Drum Technique Tips - Tricks - Practice - Rudiments - Educational DVDs & Books.....

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Old 12-28-2013, 11:11 AM
Bray Bray is offline
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Default Beginner Practicing Tips?

Hey, this is my first post on the forums - I scanned the internet to find a good drumming forum and thought this one was the best out of all of them. If this is posted in the wrong section, please tell me and hopefully I can get it moved.

Basically, I drummed for roughly four years, didn't practice, was lazy and didn't put in the effort to learn. I've taken a break for two years, and instead of drumming on an electronic kit, I've decided to just use an acoustic (it's pretty basic, but that doesn't bother me). I'm putting in a good hour each day for the past couple of weeks and going to start getting lessons soon.

I was wondering what are the best things to practice as a drummer? (i.e. what are the most fundamental things to always practice apart from beats) - I was thinking of dedicating half my practice time to a practice pad for stroke rolls (think that's what you call them), if this is a good idea, what would you recommend?

Cheers guys,
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:33 AM
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Raelthomas Raelthomas is offline
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Default Re: Beginner Practicing Tips?

Hi Charles,

Welcome to DW. Getting in an hours practice a day is a great start. In my opinion, your thoughts on splitting your time between rudiments (rolls) and other stuff is wise. I recommend picking around 5 different rudiments to work on and excell at, at first. Some essentials are; single stroke roll, double stroke roll, paradiddle (and variants), ratamacue, flam type rudiments (like flam-taps) and linear patterns (incorporating feet, essentially). You'll find playing these cleanly most important, you can then build speed - I find practicing my rudiments really increases my capabilities when next I hop on the kit.

Rudiments aside - pick some basic beat patterns you like the sound of and work on playing them consistently.

I'd also strongly recommend some focus on technique, as there are many nuances that will make things easier. A great DVD for this is Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons. It starts of super basic but you'll soon see how perfecting your technique is super effective.

Playing along to music you like, but which is just outside your comfort zone is a good way to push yourself, too.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:50 AM
eastcoastdrummer eastcoastdrummer is offline
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Default Re: Beginner Practicing Tips?

Technique - you'll learn pretty much everything you need to about your hands by going through the rudiments with a qualified teacher and if you're serious, you'll never really stop practicing them (in some form or another) as long as you play with sticks. After you're feeling good about the basics, start supplementing with online video of masters (Buddy Rich, Joe Morello, Jim Chapin, Dave Weckl, Dom Famularo, Bill Bachman, Jeff Queen... just to get you started ;) or instructional DVDs (I recommend Joe Morello's "Natural Technique" videos, Jojo Mayer's "Secret Weapons," and Matt Ritter's "Unburying the Beater"). Aim for movements that eventually feel good, get the sound you like, and won't lead to injury if you try to play fast or hard.

Coordination - learning beats and grooves from different bands, styles, or continents is a great way to get onto this. Rock and Pop are the most common place to start for the simplicity of the basic beats, with Hip-Hop, Funk and Jazz adding some swing to the equation. Look to the Caribbean, South America, Africa, or India for increasing challenges for your limbs. You can also search out great books or methods, such as Benny Greb's "The Language of Drumming" system (DVD/Book), Ed Soph's "Essential Techniques" book, or the endless variations (search this forum) on using Ted Reed's "Syncopation" exercises.

Musicality - you just have to listen like mad. Pick whatever you love first and try to pick apart every nuance possible from first the drums, then the vocals, then on down the line until you've really focused in on every part of the songs that do it for you. Then move onto stuff you hate, and try to figure that out too. Use headphones, blast it on a huge stereo, listen in your car, outside, in a hall, or even on your laptop - just to see what the difference is. Music is the art of sound, and getting to the bottom of why any of it means anything is the main mission of studying it (then you can just go have fun playing) but it's astoundingly easy to miss that point when you're in the thick of working your way through all these demanding skills.

Oh, and if you played for awhile already, did you spend much time playing with friends, bands, or at least along with records? Putting yourself in the middle of the music is the most important thing once you feel comfortable playing enough of the basics. You can start with records of songs you love, but get out there jamming with people or in a band as soon as you can - you'll learn so much more than you can in the practice room (but keep notes from your sessions 'cuz then you'll know what to practice next!)

Last edited by eastcoastdrummer; 12-29-2013 at 02:00 AM. Reason: PS
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:26 PM
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ronyd ronyd is offline
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Default Re: Beginner Practicing Tips?

Try this approach.

Rudiments to start with:
single stroke roll,
double stroke roll,
single, double, triple, inverted paradiddles

Play as written: pad and/or snare http://www.vicfirth.com/education/rudiments.php

Practice 2 rudiments every 2 weeks, 5 minutes straight without stopping. Use metronome and determine what is your max speed that you can comfortable play each rudiment evenly. Use that temp as your base, and slowly bump up the tempo every day (maybe).

My teacher has me doing rudiments with metro set as 4/4 notes. For single and double stroke rolls, use can play play subdivisions as sixteenths or 32nds, soft to loud (p, mf, ff) whatever you can play comfy. For single and double paradaiddle, play eigth notes subdivision.

Oh, BTW, you may want to also invest in this DVD by Bruce Becker. Bruce has wonderful insite and studied with the guru himself , the late Fredie Gruber.

You can go to youtube to see his 9 stroke roll instructional.

hope this helps.
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Last edited by ronyd; 12-30-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:33 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: Beginner Practicing Tips?

1. Think quality not quantity.

That means focussing every fibre of your being on anything you're trying to learn. It means fighting off the voices that say, "hey, let's play that cool groove and fill that we've played a million times and imagine ourselves in front of a big audience of teenagers throwing their undergarments" and staying on task. The more you can bring your senses of hearing, sight, touch and even smell to what you're doing the stronger the neural connections you'll make.

2. Have a plan before you sit down to practice. Lay out what you're going to do so you don't have to think too much. Make sure that most of your plan is stuff you aren't good at, yet. Chuck your ego out the door and feel free to sound bad. Learn to laugh and enjoy your mistakes and frustrations. Stay positive. Stay patient.

3. Hit it hard and fast and get out.

Choose a few exercises for - say - your hands. For example, you might take the first 5 stickings on pg. 5 of Stick Control. Work in short increments of one to two minutes (later you can work up to 5 minutes or so). When you're done with one exercise, move on to the next and do another couple of minutes of focussed work. When you get the end of your 5 exercises, go back to the first one and do the cycle again. Our brains respond to novelty. Three cycles of one minute each would give you 3 minutes on each exercise and 15 minutes total. But chunking it this way will lead to greater recall. When you're done with your hand stuff, move on to your next area of study and do the same kind of thing.

4. Program in some free time to have some fun. Just play. This is the time to imagine yourself in front of a crowd of adoring teenagers or whatever floats your boat. Play tunes, make up stuff, imitate your favorite drummers. Whatever. But, you might try giving yourself boundaries. For instance, can you CREATE using the stickings you just practiced? How many different grooves and fills can you create using just the stickings we practiced earlier? This kind of "controlled imagination" is very powerful.

5. In the beginning try to keep your practice sessions to 1 hour or less. If you can truly focus for an hour, add 15 minutes. Keep adding time as you can expand your attention endurance.

Oh, and in the beginning I don't recommend you record yourself. This leads to "performing" rather than practicing because the recording device is like an audience. We're less likely to allow ourselves to fail when we think someone's watching or listening. You have to work to failure to make improvements. Recording yourself can be done later.
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