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Practice Tips Archive #9

   Lose the toms! Practice with just a kick, snare, ride, and hi hat, and you'll find a new understanding of the groove. I've taken this so far as to remove all toms from my kit permanently, but I am a groove-worshipping drummer, so there you have it. Bandmates love it, by the way...Peace, KS

   When practicing turn on some music and plug headphones into the player. Play along with the music and record yourself at the same time. After you finished take the recording and the music you were listening to and compare. You can then begin to add your own fills and rudiments in to make the song sound better. This will develop you own unique style.

   Gregg Bissonette used this analogy at a clinic and I found it very helpful. He studied at North Texas State, and his very Texan teacher told him, "Your ride cymbal is like the T-Bone steak. The kick, snare and toms are like different spices. So don't ruin the flavour of the meat with too much spice." Jazz is felt on beats 2 and 4. The left foot (hi-hat) needs to play on those beats in order to make the music swing. The ride cymbal pattern seems relatively easy, but masters like Tony Williams would sit for hours with just a ride cymbal, perfecting their swing. A teacher of mine used to put on Oscar Peterson records and make me sit with just a ride cymbal and play quarter notes to the whole thing. Jazz masters like Mel Lewis and Ed Thigpen didn't get hired for their chops (though they had them in spades) but for their uncompromising, heavy swing. And it all happens in the ride cymbal. So my recommendation is to listen to as much jazz as you can (live and recorded), find a teacher who is willing to work with you, and really learn how to swing with your ride cymbal and hit hats. If you can lay down a swing beat with just ride cymbal, hi hats and a cross stick on 4 and make the music really cook, you will get hired far sooner than the drummer who ruins the T-Bone with too much spice.


   Try using a heavier stick for practice and warm up than for the actual gig.  I use the Johnny Rabb 5B practice pro all the time.  For band practice and gigs I use a Vic Firth 5A with tips.  The 5A's feel pretty darn light and easy to handle at crunch time.  The only set back is that I tend to break a lot of sticks since I'm hitting harder to compensate for the weight difference.  It works for me though.

   okay... lets see if i help or hinder you.

   i love punk rock. period. i love Jesus Christ. period. put the two together. OH YES!

   if you use a double pedal... take off the slave unit. now, play your tradtional punk beat with one foot. you dont have the slave pedal to mess you up... plus your hi-hats are closer, which means you can hit your snare harder.

   to play the trad. punk with one pedal: as hard as you can hit the pedal with the ball of your foot and toes. then rock your foot back and forth. it should be this: ball---ball-heel/ball---ball...etc.
hit your snare after each single hit.

   set your snare up a little higher and level it so you can play rim shots and show those guitar players you are louder than they are! mmmmwwwaaahhhhaaaa!

   put both crash cymbals in front of your set over top your toms. and take off the middle tom. move you ride over top your bass drum where the 2nd tom used to be.

   this is how i play. but with everything really high.

   and use your toms alot... learn jazz its helps.

   well, and then pray before you play. God can work wonders with someone just not getting it. He helped me, and thats why i play. for Jesus.

   Young Life of williamsport represent.! X

   Try to re-arrange your set as different (but still comfortable to play on) than it usually is. It really gives you a lot of ideas for new beats, fills and more. Just try it! I always do that when I am alone in my bands rehearsal place.

   Nothing feels better than to FEEL what you're doin'. Whether its playing in a gig, in a concert or just practicin' solo. What I meant was, if you love playin' drums, be an absolute drum (and/or percussion) fanatic. Better still, be a musical fanatic. Follow the tips seen here. They're all for our good to help us become better players.

   Not many people are selected to play drums. Make use of this chance to make a different beat.

   Hey, for all you guys that want to practice on your kit with no noise, it has worked pretty good for me to buy one mousepad for each tom (floor tom included) and use that as a silencer instead of buying DrumKit Silencer for about 10 dollars each! Drum on!

   Don't just practice practicing. Practice playing. Play along with a tape or cd. Or play along with a song in your head. Be creative. Be expressive. Listed to the other instruments and be a part of what they are doing. We often times practice more than we play and wind up practicing when we play out. Not good. The most important aspect of performance is not doing your most intricate playing, but playing what is most appropriate for the piece of music. Get ready!!

   When you wake up and have nothing to do, when you go to bed but can't sleep, when you listen to cd's... When watching TV... WheN DoIn noThInG needing mental effort, take a heavy drumstick and hit in the air as fast as possible with you weak hand... It doesn't matter if you get tired, keep it up until you can't move your hand. Work with the wrist, and c'ya in a month.

