Drummer Group Practice suggestions?


Silver Member
Hi everyone,

could you some suggestions on group practicing. Once a week 4 of us get together and have a practice pad and drumset sesssion for couple of hours. Since my buddy owns a drumshop, we have plenty of drumsets setup.

I have the pad workout pretty much under control. Most of these guys never really focused on rudiments and hand development. They certainly don;t like playing to the metronome, but getting better at it. But certainly know their way around the kit. they call me "Rudiment Ron" ... too funny...

Other than applying rudiments to the kit, and other suggestions would be great.

Another idea I just thought of is maybe applying stick control to the set?

Otherwise it's chaos......


Platinum Member
A few ideas:

1. Play time together, trying to lock in the same EXACT groove as tightly as possible. This is a lesson in listening, discipline and musical empathy. Just get deep into the sound and power of playing in unison with other drummers/musicians. If it were me, I'd up the stakes: the first player to embellish on the groove buys the first round at the pub.

2. Same as above but take turns improvising/soloing with the groove one at a time. Learning to solo can be made a lot easier when you have the safety net of comfortable time playing supporting you. Everyone else in the band gets this, why not us?

3. Split a groove into its constituent parts so that everyone is playing one instrument or element of the groove. I.e. One person plays BD, another SD, another the HH, or you could even have two people playing opposite notes on the HH so that one person plays the 1/4s (1,2,3,4) and another the 1/8s (ands). And/or try one player playing the backbeats on the SD while another plays the ghosts. Can you work together to make it groove like one player? This is great for listening and responding and really focussing on the timing of different elements that make a groove. It's sort of the opposite process of what we do when we take Afro-Cuban or Brazilian ensemble rhythms and play them on the drum set. Team work.

4. Choose a rhythm, a sticking or a hand/foot combination and have each player come up with and/or demonstrate their own way to apply it. Share and exchange your ideas and make sure to try everyone else's ideas.

5. Imagine you have a grid of 8th notes. The first player plays a note anywhere on the drums on beat 1 and leaves the rest of the bar as rest. Then, without dropping the time, the second drummer plays the same note on beat one as the previous drummer and adds a note on the AND of 1 and leaves the rest of the bar as rest. Keep going around until you've filled the whole bar, then pass the bar around the circle without gaps or changing the tempo. You can set rules like "No unisons" so the whole bar would be a linear pattern. I've never tried this but you could then try deconstructing the groove in reverse so that each player would play one less note than the last until you're back to no notes.

6. A nice exercise that works for two drummers but could probably be applied to more is to take a groove and break each bar into two halves and have each drummer play one half so that Drummer A would play beats 1 and 2 and Drummer B would play beats 3 and 4. This can be made more challenging and interesting if you choose a two bar (or longer) pattern to start with. (You can see how you could apply this to 4 drummers). Once you get an agreed-upon groove cooking this way, each player can start to embellish on their part. It's a really great way to come up with new groove ideas as other people will tend to hear the "call and response" within a one bar groove differently and play different rhythms. Try to make the time flow from one bar to the next like it was one player. Try to imitate each others' balance of instrument volume and style OR deliberately play it with your own balance or timbre choices so you can hear how the same groove can be played a lot of ways. Borrow and steal!

7. Call and response. There a bunch of ways to do this:

A) One drummer plays a rhythm and all the other drummers have to play it back verbatim as an ensemble.
B) One drummer plays a rhythm and each other drummer takes turns playing it back verbatim.
C) One drummer plays a rhythm and each other drummer takes turns playing a response which uses the same rhythm but in different orchestration.
D) One drummer plays a rhythm and each other drummer takes turns playing a response of their choosing.

The last one is very similar to 4. and is great for getting new ideas for improvisation as, once again, other drummers will tend to think of responses that you wouldn't. Borrow and steal!
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