Am I a bad drummer?

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Let me start off by saying after years of playing I don't break sticks, not for the most part. I don't get pains and blisters. I don't dent heads, but I've broken a couple bass drum heads with my beater. I don't crack cymbals (knock on wood). I can play most of the classic rock you hear on the radio.

I've never been through rudiment training. I know a few that I've taught myself, but I hardly spend any time practicing rudiments on one of my two pads that I own, even though there is ample opportunity for me to do so. I only practice 3 hrs. once a week on my drum set for the most part. I might get a few minutes in during the week. Once in awhile I'll play a gig.

I've never done rudiments in fact. Not until I joined this forum and read how other people approach drums and drumming. I've always been a drummer in my mind, and I've played with some really talented individuals, but I don't practice near enough. I would if conditions were optimal, but they're not. My rudiments, the few I know, are not blazing fast. I don't think my fills suffer too much though, but I could use some more control over my doubles and work those in too for some extra flair and variety around the kit.

So I've been reading some responses to other peoples questions in here and I've decided that I am, in fact, a lazy drummer and I need to learn rudiments using a program and doing a progress journal to document my development. This will be my New Year's Resolution in addition to the other stuff I've mentioned. I want to feel like a real drummer and a real drummer knows his rudiments, dammit.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Not a bad realization or resolution. Just make sure you're having fun while you're doing it, or else you won't do it. Maybe you need a Richard Simmons-type drum teacher?
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Not a bad realization or resolution. Just make sure you're having fun while you're doing it, or else you won't do it. Maybe you need a Richard Simmons-type drum teacher?
Good point, I need to make it fun for myself. True.
I like where you're going with that Richard Simmons & drumming idea. I think people are already doing something at the gym with large drumsticks. Hmmm.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
It seems you are getting out of drumming what you want so that's not a bad thing. But if you want to get more out of it you obviously have to put more in to it. Learning rudiments will help with fills and basic getting around the kit. We all have our goals when we play and I think it's good that you want to expand your horizons.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Work on one or two at a time, and don't run it into the ground at one sitting.
They have to be built up over time until they become an automatic reflex.
Also, for me, some are more useful than others.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Let me start off by saying after years of playing I don't break sticks, not for the most part. I don't get pains and blisters. I don't dent heads, but I've broken a couple bass drum heads with my beater. I don't crack cymbals (knock on wood). I can play most of the classic rock you hear on the radio.

I've never been through rudiment training. I know a few that I've taught myself, but I hardly spend any time practicing rudiments on one of my two pads that I own, even though there is ample opportunity for me to do so. I only practice 3 hrs. once a week on my drum set for the most part. I might get a few minutes in during the week. Once in awhile I'll play a gig.

I've never done rudiments in fact. Not until I joined this forum and read how other people approach drums and drumming. I've always been a drummer in my mind, and I've played with some really talented individuals, but I don't practice near enough. I would if conditions were optimal, but they're not. My rudiments, the few I know, are not blazing fast. I don't think my fills suffer too much though, but I could use some more control over my doubles and work those in too for some extra flair and variety around the kit.

So I've been reading some responses to other peoples questions in here and I've decided that I am, in fact, a lazy drummer and I need to learn rudiments using a program and doing a progress journal to document my development. This will be my New Year's Resolution in addition to the other stuff I've mentioned. I want to feel like a real drummer and a real drummer knows his rudiments, dammit.
Reading this was like looking in a mirror... and it made me see things I didn't want to see.

With the exception of a paradiddle, which I still suck at, I know no other rudiments. What would be a fun way to learn them?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I find it boring to practice without music. When I was very young I practiced rudiments on the drum set while listening to music.

I put a list of rudiments in front of me. I put on my favorite radio station. The first song was played all the way through using the first rudiment.
I started the rudiment on the snare drum. Then I moved around the drum kit still playing only that one rudiment for the whole song.
I also played along with both feet, bass drum and hi hat.
Second song was played using only the second rudiment. And so on until I went through the whole list of rudiments.
As you might guess sometimes I got a very strange combination of rudiment and song.

