If you feel like you go for "Linear Drumming", such as described by Gary Chaffee et. al., forget the book and forget staring at the written exercises. Do this: Set your metronome at the speed of 100 bpm, or even slower, but not faster. Then hit you set with ALL your limps as RANDOMLY as you can: A stroke here, a stroke there, 2, 3, 4 or 5 strokes anywhere, only one stroke a click! Never hit 2 or more soundsources at the same time. Don´t think about any kind of music, bars or exercises or such. Just think about using your 4 limbs randomly, and try to hear and feel the "groove" of the metronome. Don´t forget your left foot, and never ever try to increase speed. (don´t forget: play as randomly as you can, without thinking). Since this is absolutely boring on the set, and to keep you from thinking, do it as often as you can on the sofa, while you watch TV.
Again: Don´t ever try to increase speed!!!!
Very soon you will feel the need of "let it all out". Don´t!!! Hold it like if you was making love and you try to delay the ocean as long as you can. Hold it and practise this not only for some more hours or days, but for weeks at the same slow speed!!
After some weeks practising you are so bored and frustrated, you wanna quit drumming. Do it! Quit drumming! Don´t practise or even think about drumming any more. But after at least 2-3 weeks retirement change your mind: You miss drumming, you cannot live without the sound of your set anymore.. NOW it is time to let it all out: Again forget songs, music, bars, exercises, and such and now even forget the metronome. Just hit your set, randomly with all your limbs. You will be able to do unbeleavable things uptempo, without ever practising uptempo: WOW!
And then, only then: pop in any CD, and move your limbs, and listen to "IT", playing the drums.
Practice this simple basic rudiment: Flam-Tap: LR R RL L LR R RL L...
In fact it is the mommy-daddy roll with a flam on each first stroke.
Play it swinging on the snare, until it sounds like a shuffle as in "Radar Love" by Golden Earring.
Then straighten out the flam, until it falls together with the mainstroke. Hit each first stroke plus the flam (both hands same time) real hard, until it sounds like you was playing only these notes, with a "touch" of shuffle: The strokes that don´t have a flam should be played like "ghostnotes".
Then play it with your right hand on the ride, your left hand on the snare. Start it either right or left. Then listen to it. You will be surprised!!.
Then bring it up to speed (I mean SPEEEEED!), go to the next drumstore, sit on a set, and play it. (Don`t play hihat or bassdrum). Even at a slow tempo, again you will be surprised: I did so, last week, after I´ve been practising this on the sofa for only a couple of days, while watching TV. I just wanted to check out the drumsets, and strange enough, the best pro-drummers in town came up and asked a lousy weekend-warrior like me how it is done. It made my day to see those sophisticated yerks trying to play 2 different swing-patterns at the same time, messing it up like greenhorns, grin. So: This little "trick" seams to be something cool.
I found this idea in "Ginger Baker`s Drumbook", which I own since 1980. In the book it is only one simple phrase I never really cared about: Just another lousy rudiment, too easy to be worth practising it, until one understands what it is good for. Took me 21 years to understand it, grin. And it opens a door to a universe of playing different patterns that overlap each other.
If when your playing and you dont think it sounds right, get a friend or a parent to listen to you. And ask them to be honest! You'll see a great improvment hopefully. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, I'm not the most technical drummer around, but this simple exercise is great for kick drum technique. Just play eighth notes on the bass until you physically can't do it any more. Find a speed where you can keep the tempo for about five minutes without stopping. Do this at the end of every practice, and when you can hold that tempo for 10 minutes, increase the speed. Use a metronome! If you get bored while doing this, add the hi-hat, or play around the kit. The kick pattern is the same as swing era drummers used, so if you like that kind of thing, think about making people dance so the exercise seems more musical and less mechanized.
This increased my foot speed, control, and endurance significantly in a few short weeks.
Move your drumset. Move it alot. Don't get used to playing with one configuration. First of all, eventually you may end up finding out your arm's length reach just got shortened by about a foot playing in some venue that barely fits your drums yet alone the rest of the band. Your perfect show-off drum roll just turned into a wimpy congo beat. After playing on one configuration awhile, you may find out also by moving your set you can improve things you have had difficulty getting down, because your body just might have needed that floor tom just a couple inches closer, or that one cymbal is now just close enough you can hit it en-route while going for that Gene Krupa wannabe tom-tom attack you've been just dying to get out of your system. Get the set pieces as close to each other as possible to close the distance in your sticking. But you might find that there is such a thing as too close, or some things are just too far behind you. I found it better to have to reach out in front rather than trying to turn around for things.