   Trendy Drumming.  As a serious musician this is something I really have a problem with.  I'm not talking musical styles at all so don't jump my back.  I think every drummer should be well rounded and be able to play a variety of styles.  What I mean by trendy drumming is the guy who sees a band on MTV and thinks that if he rearranges his set like him that he will be able to play like him.  Wrong!!!  Being able to play every style of music doesn't mean being able to play every set-up possible.  However, since I am an educated drummer I realize that sometimes when you gig you are forced to play someone else's equipment, and that is a problem drummers face that guitar players don't.  O.k. now that I got all of that out of the way here is my tip.  Apply common sense to your set-up.  Set-up for play ability not look ability.  If you look at your snare you will notice that there is a particular area that has the most hits and wears out first.  There is a reason for that.  You have a sweet spot that you will naturally hit for every voice of the drum set.  Practice with your eyes closed.  If you notice your missing something like a cymbal or tom tom, then move it, re-arrange it.  Put it where you can hit it, then play on it.  Trust me you will notice the difference.  Then once your comfortable with your own set-up.  Remember it and use it.  Now that your comfortable with your set what about gigging on someone else's set?  Glad you asked...  You've already got your perfect set-up that your comfortable with.  You know where you like your snare, hi-hat, and ride.  When you gig, rearrange what you can to your style.  The owner of the set might complain but he will get over it.  Besides, you might show him a thing or two that he didn't think about.

   So many ideas rolling around in my head.  Where do I start?  First, let me start by saying that this is an outstanding web site. Upon searching the tip section I found some excellent tips from what sound like excellent drummers and I just wanted to pass a little insight as to what has worked for me over my 17 years of set drumming.  Someone once told me that the key to being a good drummer is not to limit yourself to just the drums.  My first reaction was what a weirdo.  At the time I had been playing the drums for 10 years and had learned to match what I thought was chop for chop with some of the best, in my opinion.  i.e.. Dave Weckle, Billy Cobham, Dave Chambers to name a few.  However, when I set out to prove this individual wrong it was in fact I who was mistaken.  Let's face it if your like me you search for perfection musically in whatever you do.  What better way to perfect your rhythmical skills than to pick-up and learn the bass guitar and get a feel for what a bass player does.  If you want to be a colorful drummer learn the guitar, keyboard, or whatever keeps the melody.  Colorful drummer!!! Now there is a whole concept in itself.

   To get familiar with your kit close your eyes; when you jam you'll see - you will get out of the habit of looking before hitting the drum.

   This tip goes out to all amateur drummers, The only tip that I can provide for anyone (because I'm only an amateur drummer, and I'm only 16) but the tip is that you should never stop practicing, always keep trying, never stop, never get discouraged, don't back down from anything that seems intimidating because remember, it's only music... it's not life or death! that is something that I have come to realize, so just take your time and enjoy what you play, or else there's no point because it's supposed to be fun!


   The practice tip I read on this site from a venezuelan drummer about playing the paradiddle with the hands as 16th notes and under this the paradiddle half-time as 8th notes with the feet is really awesome!!!!!
Instead of bringing this to speed, I practice it to slow songs on the radio, following this system:

  1. hands = paradiddle #1, feet all paradiddles from #1 to #4.
  2. hands = paradiddle #2, feet all paradiddles from #1 to #4.
  3. hands = paradiddle #3, feet all paradiddles from #1 to #4.
  4. hands = paradiddle #4, feet all paradiddles from #1 to #4.

   So I have  all possible combinations, and it makes cool patterns for slow songs!!! When you play the right hand on the hi-hat, you will create open-hi-hat-strokes that fall in really odd places.

   I have been playing for 34 years and have been playing in the Detroit area with some excellent jazz musicians for several years. I want to share one tip that I think will change your playing but almost anything that involves skill. The most critical thing to remember when learning something new is to RELAX.

   A very important musical tip: lay your sticks down and try singing everything you practice, from snare drum exercises to two, three, and four way independent voicings. Speaking the language is our melody!

   I recommend getting the CD "Turn it Up and Lay it Down" by the company 'Rhythm Tech'. They make a bunch of drum accessories. But the CD has 24 songs that are just bass loops to play along with in every music style you can think of. They're each about 3 minutes long, or you can just stick it on 'repeat' until you get it down. Anyway, it really helps you with fills, playing different styles, and just your overall playing ability.

   I just thought of this as I was writing my other suggestion. This is strictly advice for the beginner.
As I said, beginning drummers usually learn by mimicking. I in fact did this. There was a point when I knew how to play, but I would get discouraged because my sound didn't sound like the cd's I played. Don't let this fool you newbies. You are playing. If you are not happy with the sound, experiment with different tunings and heads, etc.

   Drumming isn't about playing the newest Metallica song. It's about experimentation and creating a sound and voice that is your own.

   By no means am I a phenomenal drummer, but I do consider myself a novice. Everyone starts out listening to the their favorite bands and mimicking beats. This is a great way to start out, but not the way to become a drummer. Listening to other drummers helps you pick up on some of the basics and the trademarks that they have.

