Sacrificing concepts during practice.

benthedrum

Senior Member
Hi everyone.

Just want to get a overview of people's opinion on sacrificing concepts during practice.

Given the time constraints in some people's lives (me included), I find myself at times feeling like I have to forgo certain concepts with practice.

Obviously, if I could practice for hours and hours daily to cover as many concepts as possible, that would be great. But I find that I have approx 2 hrs daily.

So I spend 30 mins on stick control

30 mins working on various grooves from Groove Essentials 1.0

30 mins working on rudiments on the kit incorporating the bass drum/double pedal as fills or grooves. The Rudiments I cover are singles, doubles, parradiddles and triplets.

20 mins of "song challenge".....where I pick songs that keep my chops up.

10 mins buzz Rolls.

Not in that order......but I feel I'm missing out on heaps of other stuff.

How do you guys prioritise your practice routine?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
How do you guys prioritise your practice routine?
1. The demands of the next gig are a top priority, of course. Might be songs, might be soloing. Right now is pretty exciting, because that means soloing over vamps in 4/4, 11/8, and 15/8, and charting out some tunes. The vamp in 11/8 is kind of nuts, so I created a track with a click, to play along with.

2. I have a short list of four or five things to work on. Usually they are written out and waiting on the music stand. Could be stuff I've transcribed, or more conceptual things. They're on the music stand so I don't forget to practice them, at least a little, every time I sit down at the kit. Right now it's some licks I've transcribed, plus some exercises in playing odd groupings, over a triplet note rate. Trying to get more comfortable feeling groups of 5 and 7 while grooving in 12/8.

3. Working on tunes that I'm likely to encounter on future gigs. Soloing over the form, trying out implied modulation ideas.

4. I have a couple of fairly advanced students right now, so working with them in our lessons is a good refresher for me, because we're working on some things I haven't touched in a while. One is going through the Latin grooves in Groove Essentials, plus a Steve Gadd samba groove, and another student is getting into Time Functioning Patterns.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hi everyone.

Just want to get a overview of people's opinion on sacrificing concepts during practice.

Given the time constraints in some people's lives (me included), I find myself at times feeling like I have to forgo certain concepts with practice.

Obviously, if I could practice for hours and hours daily to cover as many concepts as possible, that would be great. But I find that I have approx 2 hrs daily.

So I spend 30 mins on stick control

30 mins working on various grooves from Groove Essentials 1.0

30 mins working on rudiments on the kit incorporating the bass drum/double pedal as fills or grooves. The Rudiments I cover are singles, doubles, parradiddles and triplets.

20 mins of "song challenge".....where I pick songs that keep my chops up.

10 mins buzz Rolls.

Not in that order......but I feel I'm missing out on heaps of other stuff.

How do you guys prioritise your practice routine?
I'm pretty much anti routine, I prefer to pick what I want to work on...on the fly.

All I have to do is sit down at the drums, play for about a minute, and invariably I will stumble across something that I can't quite pull off. So I stop and work on that. I feel it's more organic, more me, because I had the idea, I just couldn't pull it off to my satisfaction. When I practice, I mostly do what I have a hard time doing, like comping to the jazz ride pattern, without compromising the skip beat.

The downside to this is all my ideas come from me, nothing foreign to wrap my head around, or give me ideas that would have never have occurred to me, left to my own devices.

Some, maybe most, people fare better with a structured grid.

Which method would you gravitate to? Structured? Non-structured?
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
You have to decide what's really essential-- a lot of topics popular online are kind of useless in the real world. Other things you can combine. The drumset applications of the book Syncopation do that-- while you're doing them you're simultaneously working on reading, interpreting, phrasing, improvising-- whatever. It's the most efficient way method I've seen for real improvement in real world drumming abilities. If your time is limited I think it's kind of a waste to just be hacking through Stone on a pad with a metronome.
 

benthedrum

Senior Member
I guess it's just a feeling like........"I'm practicing voice substitution with rudiments across the kit......oh, but I'm missing out on Independence exercises".

Or......."I'm practicing this oh, but I'm missing out on that".