Practice getting comfortable, remembering your reach, and playing the setup without looking where you are hitting. After awhile, you will be like a fighter pilot looking for the next kill while a missle is launched and still zeroed in on your previous target. Fire-and-Forget. You can then stay ahead of the beat, planning your next move, like a cymbal attack or tossing in a quick snap of the top hat, enhancing your performance. I watched a 30+ year drummer play blindfolded once to show off for the crowd. I asked him how he did it. He told me to remember my reach, and if you can play without looking, you can play blindfolded all night long if you know where your kit is. I kept that in mind, and after closing my eyes a few times, I found that very helpful, and I can get into the beat quicker, and focus on the next move.
Well, this may be a little vauge to you:
Me and my cousin like to make uur own rythms. We came up with this several months ago, and know use it as a warm-up, but it is quite hard for a begginer to master.
1) X=Hi Hat(closed)
Try this, it sounds good when you get it just right, and by the "Sizzle" effect i mean letting the hi-hat come up right as you hit it. Most of you more-experenced people might do this often, but you probably don't know what I'm talking about.
I always wanted to play the drums but never started as i couldn't see how great players could play the way they do.
Then by chance I went to a JIM CHAPPIN master class. I walked out knowing how I could easily learn the technique of how to play, how you ask?
LEARN THE MOLAR TECHNIQUE.
It is amazing. check out Dom Famularo's book 'It's Your Move'. This contains a complete description of this amazing technique. You wil be amazed at how many famous dummers use it, Buddy rich for one and if it's good enough for probably the best drummer of our time then that was good enough for me.
One of the best thing that you can do for your playing is stretch your muscles. Shoulders, back, legs, arms, and most importantly your forearms. You're probably wondering that no matter what practice you do, you can't seem to hit fast yet still retain a soft sound? Just before you get to your gig, just pick up a reasonable weight dumbell and just exercise your forearms. Just the forearms if you don't know how to do it... just sit on a chair with your thighs parallel to the chair, rest your whole forearm on your thigh with the dumbell just freefalling from the edge of your knee and just bring it up and flex your forearms. When you feel the burn, that's a good sign... do 15 repetitions rest and do this 3 times... and then grab a drumsticks and let it rip on a practice pad....
This is a very good warming exercise and will do great things on your playing. Ever thought of doing 6 stroke drum roll?? Keep doing this stuff and you'll be there in a flash!!
I've found that to build up speed, strength, and endurance on the drumset practice for about thirty minutes a day on a practice pad with marching sticks (I use S-3's). It will greatly improve your playing ability.
I have been playing drums for about 3 years now, and I have heard that I'm as good, or better than a lot of the pros out there. What's my secret? I get about a 2b stick, tie a string around it (about a foot or so in length), tie a brick to the other end. Now I put the stick in my hand and roll the string up onto the stick, using only the hand the stick is in. It's a little tough at first, but it's a good way to build up your chops.
I do the classical patterns (RLRRLRLL... etc.) but reversed, I mean, instead of hitting 'downward' with the sticks, I hit something 'upwards', so from below. I do it with a pillow, a wrapped blanket or with the charleston if I am at the drums already and with symmetrical (rock) grip or Jazz grip (left stick square to wrist, I am right handed too). I am sorry I don't use the proper terms, (English is not my original language) but I am sure you understand me. This practice gives an incredible strength in recalling the stick after hitting, so it cleans the sound a lot, and of course it trains the upper wrist muscles, which usually you don't train much.
i kinda have a tip which may be trivial to most, but it's something i just learned (after playing in a very sucsessful cover band in my area for over 3 years). CORRECT STICKING IS EVERYTHING. after 3 years of high school band, i think it's the easiest thing to mistake or overlook. start the roll on 1 and end on 4 is not the only way to do it. it's what's in the middle that counts. rudiments are key, as i've seen much better drummers than myself demonstrate. take the incentive to go " back to basics." i know this stuff doesn't apply to most but i hope i helped someone. very, very ,very nice site and keep up the good work. i'll be back here often.