   So do that for a little while, then turn the music off. By now you should have some beats banging around in your head. My advice would be to take some song you have heard, learn a part of it, play it, then start inventing around that beat or beats you have learned.

   Experiment with speeds and other voices. In no time you'll be coming up with some insane stuff.

   Practice, Rudiments, Practice, Rudiments.

   One must first learn the basic such as parriddles (doubles and triplets). Hum a complicated rhythm and then try to right it out. I promise you it will be easier to play. I like doing flam patterns using flam taps and swiss flams as the accented notes. This involves working out sticking patterns that are easier for me to write on staff paper than here now. But, for example, consider the pattern dotted eighth, sixteenth tied to eighth, eighth notes.

   Work like mad at your rudiments, fills, beats, etc. until you hit dead rock. You know, when you can't get any further and you're getting frustrated then STOP! Go away, get a drink and listen to your favorite drummer on CD or even better watch him/her on video and remind yourself why you're working so hard! Then go back to your kit and start again 5 bpm slower than you were doing it before and you will be rejuvenated and ready to give that double stroke triplet roll on your double pedal hell!!

   When I practice, I usually start out simple: rudiments and other basics. I then gradually work up to crazy speeds and massive fills. By building up in difficulty in your practicing, you're already loose and warmed up when you hit the hard stuff; but when you start out with the hard stuff, like really fast speeds and more complex and complicated grooves, you can get burned out pretty quickly.

   Usually to start out, I do what I like to call the "time exercise." Playing on the snare in 4/4 time, I work my way up: starting at whole notes and going straight into half notes without stopping. Then quarter notes, quarter note triplets, eighth notes, eight note triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets, and finally thirty-second notes, then do the whole thing backwards. Using a metranome greatly enhances this drill. Start out with a slow tempo, like 80-90 bpm, and build up to a good solid speed: somewhere around 132-140 bpm.

   This exercise will help you to tighten up your chops and make them very pronounced and tight, and will also help you to move in and out of, say, sixteenth notes and sixteenth note triplets more easily, making your drumming varied and very fluid.

   Here's a tip to improve your speed. Before you play, for warm ups, practice on a soft surface. Like a pillow. Whatever is handy. Do this before you play and your speed will improve when you are playing. Try it!!!

   If you have been playing for a while but you still have problems getting into the groove, in our words you just get into the groove and the gigg is over..ever happen to you ..try this ...before playing warm up (air play 10 -15 min's). I use a heavy sticks to loosen my arms, hands and a few knee bends, tip toe lifts, I do this everytime before pratice/and before a gigg now and Im loose as a goose and ready to play........hope this helps.

   um g'day, im a real dumb drummer and am all self taught, (only started learning good stuff once i got onto this site) but ive found out a few cool things while trying to go off. um, instead of doing your standard practice rudiments 20 times or whatever, do them for 30 or until your arms fall off then come back five mins later after you've done some rudiments on your double kick pedals, and your arms will fling hella fast around your kit, then do more of all those good things. so yeha, happy smackin out.

o also , doing rudiments between your kick an snare and all other little gadgets you got is good too.

   Okay, so you wanna be a good drummer? So do I, and in order to be a good drummer you need to be able to play ALL styles of music.

   If your like me, and you like punk music, don't just learn "punk drums". Download (if you can find any) some good blues, rock, punk, jazz, funk etc songs and burn yourself a CD!

   Take this CD, put it in a disc man, listen to the songs (it helps to know them beforehand) and learn the beats!

   This helps you learn all different styles, and allows you to incorporate them into YOUR style.


   After spending some time reading the different practice tips listed in this archive, I feel compelled to offer my experience, and then my opinion. I started playing the drums when I was 2 years old, and am now 19. Up until I was 16, my daily practice routine consisted of playing along to cassettes and cd's, " for fun". My attitude was, "I just play, I don't care what a double paradiddle is, or how to play in 21/16, I play for me". However, when I was 16, I met a drummer who had played for fewer years than I had, yet he was far better than I was in every way. Through the course of hanging around him and constantly asking questions, I found out about rudiments, time signatures, Stick Control, double bass, technique, practicing, and more. I incorporated these things into my own practice sessions, and began practicing for longer periods of time. As a result, I have improved more as a drummer and musician in the last 3 years than I did in the previous 14 combined. I found that the more I keep a balanced approach, the more I improve. I still play along to music and play for fun, but I also work daily on rudiments, developing good technique, reading notation, timekeeping, etc. Keep in mind that technique is a means to an end, and that end is to express what your are hearing in your heart accurately with your hands and feet. The best way to approach drum practice is to stay balanced, don't over-focus on any portion of drumming, including just having fun. Too many drummers either focus on nothing but technique and perfection, or they shun rudiments and technique altogether and just "play whay they feel". If you want to be a really great drummer, you have to blend those two mindsets together. Every practice session should include elements that focus on both of those areas. Learn to love practice, because the real fun begins when you see yourself improve consistently. Remember, nothing worth achieving ever comes easy!