It just feels at times you kinda want to do a bit of everything.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Routine is important for me, without it I'm a bit lost, so my practices are rather structured.

I usually practice 2+ hours a day as follows:

1) 4-Way Coordination for about 40 mins;
2) Stick Control for about 40 mins;
3) Mastering the Rudiments for Snare Drum for about 40 mins;
4) Specific exercises for about 40 mins.

I've doing that for about a year now, and pretty soon I'll be substituting Stick Control for Igoe's GHFAL and Mastering the Rudiments for Snare Drum for some snare solos and etudes.

What I don't work on much are reading music, grooves and "creativity". Some may say that's detrimental, but I have my reasons, limited time being one of them. Since I studied classical piano and music theory growing up, I don't have any problem reading music. When it comes to grooves, I took drum lessons years ago for quite some time, and learned the basics of various styles. If I find I need to learn a new groove for one of my band's songs, I'll work on it before or during rehearsal. Regarding "creativity", I feel that developing coordination, stick control and learning the rudiments helps that more so than just flailing away aimlessly on the kit (i.e. I can "hear" in my head what I want to play, but need to develop the coordination and stick control to do so).
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I guess it's just a feeling like........"I'm practicing voice substitution with rudiments across the kit......oh, but I'm missing out on Independence exercises".

Or......."I'm practicing this oh, but I'm missing out on that".

It just feels at times you kinda want to do a bit of everything.
That's clearly a mental hurdle. I feel it can be easily scaled. You have to give yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time, and disregard and dismiss the thoughts you are having about what you're not working on at the moment. It's OK. Step out of your own way. Focus on what you are aiming for. Those thoughts are hamstringing you and draining energy away from your aim. I make a waste bin in my mind, because I getr wacky thoughts too. I just recognize it as wacky and mentally throw it in the trash just like junk mail.
 

TMe

Senior Member
You have to give yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time...
"Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions." Stephen Leacock.

I think that could be from a book called "The Story of My Life".

These days I try to focus on my band's set list plus one other thing, usually a book I'm working through, and nothing else.

But I'm easily distracted.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
"Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions." Stephen Leacock.

I think that could be from a book called "The Story of My Life".

These days I try to focus on my band's set list plus one other thing, usually a book I'm working through, and nothing else.

But I'm easily distracted.
I'm easily distracted too. The only thing I can do is realize that I'm distracted....and reel myself back in to focus. A lot.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Two methods here, one more formal and one relaxed.

When gigging:
Everyday for at least two hours, usually more. Sometimes twice a day (the jam room was about a half mile walk from my apartment). I would put on music and run my feet for the songs entirety, using it as a click. Different tempos, times, stop and go, all of it was worked on depending on my bands needs at the time. With my hands I would either work on my time, or any patterns I needed to learn. Anything I didn't need was almost never worked on.

No longer gigging:
Again I put on music, but now I let my mood dictate what I work on. I might just play music, I might work on some ungraspable pattern, I might go fast or slow, just depends on how I feel. It's quite freeing. Right now my pattern of choice is a hybrid of a 3 note ride pattern with a disco beat under it. The right plays the ride, the left plays the hi hats and snare.

If I make a mistake and catch it I try to seamlessly play the mistake as a pattern. Makes it look like the mistake was on purpose. It's harder than it seems.

And I always listen to music, a loop, a click, something. I can't practice without one. Been that way since the very first time I ever hit a drum, and will stay that way.
 

benthedrum

Senior Member
That's clearly a mental hurdle. I feel it can be easily scaled. You have to give yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time, and disregard and dismiss the thoughts you are having about what you're not working on at the moment. It's OK. Step out of your own way. Focus on what you are aiming for. Those thoughts are hamstringing you and draining energy away from your aim. I make a waste bin in my mind, because I getr wacky thoughts too. I just recognize it as wacky and mentally throw it in the trash just like junk mail.
Some really good advice and perspectives here....
 

beatdat

Senior Member
That's clearly a mental hurdle. I feel it can be easily scaled. You have to give yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time, and disregard and dismiss the thoughts you are having about what you're not working on at the moment. It's OK. Step out of your own way. Focus on what you are aiming for. Those thoughts are hamstringing you and draining energy away from your aim. I make a waste bin in my mind, because I getr wacky thoughts too. I just recognize it as wacky and mentally throw it in the trash just like junk mail.
It's for this that I've been raising my practice time per exercise. I find that it sometimes takes a minute or so to really start focusing on an exercise, so instead of playing it for 1 minute, I'll play it for 2, now 3 (at the minimum). I'll even play them on occasion for 5 or 10mins.