I've found that my most usefull practise tip is (not don't laugh);
Practising with your eyes closed!
I don't mean go through the 40 rudiments or running through songs blind, I mean doing simple things like single stroke rolls and one-hand rolls over every piece of your kit.
Do it a few times with your eyes open, get the hang of your kit's config, then try to rip it off while you close your eyes. When you can successully play with your eyes closed, you know that you have "mastered" moving around your kit.
I play along to Vigil Donati's "Power Drumming" tape, I do it liek he does, then I do the exercises blind. You wouldn't believe how much it's helped me with uneveness on my rolls and missing the drums / cymbals with strokes.
Sometimes while you are playing, you may wonder. am I doning this right? Do I sound on beat? Do I make any sense? How does this sound to others listening.
My advice for such a situation is to get a mike and a tape and record a drum solo, incorporating everything you know into one. Afterword, listen to yourself and criticise your playing. Then, record yourself again, keeping a careful mind to your past mistakes.
I have began to do this regularly and now have seen an amazing improvment.
Funk Master James
A handy little independance practice routine I've been messing with. (still trying to master!)
Jazz time on the
ride cymbal (accent 2 & 4)
Not only is it good for independance but it helps with endurance aswell.
Ally 'Technik' Tennick
What I do when I'm watching T.V is twirl my drumsticks in my fingers or toss them to myself and I find that not only does is work on my coordination but it limbers up your fingers as well.
I've been playing about 8 years now (that's more than half my life), and I have to admit I'm not bad. However, if I could do one thing differently it would be this: For the first four years I sat at my drums playing the same boring four/four beats thinking I as great, and it was all fine. I could play four/four to perfection. But I didn't learn anything else (5/4, 6/8, 7/8, 9/8 or anything interesting) until much more recently, and it was hard. What I'm saying is I got into habits - if all you play is 4/4 for four years, it'll take you ages to get out of the 4/4 groove. Once you've got the simple stuff nailed, experiment with more intricate patterns, find out about other rythms and beats. Belive me, it will cut out months and months of frustration.
The "Designated Drum&Dot" Trick:
This is one of my favourites; it is good for both beginners and advanced - it sounds great even if you play it slow, and you learn a lot of things from it.
1. Play around your snare and all the toms you have in looping CW circles, with your right hand, one stroke each, followed by one kick on the bassdrum each. Play 8th notes, while playing your hihat on beats 2 and 4. Your hand is leading now. Then after some rounds, without stopping, name your lowest tom your "designated tom": Each time you come to your designated tom in your circles, let this one be followed by 2 kicks on the bass, while all the others stil get only 1. The 2 strokes must be 8th notes too! Notice that each time you do the 2 bassdrum kicks, you will alter leading between hand and foot, and you will alter in "odd places", depending on how many toms you have. Now after some rounds, and without stopping, name the next higher tom your "designated tom" and let this one have the 2 kicks. Again, play a couple of rounds. Practice until you can designate the next tom each round, from the lowest to the highest, then the snare, and back, stil playing CW circles. Then practise to randomly designate any drum, while you do your circles. You have to think while you play! Stay with this one for a couple of circles and then designate another one randomly. Also try to designate more than one drum in a circle and give them the 2 bass strokes. When you are comfortable with all of this, cut off the lowest tom, so that you have a smaller circle to play, and designate drums that are in this circle. Then cut off the next tom and so on, until the smallest circle you play is just the snare and 1 tom to and fro. Then practise to vary the "size" of the circles while you play and each time use the last one in a circle as your designated tom. Also practise in CCW circles. You can also create diferent ways to treat your "designated" drum: Maybe give each drum only one kick but play the designated twice, and such. Practising it in endless loops, it will enable you to start at any point of a song and with any drum, and do some simple, but great sounding fills.
2. Practice the same exercise, but instead of the bass drum play your snare left hand, giving the designated tom 2 strokes.
