The simplest thing

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I just wanted to share something that is working for me lately...it's so simple, but it carries over into every aspect of my playing.

I set a metronome to 40 and try to bury the click, using sticks, one hit per click, on the snare preferably, but pad will do. No feet, just alternating single strokes, done however you like, as long as they sound as even as you can get them. At a comfortable dynamic, relaxed.

That's it.

Here's the rub, you have to do it, and nothing but it, for minimum 20 minutes straight. 30 would be better. If you can do it for an hour, it will be the best hour you ever spent. You try and master it. One simple thing, all the way. Bury the click with your stick tip on the drum. When you've got it down, you keep going with it. You just keep doing it even after you've got it down. Having it down is not the goal. Keeping going after you have it down, as long as you can stand it, that's the goal. It's amazing what happens when you keep going, that's all I can say. You jump to a different level of awareness of what you are doing. If you can focus on one simple thing that long, it's amazing what happens. I am hearing sympathetic resonances from my other drums that I never was even aware of before! Something happens to your listening. One simple thing. just keep doing it, master it, and it will set you free. That's it.

You have to do this to a metronome, so you get the exactness you need to master it. But the effects are so far reaching, it's amazing. One simple thing. Try it. It's as easy as it gets, provided you have the patience..
 
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Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Sounds good Larry, I play along a metronome with a similare exercise, playing a simple groove, 8th note hi-hat, kick on 1 & 3 and snare on 2 & 4, nothing else. :)

Question though, within your exercise, the singles are always at 40 bpm? or do you vary the exercise using subdivisions, but still at 40 bpm?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yes. Strict at 40. Lotsa space in between to measure out. The concept is to strip it down to the very simplest thing you can do,except the alternating part, (necessary to get the right and left sides in harmony) super slow, and master just that. No feet yet. As basic as basic gets. No subdividing. Bury that click with the right, then the left, right, left...get into a trance state.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
The concept is to strip it down to the very simplest thing you can do, except the alternating part, (necessary to get the right and left sides in harmony) and master just that. No feet yet. As basic as basic gets.
So just alternate strokes, R & L at 40 bpm, no subdivisions with the hands, Right?

Edit: You edited your reply, everything OK for me now :))
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I like the sound of that Larry. It's certainly the kind of thing I did in the distant past (when I had time, energy, inclination, motivation, etc). I really must get some practice in. I seriously doubt I've put 10 practice hours in total down since I took up playing again over 3 years ago. How disgraceful is that! Yes, that's it, I'm a disgrace to my "profession", and should be whipped at exactly 40bpm = that should do it!

Seriously, I'm loving the affects you describe. Just the feel of nailing those spaces to the point of it being instinctive is alluring enough.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It has the effect of making my timing on the bandstand noticeably more crisp and even. I did this exercise earlier today for about 45 minutes, had a gig at night, and listening to the gig on the way home...yea, I was smiling. A drummers timing and crispness can always be honed. I'm convinced that the best way to practice is on one thing only, for the full practice session. Deeper is better than broader. 40 BPM lol, good one Andy...
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Good exercise, I try to do things like that with ultra-slow simple grooves, too.

It's important to me thought that I wouldn't set the metronome to 40 every time,
but one day it should be 41, or 38, 43, ... you get it.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
10 hours practice in over 3 years? ...man, you need to be whipped at 40 bpm for an hour or 'til you get into a trance state for your penitence. ;-)
I agree, 10 hours is a bit excessive ;)

I shall gather my peers and encourage them to cast me into a spiked pit of doom. As I lie bleeding, I'm tormented by Bongo John (do a forum search) & a brace of Mydentity rep's, leaving only the comfort of gig images when I chanced upon a moment of good tempo :)

It's important to me thought that I wouldn't set the metronome to 40 every time,
but one day it should be 41, or 38, 43, ... you get it.
I'm absolutely getting that augmentation of Larry's exercise Swiss. You like making life easy, don't you ;)
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
It has the effect of making my timing on the bandstand noticeably more crisp and even. I did this exercise earlier today for about 45 minutes, had a gig at night, and listening to the gig on the way home...yea, I was smiling. A drummers timing and crispness can always be honed. I'm convinced that the best way to practice is on one thing only, for the full practice session. Deeper is better than broader. 40 BPM lol, good one Andy...
Awesome Larry ... into a kind of blues Yoda, you're turning:)

Let me guess ... your idea is inspired by the exercise Kenny Werner was given by his piano teacher in Effortless Mastery.

Funny that you should post this because today I was practising really stripped down stuff, working towards really owning the beats rather than just being able to keep it up. I think your exercise is exactly what I'm looking for ATM.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Very cool idea Larry. I think I've tried that but never down to 40bpm before. And it's been a long time since I've done it. It's like learning how to walk again, but you're concentrating on just the walking. When you're kid, you're concentrating on getting somewhere. I don't think you can do this exercise in your teens, though ;)
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
This sounds very close to an exercise in meditation but instead of focusing on say your breathing you are focusing on a rhythmic pulse. Sounds great for both mental and musical well-being. I'm going to give it a go later.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
JUST in the case you meant this literally - it doesn't make life easier at all,
but on the other hand as my sense of time strenghtens, it probably does so
again in the end, LOL.
Of course, I was joking :) But I agree that over time, it would make your playing more intuitive, & therefore easier. To me, anything that removes concentration on the mechanics of playing is a good thing. Having to think only about your contribution to the music is a perfect state to exist in.
 
S

SickRick

Guest
A few years back I did that exact same exercise at 30bpm 90 minutes straight through for six weeks.

Was pretty interesting and took a lot of self discipline. I can tell you that much...

Don't know if I got much out of it though, I guess it made me much more aware of time and pulse.

I did however change the exercise in that respect that I played one note at each click, but not necessarily singles on a snare. Coule be something like Bass, HH, Toms etc. in between. But only one note on each click for 90 minutes without stopping at 30 bpm and this exercise almost daily for 6 weeks.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Don't know if I got much out of it though, I guess it made me much more aware of time and pulse.
Lutz, I'm guessing that someone at my level would benefit from it more than you. I think it could help patch a few holes in my homespun technique.

Isn't being made "much more aware of time and pulse" a really great benefit? :)
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
Though not exactly this, I do things similar as well and have been for years since one of my teachers got me into the habit of doing it.

One of my teachers used to say - everyone gets the notes correct, it's the notes they don't play that are wrong.

I practice snare solos, and many drum set exercises at extreme slow speeds (around 50-70 bpms).

The key is not only keeping the time, but making it still groove.
 
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