Advice on speeding up


Junior Member
Hi all,

I've been drumming for ages now -- 20 years or so -- but I'm entirely self-taught. One of the side effects is that practicing with a metronome was something I never knew was important. The result of this is that despite being pretty advanced in other ways, I have a very basic but serious problem where I tend to speed up throughout a song.

I'm planning on starting gigging again pretty seriously before long, but i have to get this problem under control. Aside from practicing playing grooves, fills, and whatnot at various tempos to a metronome, do you have any other advice? Even when I stick a metronome on now, slower tempos really give me problems -- I end up speeding up, then backing off to recapture the tempo, only to overcompensate and fall behind... it can take me as long as a minute to really settle into the groove.

Perhaps a cattle prod rigged to zap me whenever I speed up? ;)

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.


Senior Member
Hey JakeyD,

Your pretty much doing the right thing by practicing along with the metronome especially at slower tempos.

You just need to breathe, relax and feel the subdivisions of whatever tune you are playing - maybe sing them to yourself as well. That can often help.

Also, try not to anticipate the fill. If you are thinking 'aah, here it comes' then you're gonna rush it. Don't think too much about it and just let it flow.

The more time you spend playing along with slow tracks and a slow metronome click the better you'll get -- a little bit of patience in your practice will go a long way.

If none of this works then definitely go with the cattle prod! ;)

Good luck and let us know how you get on.


Silver Member
Practice slowly and count out loud ("1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &" etc) while practicing your grooves and fills with the metronome. This will not only help you feel better where everything falls into place but will allow your brain to integrate things in a more efficient way.

A good thing to do is to record yourself and listen back to what went wrong. It's painful on your ego, but it's one of the best tools to progress in my opinion.

Stay patient and keep at it, this will take some time. Good luck : )


"Uncle Larry"
It's a mental issue. You're thinking is speeding up, therefore you're playing is speeding up. You need to control your mind, your hands have no choice but to follow. Play a mental game with yourself where if you speed up you get uglier, and if you nail it, you become even more handsome.


Platinum Member
I've been drumming for ages now -- 20 years or so -- but I'm entirely self-taught. One of the side effects is that practicing with a metronome was something I never knew was important.
And now you know it's important. You learned a whole bunch of things in those 20 years because you thought they were important. Now you see a gap - something you'd missed. All you need do is chip away at the issue in the same way as you chipped away at all those patterns you taught yourself.

The good news is, not only do you already know that, but you're already acting on it.

Playing slow with a metronome makes you sensitive to the spaces between notes - what they should be. When correct spaces sound good to your ear and incorrect spaces are jarring you're making progress.


Junior Member
Most players have that inclination.(to rush)To actually drag the groove is less natural but still not good.The metronome is a great tool for keeping you in line but can be kind of a crutch.Use subdivision as stated earlier,i.e.verbal , mental, and even physical(other than your playing).Use the metronome as little as possible,meaning;Slow (as previously mentioned)and displaced clicks .30 bpm to play a groove at 60,120 or 240.This way you create the pulse internally rather than following something else.There's a great demonstration of what I'm talking about on You-Tube.Under the heading "timekeeping in music".
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Senior Member
Practicing song parts at "normal" tempo to a click that is very slow has helped me quite a bit. The clicks are so far apart that you really can't chase it, you're either there or you're not. Also, several pros have advised me that when starting with a new metro tempo, it is very helpful, if not necessary, to simply listen to it for a while and try to internalize it BEFORE playing to it.

Here is a very good, albeit extreme, example of this (regardless of your taste in music/drummers):


Platinum Member
Here is a very good, albeit extreme, example of this (regardless of your taste in music/drummers):
not THAT's what i call a good internal clock!

your situation reminds very much of my own. i hadn't played in a band or even played at all for many years. a few years ago i got back into playing and eventually joined a band. whenever we played a show i rushed the tempo like a demon!!! the recordings of me from a couple years ago are almost comical, i was speeding up SO MUCH!

i've since managed to get my tempo issues more or less under control, but i'm still susceptible to speeding up if i'm not careful. what works for me is focusing on the tempo at all times, especially in the more exciting parts of the songs where it's easy to speed up. i make a point to play very deliberately and think about every note, but not actually slow down. you can ruin a song by dragging it down too.

at a gig, try not to be nervous. i don't get as nervous as i used to, but i used to get very nervous at shows and that would fuel my tendency to speed up. if you get nervous anyway, try to focus on relaxing. you really have to think about it!

you'll also have to fight the tendency of other band members to speed you up. that can happen pretty easily if you have a jack rabbit guitar or bass player in the band. just remember, you're in charge of the tempo and don't let them pull you along.

i agree with others that practicing with a metronome is a good idea. i do that too, but it's not a cure-all for rushing. when you actually play a gig, chances are you're not going to be playing along to metronome (maybe you will) so you're going to have to take charge of the tempo situation.

good luck!


Platinum Member
i personally wouldn't count that as 12.5, but that's only because of the way the pulse feels to me. the drumming is lovely though. derek is really tasteful. fun stuff to play!


Silver Member
Has anyone noticed that when you need to take a pee your timing is dead?

Seriously, I was once in a situation when I needed to go, but I couldn't because the bathroom was out of order. So I had to play the gig without being able to go... My tempo was rushing...


Okay I'm gone now...