How To Practice The Drums

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Becoming a proficient drummer takes a lot of commitment, diligence and patience. It requires many years of focused practice along with regular contact with great music and great musicians.

Having the self discipline to practice regularly is the only way you will improve as a drummer. Sadly, not many players are prepared to make this commitment and fail to reach their true drumming potential. For those who are willing to make the journey here are some tips that will speed up your learning curve and make practicing the drums a fun experience instead of a chore.

Make Time to Practice and Time to Play

One of the biggest errors a drummer can make is failing to make time for practice as well as time to jam. Believe it or not, there is a big difference here. Practice time is a chance to work on your technique, stick control, interdependence, beats and other things you want to master. Jam time is a chance to apply your newly learned skills to real applications, let loose and have some fun. Both are essential so you should structure your practice time to give an equal amount amount to each.

Practice with a Metronome

This might be obvious but many drummers still don’t do it. Practicing with a metronome is a must! We are drummers; our duty is to keep the band on time. If we cannot even play a solid drum beat or roll on time, then how are we supposed to lead a band? Regular practice with a metronome will greatly enhance your timing and help you to feel the subdivisions better than any other practice aid. I don’t know any top drummer who hasn’t spent time with a metronome.

Practice With Music

Metronomes are great for technical development and improving your inner clock but they just can’t replace actual music. Most of your practice time should be spent playing along with songs in different styles, tempos, and feels that really push your playing to the next level. Don’t always stick to what you know because you will never get any better. Try new and challenging pieces and try doing your technical exercises along with music as well. You will learn how they fit together and you will greatly improve your musicianship.

Listen To And Play A Wide Variety Of Great Music

Listen to all kinds of music from Rock and R&B to Latin and Jazz. You will internalize the rhythms, the attitude and the language of ‘music’ which is what will make you a great musician and not just a drummer. If you have a well developed vocabulary then you will be able to express yourself fully and interact well with other musicians as well as the audience. You may just want to be a punk drummer but you should still take ideas from other styles and make them your own. It’ll spruce up your playing and make you a more well rounded player.

Set Goals And Challenge Yourself

Most drummers fail to set goals for their practice sessions and that’s why they never progress. Simple goals and daily challenges are the spark you need to keep moving forward and stay excited about your practice routine. If you go into a practice session with no goals, then you will have no drive to learn anything! Start by setting some goals for your rudiments, for example, to play a clean double stroke roll at 180 bpm. When you reach that goal set it to 190bpm. This gives you a great ‘ladder to climb’ and you get a little buzz every time you hit one of your targets.

Have Fun No Matter What

This may all sound a little serious so you should never forget why you play – to have fun! No matter what you are working on keep it light hearted and find ways to inject a little more excitement. If you are bored with rudiments put on your favorite track and practice along to that – single stroke rolls are much more fun when you’ve got a sweet bass line in your years.

Good luck with your drumming and I’ll see you on the stage!

Titch Davidson is the co-author of TheDrumNinja.com, a drumming blog that will teach you how to play the coolest drum beats, drum licks, drum solo’s and more. Want to play drums like a pro? TheDrumNinja.com will get you there step-by-step … and you don’t have to spend a penny on lessons!

Click here: Online Drum Lessons

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