I know you've promoted 1/4 notes at 40bpm for 40mins. I find the longer I practice one simple exercise (drumming or otherwise), the better I'm able to focus in general. Do you see any correlation between the two?

"Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions." Stephen Leacock.
What a great line, a scene all in itself.

These days I try to focus on my band's set list plus one other thing, usually a book I'm working through, and nothing else.
That sounds like an effective practice routine.

If I make a mistake and catch it I try to seamlessly play the mistake as a pattern. Makes it look like the mistake was on purpose. It's harder than it seems.
One of the hardest things to do.
 

benthedrum

Senior Member
Hey beatdat, I really identified with your issue regarding focussing on a concept.

Yeah.......I find a new concept really deserves that extra bit of time as opposed to a rigid time frame.

In a sense, that's probably the crux of my whole issue. Once I fumble and piddle-poddle around, I kinda think......"I'm just wasting bloody time here".
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
...
1) So I spend 30 mins on stick control

2) 30 mins working on various grooves from Groove Essentials 1.0

3) 30 mins working on rudiments on the kit incorporating the bass drum/double pedal as fills or grooves. The Rudiments I cover are singles, doubles, parradiddles and triplets.

20 mins of "song challenge".....where I pick songs that keep my chops up.

10 mins buzz Rolls.

Not in that order......but I feel I'm missing out on heaps of other stuff.

How do you guys prioritise your practice routine?...
Probably your problem is your general approach, it is hard for me to explain you what I mean with this, not because I don´t know how to explain you, it´s because you will have an impossible time to understand what I know, "from where" I´m telling you this...

When I read about rutines like yours, that are kind of usual, normally means YOU CAN´T READ MUSIC (the most important basic skill to play good).

Reading constant eights is not reading music, playing rock rhythms with constant 1/8 or 1/16 on the hi-hat is not READING MUSIC..., etc

I might be wrong, but let´s analise...(I will alter the order):

3) You are currently not working over "rudiments" you are just practicing doubles and singles...TRIPLETS are not rudiments (that´s a big alarm because it gives up your theorical knowledge)

1) Usually means you practice the first 3 pages (at most) which is playing constant eighths

2) Usually means you watch THE VIDEO and play a rhythms FROM there, or at most you have/copied the book and you read a few ROCK rhythms...no chart reading envolved (and if you do you´ll be the first in hundreds I know that do that), none of the "more sophisticated rhythms", that require some minimal reading.

That book is not an encyclopedia of rhythms, is some basic rhythms to be played along with the arrangement...

Best!
 
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TMe

Senior Member
... You don´t work over "rudiments"...
I've only recently realized that.

When I finally stopped playing rudimental drills and started playing little etudes and solos that use rudiments, things improved suddenly. I finally started to understand rudiments in a musical context, which made them easier to play.

That would be pretty much impossible without sight reading.

So I've gone back to beginner books and I'm studying all the stuff I skipped over when I was first learning to play.

I kept flogging away at intermediate to advanced stuff and getting nowhere because I didn't really have the basics nailed down. Time to fix that.
 

trickg

Silver Member
This is an area where I could definitely use some improvement. My main function as a drummer is that I play for praise bands. This means that I do 5-6 songs when I "perform" but they are always different songs, and often times, they are songs I've never heard or played before.

I'm also a busy guy:
Full-time 9-5 salaried job with a 42 mile one-way commute in DC area traffic
I'm in the Army National Guard
I freelance on trumpet
I have everything that goes with a house with wife, two kids, two cars, two dogs, etc.

As a result, my drum practice is usually focused on what I need to know to for the gig, so the only concepts being worked are whatever is right in front of me for the set list that week.

Maybe one day I can do better with it.
 
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