me!