This routine helped me learn to utilize the rudiments in my playing and in my solos.
Practice this for a while and then when you go to do a fill, all of a sudden like Magic the rudiments will become part of your fill!
Try it, you'll like it.


.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Reading this was like looking in a mirror... and it made me see things I didn't want to see.

With the exception of a paradiddle, which I still suck at, I know no other rudiments. What would be a fun way to learn them?
Sometimes you just have to slog through the "un-fun" stuff. As a kid, I used to sit in front of the TV watching cartoons, with a practice pad on a stand, and drill away for hours.

When I joined a drum and bugle corps (Anaheim Kingsmen in the early 80s), the competition among the rest of the guys kinda pushed me to practice a lot harder too. Who wants to lose their spot in the line, right?

Funny story: I do my first Disney audition, and I'm flying through stuff they're asking me to play, and then the auditioner asks me to play some flam paradiddles. It was like I was learning how to walk on an audition for the Harlem Globetrotters. Totally killed the momentum of the audition and I totally felt like I blew it. They had to ask for the one rudiment I really suck at.

Fast forward 30 years and I still practice my flam paradiddles!
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Dude you're not a bad drummer, every drummer worth their salt thinks they can be better than they are.

If you don't think you can get any better you might as well stop playing :)

We're lucky to have lots of drum teaching videos on the net. Granted you have to sort the wheat from the chaff but there's some good stuff.

I'm watching a lot of the Jazz at Lincoln Center's Jazz Academy channel at the moment. I like it because I can sit with the practice pad on my lap and get stuck in.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I’m probably worse then. Worse but happy.
I like what I do and I do what I like and was once told that there are three types of people. Those who know what rudiments are and play them. Those who don’t know what rudiments are and play them. Those who don’t know what rudiments are and don’t play them. I’m sitting somewhere between those last two.
If I was after a career in music as a hired gun (a whole other can of worms as shown in another thread) then there would be no excuse, but I’m not.
If you’re getting out of drumming what you want then mission accomplished.
Other than band practices today, and play alongs when I was younger, I’ve never practiced and it hasn’t stopped me gigging regularly (25+ gigs per year) for the last ten years.
At some point I may want to upskill but then again I might not.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
"A pro regularly does what others find boring or uncomfortable." Dan Millman.

"Boredom comes from lack of ability to concentrate" Gary Chester.

Regarding rudiments and practicing them. I am firmly against the idea of practicing rudiments (at least at the outset) on the kit and to songs. You will not really be focusing on the sound and strokes much as you should.

A half-ass double stroke roll almost sounds passable on a snare drum whereas it will look and sound awful on the pad. The pad lays your chops bare. No hiding behind snare buzz or anything like that.

You must work on the details, dig in deep and really analyze what's going on with your hands.

Sign up for Bill Bachman's Drum Workout and see how it's done.
 

specgrade

Senior Member
Is this a rhetorical question? I have never heard you play, so I have no idea how good or bad you are.

I get the feeling you want to "improve" your playing and once you set your mind to accomplishing your goals you just might. Kinda like weight loss.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Rudiments are only a tool for making life easier on the drumset. Some of the rudiments are rather nerd-stuff without much practical use. So don't overvalue them in general. As long as you can play a solid beat, keep time and add the right feel for the music, you should do well in 99% of the situations you will probably run tino. Still, some rudiments should be praticed now and then for making your life easier. Practice them in front of TV or playing to some music in the background or whatever crosses your mind if it works for you. But basically, concentrating on them solely is perhaps the better way to practice them.

Concerning rudiements, watch this. Worth to see/hear. https://youtu.be/4eHXg-s_cOc?t=122
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I have never practiced a rudiment in my life. I obviously play some of them when I am drumming, but not knowingly. Why sit and practice rudiments? Is there something you really want to play on the kit that you cant, and a rudiment would help?

