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Old 11-24-2018, 11:29 AM
JJKK JJKK is offline
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Default Practice and reality (long post)

Back at the kit after 6 (!) weeks of break. My wrist has gotten better I think, and I was trying out playing along to tracks yesterday after some single stroke practice.

Given that my wrist can take it, I'm getting back into practice.

Main goals currently are:

1. 200 bpm blast beat for...one minute at first, without cramping or twitching out.

2. 180-190 bpm double bass roll for a minute or so. Long enough to play it in a cover song.

3. Choosing a foot technique to learn for fast playing.

4. Be comfortable playing metal music/hardcore with other players.

So I have a couple of questions... Will I learn finger technique by myself? French grip feels so unnatural and weird at the moment, I try to work 16ths out with an "american grip" which means I hold the stick at 45 degrees and work my fingers to the best of my ability (at about 75-80 bpm 16th notes), and I work strength with strict "french grip" at very slow speeds and tap out singles and doubles until my fingers start really burning.

Will it hurt my practice if I establish a technique/endurance "work out" routine where I practice all week, but alternate feet/hands practice? The goal is to be able to maintain my practice all-year round without destroying my joints or wrists or knees, what have you.

Where I'm at: playing Evergreen Terrace relatively comfortably (sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYiL6rgX-AI), which is hardcore -type music with enjoyable melodies and singing parts and such. The song has "groove" which feels good to play and gives me a dopamine boost when I nail the good parts. Their other songs are faster and thus more difficult to pull off, but they all share the groovy/catchy thing despite being hardcore. A great practice band.

This song is on my to-do list: Heaven Shall Burn - Whatever It May Take (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyRWp1J1xRA). I have trouble with the fast double bass part sometimes, but the blast part goes surprisingly smoothly (I think it's 180 bpm or so). Fills I sometimes have trouble with after the skank beat parts, a transition issue. Keeping in time without rushing or falling behind is sometimes difficult, which means I'm at the edge of my playing ability.

Eventually, I don't know when...I'd like to blast out I Will Return and Funeral Thirst by the Black Dahlia Murder. Those songs really require A LOT from a player in terms of endurance and relaxation and speed. I don't know how many years it will take but that type of stuff is the end goal for me currently. I might switch to church gospel and children's jingles after I burn out on this Sisyphean task.

I've been at serious practice for a year or so (give or take some weeks) and I think I've done pretty well, going at this metal stuff, given that I didn't know what 16th notes were a little over a year ago :D

I played some Parkway Drive with a guitarist, which went relatively well (enough for him to come back).

I made a cover song playing A Perfect Murder (my playing -section) which shows that I have timing issues with double bass and transitioning between the main beat and fills. I wasn't "feeling it" when I was recording that tune so yeah...Might sound like an explanation/excuse thing but the more I play the more I find that the dopamine kick and relaxation I get from playing some parts are telling me that I nailed a part, or came really fucking close that time which results in huge motivation gains from a second or two of playing a part.
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Old 11-24-2018, 06:50 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Practice and reality (long post)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJKK View Post
So I have a couple of questions... Will I learn finger technique by myself?
Finger technique usually means isolating each finger that is not a part of the fulcrum (the thumb and first finger). So, you would bounce the stick on a pad using only the middle finger, then only using the ring finger, and (last but not least) only the pinky. Then you learn to switch between fingers without stopping, i.e. 4 notes per finger, then three notes, then two notes, then maybe a paradiddle pattern. The idea is to develop finesse and control with each finger individually, so that, together, they function more efficiently and quickly. Practicing using ALL the fingers ALL the time has its limits.

Can you learn it by yourself? Not without a mirror and a practice pad. You need to be able to watch your technique objectively.

Quote:
Will it hurt my practice if I establish a technique/endurance "work out" routine where I practice all week, but alternate feet/hands practice? The goal is to be able to maintain my practice all-year round without destroying my joints or wrists or knees, what have you.
Probably this is not a very good workout routine idea. What you should be doing is taking lessons (via Skype if necessary) from someone who has the speed already, and can offer you solid advice, much like an athletic trainer. Derek Roddy is a member here on this forum -- maybe he'd do a Skype lesson? Proper stretching, warm-ups, nutrition, and, yes, even weight training are probably good to have, in addition to the specific exercises and durations of the drumming itself. You're asking if you can basically punish the crap out of your muscles and tendons -- you'll need to really take care of yourself, so that you don't damage yourself along the way. Spend the money, and get a teacher/coach/trainer.

Quote:
Fills I sometimes have trouble with after the skank beat parts, a transition issue. Keeping in time without rushing or falling behind is sometimes difficult, which means I'm at the edge of my playing ability.
If you're just holding on for dear life at full speed, and hoping you make it on time -- that's a terrible practice method. You won't make much progress, and the repeated failure will lead to feelings of disappointment. Give yourself a fighting chance and slow the music down, as slow as it takes, so that you can absolutely nail the timing of the transitions. You should also transcribe the parts and play them super slow along to a metronome. The main reason that some players improve, while others don't, is not talent, or even the amount of practice -- it's the methods they use while practicing or learning new material.

You have set some lofty but attainable goals, which is great! Be wise about how you navigate the journey. Take care of your body! I hope this helps. Best of luck!
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:00 AM
JJKK JJKK is offline
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Default Re: Practice and reality (long post)

Had a really good practice today, realized why I go stiff when trying to go faster, which was basically that I was hitting way too hard all the time, using wrists mostly, and not incorporating any fingers in my playing.

Worked on singles for about 40 minutes, some finger strengthening in front of a mirror, trying to get similar height and angle on the sticks.

After that I sat on the kit and focused on playing really loosely no matter how fast the song was and the relaxation gave me a slower sense of time, which made faster playing easier, which felt really weird at first. Had I a teacher from day one, this would have been an early lesson I bet, but currently I can't get a teacher.

Double bass felt easier too, control was smoother and fast parts came easier. It's slowly starting to click.

Some progress I made was playing 190 bpm blast for about a minute or so with the hi-hat, which has been really difficult earlier, but today I got the hang of it. For some reason ride is easier when blasting since I get to rest the right arm lower when hitting the cymbal. 180 bpm comes easier, for about two minutes now.

First practice of the year, went very well. Have a good year folks.
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