Practicing Drums – 4 Things to Do in Every Drum Practice
If you want to increase your level of drumming fast, you obviously need time for practicing drums as regularly as possible.
Here’s a fact: It’s better to be practicing for 5-20 minutes everyday than one or two hours on just one day per week. The key is getting into a habit of quick, regular practice sessions. It’s the repetition of these short drum practice sessions that will propel your drumming to new levels rather than the infrequent, marathon sessions.
So, be encouraged if you feel like you don’t have enough time for practicing. Just carve out 5-20 minutes three, four, or more days per week! That’s all. Once you do that, you can get down to business.
Here’s four things you should include in every one of your short practice sessions…
1. Practice two or three drum fills that you have heard and really liked.
Practicing by doing these drum fills over and over and trying not to stray from them by going off on something else will go a long way in your development. The temptation to stray is definitely there because practicing the same drum fills over and over can get boring. Stay focused until this part of your practice time is through!
2. Work on memorizing one of your favorite songs.
It’s amazing to me why so many drummers do not do this. Maybe they think they are copying someone else’s style and they feel guilty, I don’t know. What I do know is, practicing by memorizing your favorite songs is a great tool that most drummers should utilize for three reasons…
a) it helps you to continue to be a good time keeper,
b) it helps you to get a feel for where to put fills and where not to put them in your own songs,
c) and it’s just plain fun.
3. Practice with your drum metronome.
This part of your practice is the most intense and requires the most discipline simply because it tends to not be much fun. Even though it may not be much fun, it is definitely necessary and shouldn’t be left out!
Set your metronome to 60 beats per minute and play your bass drum to it. Then add the hi-hat by alternating three beats per bass drum beat, then four, and then six. After practicing that at 60 beats per minute, increase your metronome to 80 beats and do the same thing, then again at 100.
Practicing along with a metronome will improve your time keeping dramatically.
One thing that helps you get past the unpleasantness of using a metronome is to do this exercise first and get it over with. But, whether you choose to do it first or not, just do it!
4. Work on your known weaknesses.
Whether you feel your left hand is holding you back, or your left leg is a problem, get them up to speed with everything else so your whole body functions as one.
For example… if you’re right handed practice riding your hi-hat with your left hand for a while. Also, practice crashing your cymbals with your left hand. If you have a double bass drum set or a double kick pedal invest some time just using your weak foot.
The bottom line…
When you organize your drum practice by breaking things down into small bite sized pieces it becomes do-able and fun. Just remember, “all or nothing” thinking leads to failure! Simply carve out 5-20 minutes three, four, or more days per week.
Here’s a bonus tip, if you find it difficult to find enough time to practice your drums doing all four things I have mentioned in this article in any one session, split them up by alternating two of them in alternate sessions.