How long does it take to reach your drumming potential?

freebirdgdw

Silver Member
I ask because I realised something today. I normally practice for around two hours most days of the week and I've noticed that it takes me about 30 minutes to 'warm up'. When I first sit at my kit my movements aren't as precise or as powerful, I don't have as much energy, my double bass isn't up to its full speed, my fills don't flow quite as well, etc. After breaking loose for a bit I reach my drumming potential and I have a lot more fluidity about my playing.

I'm not currently in a band but hoping to in the next couple of months so what do I dod if I play live? I'm sure not many small pubs and clubs have warm up kits for me to use. I know there are practice pads but it's not the same as warming up on a kit. I know people will say improve your playing etc but its not that (well there's always room for improvement) it's more getting into the 'zone' if you know what I mean.

Anyone else have this problem?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Sometimes I slot straight in. Sometimes I don't quite get there at all. Sometimes it takes a while to warm up. Sometimes I get into a groove and lose it. Last gig I found my mojo in the second song of the second set.

Sportspeople have long looked for ways to get right into the zone and stay there throughout each match. Even with all the training and sports psychologists etc some days will be better than others.

I've never been to a gig where I could play on the kit for longer than is required for the soundcheck. If I tried someone would lynch me. In an ideal world all drummers would have their own portable soundproof bubble in which they could play to their heart's content :)
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Generally, this is something that you learn from having to do it. When you gig regularly, you don't have the luxury of taking a half hour to get warm, unless you use a pad. Sometimes, when there are problems with sound gear, or when there is traffic that causes you to be seriously late, you don't even have time to do that. So, you play, and play well, from the first note.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I think there's two elements to this. Warming up mentally & warming up physically. The physical warm up is easy enough to achieve if you have the luxury of a practice kit in your dressing room!! Ha ha. Seriously, I usually just sit somewhere out of the way and "air drum" the first couple of numbers about 30 mins before the gig. That gets my muscles to relax & stretch plus hones my timing so I don't rush the first track. The mental preparation is more difficult to achieve. My way of doing it is to deliberately NOT mentally prepare. I'll just talk to someone (preferably not a band member) or distract myself in some other way. Having a laugh about something is really useful. During band rehearsal, I normally get up to speed about half an hour before the end, so I recognise the problem you're referring to.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
at a typical show there's usually no time to warm up because you have to move in your gear and set it up, sometimes at warp speed because you're going on between two other bands and you only have a fixed amount of time for your set. there are people all over the place distracting you. usually you just have to get up there and play. it typically takes me about 3 songs to get fully warmed up and by that time i'm loose and relaxed and calmed down enough to get through the rest of the show.
 

Concrete Pete

Senior Member
Hey Crew,

I never, ever go to a paying gig without jammin' on the drums for AT LEAST 30-45 minutes first. Even if it's a couple hours ahead of gig time, I never go in "cold", as I never wanna show up without being gig-ready. Even if I have to take off work early, (I'm self-employed) I still do it. Maybe because I'm a "geezer" (52 Y.O.) or maybe because I just get really concerned about delivering my best for each gig.

Either way, showing up "cold" isn't what I do if I wanna shine.

Cheers,
C. P.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
On a side note, Remo has something called "Practice Putty." It's like Silly Putty, only thicker. You can get it for like $3 a container, if not a little less. I keep some in each of my stick bags, and one in my car, too. You basically pull it out, then stick it on a table and roll it out into a practice pad. It's nice, because you don't have to carry a full pad to a gig or whatever.

I really love it for pre-gig warm-ups, and even just for when you have to pack lightly to go out of town, on a gig, whatever, and don't want to take a full Real Feel or whatever.
 

Dedworx

Senior Member
i havent been able to warm up before a gig in years-mostly due to things out of my hands. i probably should make more of an effort but im fortunate(in terms of intensity on the body) to not be playing any really loud, really heavy, or really fast music at the moment. because of that im usually able to feel good by the second song in terms of "warmed up".

soundchecks are usually pretty limited except when you're with the headline act. those times we've been able to run a few songs but i guess that doesnt overall help as your actual slot is hours later.

thomas lang said on one of the MD festivals he doesnt warm up because he comes out and plays big motions. so the absolute need could differ depending on the music?
 

Curly

Junior Member
Hey Crew,

I never, ever go to a paying gig without jammin' on the drums for AT LEAST 30-45 minutes first. Even if it's a couple hours ahead of gig time, I never go in "cold", as I never wanna show up without being gig-ready. Even if I have to take off work early, (I'm self-employed) I still do it. Maybe because I'm a "geezer" (52 Y.O.) or maybe because I just get really concerned about delivering my best for each gig.

Either way, showing up "cold" isn't what I do if I wanna shine.

Cheers,
C. P.
I am impressed........ Good show mate. Well done.

Now back to the practice Pad. Curly
 
Its good to hit up a practice pad for 5-10 minutes (or until you get bored) lol..I think of music that I've been listening to recently..figure out the parts on the pad..a few arm stretches are essential. In a perfect world, I would love to spend time laying down grooves before a show. Reality tells me I simply dont have time. I'm very comfortable with the players in my band and vice versa..We pretty much know what to expect from one another.
 