Not trying to be smart, its a genuine question. I was taught, as an athletics coach, that there should be a specific reason for every training session, or why are you doing it? The same with practice/playing. Why are you practicing what you are? Is there a specific goal? Do you need the skill or technique in your playing or would the time be better spent working on something you need and use?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Midnight, I can totally relate as well. I think it was the last band I played in that really did it to me. Hadn’t been in a band for a decade and was asked to sit in on a gig. After a month, I realized I was replaying the old gigs, but worse the other guys weren’t near as good as my old bands. After practicing at several studios and watching the other bands play, two things became clear. 1) almost everyone is playing the same ol crap poorly 2) if they weren’t, they were playing some seriously killer stuff I couldn’t touch.

That was when I decided I needed to push forward and learn new tricks....or is it shed some old bad habits? Doesn’t matter. I wanted to sit in with the killer bands so bad that just had to do something about it.

I hadn’t practiced rudiments either, so that has become part of my daily regimen. I’ve tried playing to music, but the click has been far more beneficial. It’s way easier to tell if you’re off with the click, though admittedly more boring. I usually try to hum a tune as I tap out rudiments and with the click I get sucked in and 20 to 30 minuets have gone by.

Mikel, there’s definitely something to sitting and playing rudiments. They are definitely not unusable. I’ve seen fruits from getting my hands to tap out clear notes and making doubles and triples second nature. It’s helped creativity as well. All this talk about smaller kits making you more creative is just talk unless you already have the necessary skills. I didn’t, so removing a single tom would piss me off instead of make me creative. Ever since I’ve been focusing on relearning the basics, I’m much more at home with the extras removed. While I’m not playing rudiments all around the kit, the stick control I’ve gained has helped me to play more dynamically, so I can make more happen with less. I couldn’t have done this at all just sitting and playing beats. I did that for years, which is why most bands I played in liked me, but when it came to expanded playing, it was time for me to find the exit. There’s definitely as much benefit to sitting and tapping out rudemints as there are working on independence exercises. For me there is anyway...
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It depends on what type of drummer you want to be.

If you want to improved your faciltiy then exercises that focus on that, then rudiments and the traditional etudes will do wonders for that.

When it comes to beginners it's a bout not having holes in their knowledge and giving them the tools not holding them back by hlding back knowledge and letting them keep or develop attitudes that go against that.

With the knowledge we have available today it's easy to think we have to do and know everything, but that's not the case.

Thre is something to be said for learning the old way of getting a band together and learn slowly and holistically that way. There is usually a hole there, but small drips pf drumming information over time would be good enough. Making music is still the most important.

As a teacher I focus not only on technique and fundamenals, right. I work with a lot of different types of students. Basic technique and i.e. learn to read are basic building blocks that make everything easier. However, working mostly with really young students I approach the artistic side a lot as well. That's where I really shine over many others, but very hard to have a meaningful discussion about such deep things in a format like this.

I work a lot on etudes like the Wilcoxon stuff. Often away from the kit. I enjoy it and it's an easy thing to find time and a place for. I'm an improvising musician, so working on general concepts is the main way I practice any instrument. Other people's needs/interests might be different.

Yes, drummers are probably expected to be more versatile than other musicians, but we're all still different.

What do you want to achive is the main question.

General facility andconstantly growing vocabulary is my own answer. That is because I just enjoy learning and I have to teach all sorts of stuff to all kinds of people. I perform, but that's not the main thing.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Fast forward 30 years and I still practice my flam paradiddles!
Those things ain't easy either. Yup, it's called Murphy's Law.

We're lucky to have lots of drum teaching videos on the net. Granted you have to sort the wheat from the chaff but there's some good stuff.
.
I own a few good ones, just never got into them too deep.

I’m probably worse then. Worse but happy.
I like what I do and I do what I like and was once told that there are three types of people. Those who know what rudiments are and play them. Those who don’t know what rudiments are and play them. Those who don’t know what rudiments are and don’t play them. I’m sitting somewhere between those last two.
Me too, although I don't play 25+ gigs per year.

"A pro regularly does what others find boring or uncomfortable." Dan Millman.

"Boredom comes from lack of ability to concentrate" Gary Chester.

Regarding rudiments and practicing them. I am firmly against the idea of practicing rudiments (at least at the outset) on the kit and to songs. You will not really be focusing on the sound and strokes much as you should.