3. Now here comes the best part of this exercise: The "Designated Dots": Grab a nonpermanent marker, paint dots on the ride- or hihat-cymbal, as an image of your toms, look at them and play this exercise on them the same way you did with the real toms, loop in circles and give the designated ones 2 snare strokes, while all the others get only one. Support either all or just some of the cymbal strokes with the bass drum, maybe each first one of the imaginary tom circle, or the designated one, or randomly. This creates really cool odd patterns, you dont have to count and you can listen to whatever happens, while you play by yourself or along with music. Later you will be able to wipe the dots off and just imagine them.
4. Then play it over any simple bass/hihat groove, eg. four on the floor or a samba groove: Both the cymbal/snare and tom/snare version. Even if you play this for hours, it will never be boring, cause "IT" creates a different pattern in each bar, without the need of learning hundreds of variations by heart.
This technique creates lots of "odd groupings over the barline" by itself, without practicing odd counting, and as simple as just a side effect you will learn to hear and play such odd stuff. When you can do this exercise kinda "automatically", you will feel like "IT" plays and you listen to things you have never heard before, and which you could not play if you would study written music for 100 years. You will be surprised and having fun with what you hear. I love to play the snare version by myself endless over a kind of latin "boo diddley" groove. Believe me, this took me a while to learn, but now it is just an easy routine. Playing with a band, I use it rarely to not overdo it or confuse the other musicians. Playing it "endless" for a couple of minutes, even the simple tom/bass version makes a never boring solo that looks cool because you use only one hand, and I found out that at least it sure does impress the boys at the drum store ::))
I always find that the key to good drumming is being relaxed. A relaxed casual approach to drumming will help you flow better through your set. Plus, don't be afraid to make a mistake. Don't over exert yourself. When you're tired, take a break. Pretty much, know your limits. I also found going to sites like this helped me, plus talk to other drummers to see what they do to practice. Remember, you can always play a different beat to the same song (Bad Idea if your at a gig). Be creative. Play at a different volumes.
Good luck with your drumming.
1 - Beginners: Work on developing your hi-hat footwork FROM THE START.
2 - Protect your ears. ALWAYS. Even when you not playing (at a show, whatever), but especially when your playing.
2b- DO NOT play along with a CD by blasting it, or blasting it through regular headphones, even if you are wearing ear plugs. Buy a pair of "isolation headphones" (headphones that reduce outside noise). You'll still be able to hear yourself playing, but you'll also be able to hear the music. They're also good for working with a clicker and just wearing to protect your ears while practicing alone or with a band. I think Vic Firth makes a good set, but for what little it's worth, I can vouch for the "Drumphones" I got from GK-Music (http://www.gk-music.com/) (actually, I just called them to order) . They were only $70 or so and I'm loving them.
3 - a - Read through ALL of the advice archives on this site (and/or others). It will take some time, but it's worth it. b - Jot down anything that seems worth remembering (exercises and habits) even if it is something that is ahead of where you're at currently. c - Keep that list. d - Re-read it periodically.
4 - Repeat #3 periodically. As you get better, you'll pick out more/different bits of advice.
5 - Make a short-list of these sorts of things, and go over it EVERY time you practice, asking yourself, "Have i been practicing the way I'm trying to?". (e.g. mine starts off: 1- Stretch, 2-Straight back, 3-Economy of Motion.). Best to go through it midway through your practice, so you can correct yourself while your still going at it.
6 - Rudiments to warm up. Rudiments in between stick control exercises. Rudiments in between drum set exercises. Rudiments in between playing along with the CD/radio. etc. etc. etc.
7 - Same #6, but replace "rudiments" with some of the cool things you extracted from going through the archives of advice from other drummers.
8 - End every practice session by playing something FUN, especially something your good at. Better to walk away feeling good.
Hi, I´m a drummer from Venezuela. I heard a good practicing tip from Simmon Phillips; it's good for coordination and dexterity and great for double bass players, too. All you have to do is 16th note paradiddles on the snare and 8th note paradiddles on the bass at the same time, first with the right hand and the beginning with the left, then inverted - do 8th note with your hands and 16ths with your feet. Something like this:
SD R-L-R-R-L-R-L-L-R-L-R-R-L-R-L-L- BD R----L-----R---R----L----R----L----L----
SD R----L----R----R----L----R----L----L---- BD R-L-R-R-L-R-L-L-R-L-R-R-L-R-L-L-
SD L-R-L-L-R-L-R-R-L-R-L-L-R-L-R-R- BD L----R----L----L----R----L----R----R----
SD L----R----L----L----R----L----R----R---- BD L-R-L-L-R-L-R-R-L-R-L-L-R-L-R-R-
Use a metronome, first slow, and when you master it add speed; this is extremely difficult - it took me 3 months do it fast.