   Being that we are animals operating on electrical impulses, the more we use these connections the stronger, faster, and less conscious they become. Almost automatic. Your limbs just know what to do, this frees your conscious mind for invention of new patterns and fills within the confines of the base pattern you are playing. Try all of your rudiments with your feet, actually play paradidlles, doubles, tripilets, and so on with your feet.

   I have not been drumming for very long (about 1 1/2 years), and I'm still having some trouble with some fundamentals, but I have found something that helps: videotaping yourself while playing. When you can actually see your mistakes, it is easier to correct them. With one person, you will just have to set the camera somewhere and leave it on record, but if you have a friend or some friends around, they can move the camera around the kit as you play. Once you finish, relax and watch yourself play a few times. Using this technique, you can correct even the most minute problems in your drumming.

   Let me know if this works for you. It does for me!

   I've recently started playing the drums again after not having touched it for 5 years! and boy am i rusty!! Not only that, I didn't even know 90% of the songs my band was playing, so I've been cramming every type of music I could get my hands on, just listening and absorbing different beats, grooves, rhythm and what not. I realized, listening to a piece and playing "mind notes" on your head expands your creativity and you'll come up with some amazing rolls, fills, and styles. Do this whenever there's a chance; in your car, waiting on line, watching tv etc... and don't use a drum stick, cause then you'll be more focused on if you're hitting the right notes or not. I guess you can call this the "silent jam session." The key is to let your mind roam with other possibilities. IMAGINE!

   Greetings! One tip I would like to share with you is an exercise that will give you power, speed and control for your foot. Try taping a weight on the beater of your bass drum pedal. I used two double AA batteries taped to the beater. I practiced singles, doubles, triplets and different combinations with a metronome slowly first up to speed. Your muscles will get a workout with this exercice. After practicing, remove the taped weight and you'll be surprised at the way the beater feels. It is almost weghtless. You can do almost anything with it. I practiced it for a time and I can now do simple double bass patterns like rapid singles with just a single foot. Try it; it's free.

   Please e-mail me. I need drummer friends out there to share some insights, practice tips and stories that Ican share with.

   Your drummer brother.

   The Lord designed you, giving you 3 important things: Your muscles, your heart, and your brain.

  1. Hardrock, Metal etc. stands for power and strenght.
  2. Blues, Country, R&B, Salsa etc. stands for the heart.
  3. Jazz is for the brain, it also stands for "Lateral Thinking", (which is the art of "not thinking logical," and by this creating better results than logical thinking people do).

   My tip: : Don`t use just one of these 3 gifts. Use them all! !!! Don´t rate any music by genre, lifestile or color, just rate it by this old but very true phrase: "It don´t mean a thing, if it ain´t got that swing". Keep drumming!

   After playin for 6 months I discovered that keeping GREAT time is the most important aspect of drumming (at least in the arena that I play in). I used to spend hours a day practicing new grooves with more and more difficult patterns, branching out from rock/funk to other types of music, and in practice I had an aweseme time showing off to myself and others. Then I started playing gigs. I dicovered that my time sucked. I could play the most difficult grooves, but I kept falling in and out of time. My band mates would just look at me with that....."what happened to you?" look. What I've come to learn and practice is that in the type of music I play (rock/funk) there are about 20 basic grooves that sounds good almost all the time, and if you can play those consistently with fills at ANY speed, then you're gonna make it. So, after all that babble here's my tip -

   Whether you're starting out or have been playing for awhile, take a good chunk of time (preferrably every practice session) and make sure you can play your 20 favorite/useful grooves at ANY speed (With a metronome or click track). The fun comes when you know you can lay a beat down, add awesome fills, and booya come right back into the groove without even thinking. When you can do this....then move on to more difficult patterns. Don't get the order of that mixed up like I did!

   keep da metronome clicking ,practice and practice.

   i love double stroke roll,single too.

   so,u must love it 2.

   THIS works, grab a cd...any one as long as it is kinda fast, take the rudiments u have trouble with, now u ready? practice to the tempo of your cd, keep doing it all over again until you drop on the floor, do it for a week, and GURANTEED you will have better chops! if you try this, email me and tell me what is what like for you?

   "Play every note as if it were your last."

   Here's an easy practice tip: get a pair of drumsticks (at the least) and start varying different speeds, rhythms, make them up as you go. Then get a tape full of easy 80's BS and do your rhythms to them. Try to match pitch, style, and dynamics. Easy as that.

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