C

Christ-Hammer

Guest
Even so, just by warming up you are still progressing sub-consciously. Maybe you don't realize it, but when you warm up it is actually refreshing everything that your mind and body know how to do and it allows you to practice more effectively and creatively. When I play and I am not warmed up I just feel dull and I feel like I am not going to be very productive so I always make sure to warm up cause when i do I feel like I can do so much more. The way I do it is warm up and then take a break believe it or not, then after the break i get to writing music with my band and it works wonders compared to any other approach I have tried. Tak like a 30 minute to an hour break after warming up and then you should be good to go for hours.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
This is from an old post of mine but it applies. This is what I work on to get into the zone faster.

If I play 4 or 5 times a week, then I will usually spend about half of my time on pocket and groove. Since you like to play along to records (me too) I have some suggestions for music to listen to and play along with that will help you stretch it out and fall into that pocket.

Set up your kit with just the bass, snare, hats and one ride and one crash. If you don't want to strip away the rest of your kit then put towels over the toms. The idea is to create an environment that feels overly simplified so you can feel secure with fewer sounds.

These albums have some great mid-tempo songs that hold a wide and deep pocket for 4 and 5 minutes.

John Mayer's Continuum - Great Steve Jordan and J.J. Johnson grooves
Natalie Merchant's Tiger Lilly
Joss Stone - Any Album
Johnny Lang's Wander This World
James Taylor Greatest Hits - Lots of great Gadd grooves

Concentrate on playing the song all the way through with no fills and stay vigilant because after a half an hour of hearing the few fills in the songs you will feel the urge to play in the empty space but don't do it. This is a lot harder than it sounds.

At some point, you will get a very surreal feeling that the music has become almost painfully slow and the empty space in the groove will just open up and become obvious. Work on practicing enough so that you get to this "pocket zone" earlier and earlier in your practice sessions. In a few weeks this regimen will seem boring and repetitive but the control over your prescence in the groove will arrive earlier and earlier.

I spend 6 to 10 hours a week on this and one of the biggest benefits is that I can get into the zone in usually in a minute or so. Rehearsals and gigs start off with a much better vibe because everybody can sponge off of your pocket. A drummer I know taught me this and that even when you are practicing by yourself you should treat these pocket sessions with a relaxed but serious demeanor like you might if you were performing. This vibe will rub off on others that you play with and they will immediately go to that spot you're in...

... deep in the pocket.

I hope this helps you.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Set up your kit with just the bass, snare, hats and one ride and one crash. If you don't want to strip away the rest of your kit then put towels over the toms. The idea is to create an environment that feels overly simplified so you can feel secure with fewer sounds.

... great mid-tempo songs that hold a wide and deep pocket for 4 and 5 minutes.

... Concentrate on playing the song all the way through with no fills and stay vigilant because after a half an hour of hearing the few fills in the songs you will feel the urge to play in the empty space but don't do it.
Thanks TT. Really interesting advice. I can't play drums due to neighbours. How do you think this would work just using a pad and tapping your feet?
 

jwildman

Senior Member
Usually it doesn't take me too long because I'm usually on my computer behind my set looking at drum covers and messing around on drummerworld for about half an hour. Also I just play some rudiments on my seat and just mess around with my drum sticks. So usually I can just dive right in but my bass drumming takes some time to warm up.
 

BrewBillfold

Silver Member
(1) Warming up on a practice pad (or practice pad kit if you're ambitious enough to haul one around and set it up backstage) will help some.

(2) Your band should be constructing their live set so that you have a warm-up tune or two (or however many you need) at the start--songs that are a bit easier for everyone to play (although they still have to be good openers), songs that will give you a good idea of your sound in that venue so you can tweak it as necessary before you get into the more difficult stuff.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
How do you think this would work just using a pad and tapping your feet?

It can work but the real trick for me is that "opening up" of your awareness of that big fat empty space in a pocket groove. So for me, the music helps but on a pad I would probably just tap out slow 8th notes with a strong and deliberate back beat.

Try also the Charlie Watts thing where you don't play straight 8ths and play the long hi hat opening in your head.
 

DrumTechWright

Junior Member
I don't think you ever find it.... No one ever knows everything, which is very cool about anything (sports, music, cooking, etc.) There is so much variety and variations and style that your potential is endless if you really push to use everything you can.

Every drummer that I work with is different, but they all keep up with the same warm ups on a pad.
 

wyndom earle

Junior Member
When I was playing punk/hardcore shows out alot I had zero time to warm up. I would usually set up my drums while one of the other bands were playing. When they unloaded, I would set my drums up and get everything adjusted. This usually left me with a couple minutes while the guitar players tuned up, got their stuff loaded in, and checked mic levels.
This (in hindsight) would have been a perfect time for me to grab a practice pad or muffle pad and warm up a little. I mean these were punk shows, there was no backstage, hell there was rarely even a stage. But I always had my gear setup first and I was usually left with a couple minutes waiting for the other guys.
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
I always get anxiety and negative thoughts before i go on a concert/gig(depends on how often). What i do is warm up on a pad for 20 minutes, and think all the thoughts and fears so I don't think about them while i play. I also got some kind of excercises i go throught to rid me of anxiety too, but that's more personal.
 

HeadBasha

Junior Member
For me I don't find practicing on a pad works before a show. I believe most of the problem of getting warmed up is mental. I find if I start doing rudiments or playing on the pad in other ways I start to get nervous about drumming and I start over thinking the parts I have to play. what I try to do is set up my set, do some quick stretches and then try not to think about it untill the show starts. I ussually grab a beer and play darts or something with my bandmates. either that or listen to the band thats playing before us. I like to be calm when I get behind my rig, I feel more secure about the music from the get go that way.
 
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