1) Play in time signatures other than 4/4. Practicing in other times will feel strange at first, but will add a new dimension to your playing. Examples of odd time songs are Pink Floyd's "Money" (7/4, 6/4, and 4/4) and Tool's "Flood" (13/8). Odd eigth time signatures are patterns of straight 1/8s and 1/8 triplets all played the same speed. An example I like to play around with is a pattern of two bars of 7/8 and one bar of 11/8 that is mix of flam triplets and flam taps, all as 1/8 notes at the same speed. The pattern counted out is:
1231212 1231212 12312121212
Where all the accents are flams and spaces denote the bars.
Develop your own pattern like this, combining rudiments is great. After mastering it on the pad, experiment with it on the kit. When you have a cool groove, teach it to your bass player, develope a song.
2) Don't always play straight 1/8s on the ride or HH. One cool trick is when playing a 4/4 straight 1/8 grove, play a paradiddle between the ride or HH and snare on beats 3 and 4.
3) Get a hand drum. I like dumbeks and djembes because of the wide range sounds they can produce out of a single drum. Play it along with CDs, all styles (not just "ethnic" styles). Find a local drumming circle and jam with them. This will improve your time and rhythm, teach you to let the time breath with the group, let you interplay with other drummers, and teach you new grooves. These can all be brought back to the drum kit.
4) The entire band need not play in the same time signature. If 3/4 is being played by some band members and 4/4 is being played by others, everyone will be back on beat 1 after 12 beats, or 4 bars of 3/4 and 3 bars of 4/4. If the song has 2 bar phrases, then the pattern will have a 24 beat cycle.
Try this while playing to a CD. For a good example, listen to "Eulogy" by Tool.
WANT A ORIGINAL FUN TIP?
As most people know, drumming and percussion of all forms is based on Rhythm. Easy, right? I have talked to alot of drummers and I have scrolled all over the internet learning new techniques and practice tips, and there are only a few people who can practice rudiments everyday for a least a solid hour. So I figured I should discover my primal cave man instinct and apply it.
What am I talking about?
Just like I said... Drumming is rhythm and I know a subconcious way to improve your rhythm, ear, timing and will to take part in percussion growth..... Dancing.
I'm sure all of you don't go to square dances and all of you don't like the club scene, but every intrest has it's own style of dance. I used to hate dancing and I decided to stop being a wallflower and shake my rhythm on the floor. Listen.... Feel.... Move. Why get drunk at your table when you can grove your rhythm on the dance floor? Try getting involved and If you don't spend all your time in bed with the hottie you met at the club, I am sure you will Listen closer and you will not just think 1 2 3 and four you will feel it too!
I feel this tip better helps your already clustered mind. Work your body and ears because your brain can only do so much.
I'm a lazy drummer that just plays to popular rock bands limiting my posibilities. These are some things I can advise that came from my own experience. Never over-play fills and rolls when makin' up beats for a song, unless intentional ie. "Piggy" by Nine Inch Nails, cool song, eh? Don't over play physically to the point of injury, for any instrument actually, just play to better yourself. When trying to impress a friend with a drum solo, don't play the same thing over and over again, that's just a pattern repeated fast, man. Exercise both arms (play opposite of your hand), that's what Joey from Slipknot does live. Explore all kinds styles from local stuff like jazz and exotic stuff like mozambiuqe. It's all about balance, kids!! Mind you I haven't gotten around to any of these tips of my own, ah well.