A half-ass double stroke roll almost sounds passable on a snare drum whereas it will look and sound awful on the pad. The pad lays your chops bare. No hiding behind snare buzz or anything like that.

You must work on the details, dig in deep and really analyze what's going on with your hands.

Sign up for Bill Bachman's Drum Workout and see how it's done.
You got me thinking on this bit of advise, but I have to make a part of it fun. I was thinking rigorous metronome practice on the pad, then do a few minutes of free form rudiments to music. But do get in the pad work, even though it's not fun. There is a sort of meditation to it too, so there's that.

Is this a rhetorical question? I have never heard you play, so I have no idea how good or bad you are.

I get the feeling you want to "improve" your playing and once you set your mind to accomplishing your goals you just might. Kinda like weight loss.
It's really not rhetorical. I feel more like a drum set player just playing the beats. Sit me down with just a snare drums and I'm having a rough go at it trying to be entertaining. I can do a good train beat though.

Still, some rudiments should be practiced now and then for making your life easier.

Concerning rudiements, watch this. Worth to see/hear. https://youtu.be/4eHXg-s_cOc?t=122
This kinda where I am at. I feel like they would make my life easier because it would give me more dexterity and complexity to my drumming.

Do you need the skill or technique in your playing or would the time be better spent working on something you need and use?
Yes, I feel I actually do need more skill and technique. I feel like there is a hole in my drumming skills.

I usually try to hum a tune as I tap out rudiments and with the click I get sucked in and 20 to 30 minuets have gone by.
Yes, I think this is important to the whole routine as well as having a part that is more regimented stricktly on the pad with a metronome.

It depends on what type of drummer you want to be.

If you want to improved your facility then exercises that focus on that, then rudiments and the traditional etudes will do wonders for that.

When it comes to beginners it's a bout not having holes in their knowledge and giving them the tools not holding them back by hlding back knowledge and letting them keep or develop attitudes that go against that.

With the knowledge we have available today it's easy to think we have to do and know everything, but that's not the case.

There is something to be said for learning the old way of getting a band together and learn slowly and holistically that way. There is usually a hole there, but small drips pf drumming information over time would be good enough. Making music is still the most important.
Well, I'm not really after being a jazz drummer, but I do want to increase my facilities because I feel like there is a hole in my drumming.

I was hoping that you would chime in with some words of advise too. Maybe giving Bill or Alex a ring isn't a bad idea either.

Getting back to what Grunterdad was saying, I am getting out of drumming what I want at this point in my life, which is to basically have fun. But I do want to get more out of it. More satisfaction from my playing means putting more into it. More time practicing and filling that hole that I feel is missing in my drumming.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I will say, no, you aren't a bad drummer at all. I've heard your stuff, Paul. You have the essentials, in my mind, which include good feel and the ability to listen to the other players. That's what I've picked up from the things I've seen on here.

And, I think it's an excellent plan to expand your skills. It can only make your drumming better, easier, and more fun. Great resolution, I think!
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Sign up for Bill Bachman's Drum Workout and see how it's done.
+1. You need some kind of course to guide you. If you want to try learning rudiments, and fail, then get a list of them and start jamming them on the pad. You'll give up after a week.

The much quicker, more rewarding way to learn the rudiments is to first work on each hand's technique, and REALLY LEARN how to properly play singles, doubles, and accents. Learn how to use (or kill) the rebound from the pad, how to control your stick heights, and how to position your sticks in the air for maximum control and speed. Once you've done this, the rudiments will come much more easily, and you'll have fun learning them.

Take Bill's (awesome) online course; get a teacher; get Great Hands For a Lifetime. Do all three if possible.

The dirty truth is that you can play a lot of drums without knowing rudiments, especially if you're playing the FM radio rock of the last 50 years. But at a certain point you'll hit a wall and stop improving, and you won't able to execute fresh ideas. It's got nothing to do with being a "pro" or playing for "fun"; it's about challenging yourself, and experiencing the accomplishment of meeting the challenges.
 
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