raff boy (jabo)
YO! Get your weak hand (left for righties, right for lefties) into sh-ape! Here are some great excersises for that week a$$ hand: alright: get your weak hand, a metronome, and bust:
do a bar of four triples, accenting the one of each triplet
follow that bar with another bar of four triplets, accenting the one on the first two, and then the one and the three of the third triplet, followed by the 2 of the fourth triplet: start at 100 bpm and try and bust 160!!! once you get confident proceed to the next step:
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 ] 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 :]
alright, now that you are confident with that incorporate your stronger hand. (allthough if you keep doing this you'll have prime evenness) divide the triplets into sextuplets and follow the accents your weaker hand is playing with your stronger hand like this:
^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ 123456 123456 123456 123456]123456 123456 123456 123456:]
focus on using an economy of motion while you play these excersises: using a stroke for the accents, and letting the rebound play the rest. i've found this to be a great warmup as well as developing evenness in my hands. of course, apply this pattern around your kit, use it for your feet, etc. wanna talk drums? feel free to email me. peace
R.C. (Rhythm Controller)
I've been plying for 9 years and it is good to practice everyday on rudiments. I got that from a pro drummer. If you don't take time out to practice you'll never get anywere in the drumming world, and you'll also keep playing the same ole beat; take my advice.
this is weird, and u need a bass player. think up a totally stupid beat, one that doesn't make sense. then play it for a while until it comes automatically, then get the bass player to work out bassline, using the slap for the bass drum and the pluck for the snare (a god bass player should know that already). then jam on it a while, it may not make your technique or anything better but it helps loads with being able to work tgether with the rest of the ryhthym section.
I'm really ambitious about getting my left hand as fast or faster as my right. A couple of months ago I attended a drum clinic featuring Ed Shaugnessy. I learned a great, simple exercise from him. It's simply sixteenth notes, playing 1 beat of the measure with 1 hand, then alternating. left hand: 1e+a right hand: 2e+a left:3e+a right:4e+a. It's best to start with your weaker hand.
My 2 favorite things to practice and make sure i have at an optimal level are rolls and bass drum technique. When it comes to rolls, i like to distinguish a specific pattern and go over it slow, gradually speed up, and as i speed up it stays clean and not choppy as is would if i just tried to go right at it at a fast speed, this helps maintain control and ability to move back and forth from varying speeds. Now when it comes to bass drum i do the same thing as i do with the rolls. Now it is a bit harder because in most cases people are better with their hands then feet, but after enough practice, u become very well-rounded.
I've been playing since about '95 and I've found that if you want alot of speed, practicing your rudiments on a feather pillow will help significantly. This will force you to have to lift your arm instead of it bouncing off a drum head or a practice pad. Also, lift weights to build up your muscles. This will help you if you play for extensive periods of time. Try to stay in shape as well because drumming is a physical activity.
I recently got a DW 7000 double bass drum pedal for my kit. If you have a double kick pedal just dont get frustrated when you cant get that steady sixtenth note pattern. It will come with lots of practice. Also dont over use your privelage of being able to kick those easy triplets. Remember the double kick pedal is an add on,not the main thing...so use it sparingly. This is my best advice for a beggining "double basser."
I have been playing most of my life like most of you. Something I did late in life was learn to read now Im kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. To the young drummers... Learn to read. It changes everything. You may think you have talent. Put it to the test.
Also I play a lot of black gospel, funk, upbeat, extremely fun to play type music. Way to often I hear drummers trying to steal the show. Play with the music not at it.
Here's a great tip for improving your single-stroke roll!
Play through a single bar of sixteenth notes. The first pass through on the 4th 16th note of beat 4 play 2 thirty-second notes (remember - single alternate stroke!). The second time through play 4 thirty-second notes (the 3rd and 4th 16th notes of beat 4). Each consecutive pass, you repeat this process until your playing an entire bar of 32nd notes. Then work in reverse; ie. drop the last two 32nd notes and play a 16th note until you're back to a bar of 16th notes.
It's difficult to explain without notating it - but it works! The exercise was shown to me originally with 2 bars of 16th notes, but start out with 1 and work up to 2 bars - it's less frustrating! The important thing to remember is to constantly alternate your sticking (RLRL, or LRLR -depending on which you decide to lead with). Also, start out slow. Do not play accents, and don't play louder or faster on the 32nd notes. Keep the metronome playing 1/4 notes and strive to be as precise as possible.
Try it with the feet as well. If you really wanna humble yourself, instead of alternating 32nd notes try alternating flams. Try it with triplets, try it with....don't get me started - enjoy!