Critique my practice routine

vtran711

Active member
I've been struggling with a good practice routine but have recently figured out something that is helping me keep focus. That is, setting a goal. I'm not taking lessons yet so without guidance it's easy to fall down the YouTube rat hole. It's easy to fall short doing rudiments all day long without targeting some reasonable goal. What do you think of this routine? As a beginner am I jumping the gun with the independence stuff? I don't have a set time per session but on average I do at least half hour of each a day.

Rudiments
I'm currently using Tommy Igoe Hands for a Lifetime DVD and my short term goal for this one is to be able to play along to his basic warmup. It mostly works through singles/doubles/5-7-9 rolls/paraddidles. The basic warmup does these at 130 bpm and I'm a bit stuck playing 16th note doubles at 110 bpm.

Drum Kit Independence
Here I'm going through exercises 1-12 of the first page of Stick Control and playing them on the kit over a foot ostinato. Currently just kick on quarter notes and hihat on up beats then playing each exercise first on snare then right hand moves to other parts of kit. This was a lot harder than I thought and I'm working on this at a painfully slow tempo at the moment. My first goal is to get it to a decent tempo then maybe the next goal would be to do it again with a samba ostinato. I'm really enjoying this and am seeing some progress.

Songs
Here I'm simply working on songs for my band. I was mostly focused on this for awhile and was neglecting other practice but now that I have more deliberate goals I've been able to split my time better. In fact, I don't work on this until I spend time on the other two first.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I can't imagine there could be a better, more disciplined routine than that and ninety minutes a day too!
As long as that is fun and you remember it is music- you know, art and it is meant to express feeling and insight.
I am actually a little jealous of your determination and will to do excercises
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
Definitely recommend lessons if you have the time/money. A teacher will quickly identify gaps to work on and measure progress.

Your routine seems fine but I guess the obvious question is what are your short and long term goals and how are these exercises helping you get there? Again a teacher can help you with this.

For the lifetime warm-up I think the intent is to practice them 3x at different tempos throughout the day ie do it 3 times per day at slow/medium/fast tempos. I don’t think doing it in 30-minute consecutive stretches is going to get you there any more quickly.

But good luck and let us know how you are progressing
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Your drive is admirable, but your priorities seem a bit advanced for a beginner.

How’s your double stroke roll? How’s your stick path when you play singles?

How’s your right foot at playing funky patterns while you maintain 8ths on the hi hat, and 2 and 4 on the snare?

Can you easily keep quarters on the bass drum, and play 16ths all over the snare, hi-hat, and toms? What about triplets, or triplet 16ths, with the hands? Can you move in any direction, at any moment, and keep perfect time and fluid technique?
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
yeah, you are hitting all facets, and using a met, which is the first thing I looked for.

Don't worry about the doubles speed. It will develop as you muscles get stronger and more agile. Here is what I tell my students to do for that very thing:

*in your case*
1. play your 16th note doubles at 105 for 2 minutes; stop and rest
2. play them at 107 for 2 minutes; stop and rest
3. play them at 109 for 2 minutes; stop and rest
4. play at 111 for 2
5. play at 115 for 2

call it a day. then the next day start 5 beats faster than you did the previous day, and add 5 more beats on the upper end

after a while, you should notice your doubles start to improve. THE KEY is to not play too far into tension. When you get there, you are at your "upper level tempo" for now. That will grow as you get stronger
 

beatdat

Senior Member
What do you think of this routine? As a beginner am I jumping the gun with the independence stuff?
No, I don't think you're jumping the gun practicing independence, but I do think you're starting with too complicated of a foot ostinato.

Instead of playing 1/4 notes with your bass drum and the hi-hats on the upbeats, start with the bass drum on beats 1 and 3 and the hi-hats on beats 2 and 4. Once you have that down, add a bass drum hit on the "&" of 2 and one on the "&" of 4. After you have that down too, then play the hi-hats on the upbeats for those two patterns. After all that (and maybe after learning a couple of other bass drum variations, as well), then play with the bass drum on 1/4 notes and the hi-hats on upbeats.

And keep in mind that, although the basic warmup in Igoe's GHFAL is only 130bpm, it's hardly a beginner routine. If I were you, I would spend as much time (at least 20mins/day 3x/week) on only the Rebounds and Accents sections of GHFAL. Watch the video (and play along as you're able to) as much as you can. Pay close attention to his hands and what he says. Read the tips that come with the eBook. Start slow (even a bit slower than the recommended tempos), and don't play past your abilities; rather, play within them as much as possible at various tempos. Remember, it may take weeks or months to get just the Rebound section down, so perhaps this should be your short term goal. Getting the basic lifetime warmup down properly may be more of a midterm goal.

If you are going to learn rudiments, play them to music you like or to the type of music you're band plays so you can get an idea of how they work within the context of a song.

As far as your routine, I would spend a bit of time learning how to read and transcribe drum notation (and even a bit of music notation). It's not that hard and the benefits are more than worth it. Transcribing the parts to your band's songs would be a good way of approaching this.

And do take lessons, even if it's only one a month. Unlike a lot of activities that can be self-taught without doing yourself wrong, drumming is not one of them - it's easy to develop bad habits and it's not difficult to develop harmful ones. Even if you do manage to learn the drums on your own and without any setbacks or injuries, a good teacher will get you where you want to go faster than you can.
 

vtran711

Active member
Thanks for all the feedback. I do want to clarify that I'm not a complete beginner but no way would I call myself intermediate. Not even close.

Don't worry about the doubles speed. It will develop as you muscles get stronger and more agile. Here is what I tell my students to do for that very thing:

*in your case*
1. play your 16th note doubles at 105 for 2 minutes; stop and rest
2. play them at 107 for 2 minutes; stop and rest
3. play them at 109 for 2 minutes; stop and rest
4. play at 111 for 2
5. play at 115 for 2
I like the idea of bumping the speed by 2 or maybe even 1 at a time. Although I'm working towards basic warmup from GHFAL I'm mostly focused on doubles at the moment.

Instead of playing 1/4 notes with your bass drum and the hi-hats on the upbeats, start with the bass drum on beats 1 and 3 and the hi-hats on beats 2 and 4. Once you have that down, add a bass drum hit on the "&" of 2 and one on the "&" of 4. After you have that down too, then play the hi-hats on the upbeats for those two patterns. After all that (and maybe after learning a couple of other bass drum variations, as well), then play with the bass drum on 1/4 notes and the hi-hats on upbeats.
I sort of do this already on patterns that are difficult over the current ostinato I'm using. I'm at the point now where I can do ex 1-12 in Stick Control over the ostinato I mentioned at 50 bpm all over the kit. Really want to get this to 100 or 120 before trying a more complicated ostinato.

And keep in mind that, although the basic warmup in Igoe's GHFAL is only 130bpm, it's hardly a beginner routine. If I were you, I would spend as much time (at least 20mins/day 3x/week) on only the Rebounds and Accents sections of GHFAL. Watch the video (and play along as you're able to) as much as you can. Pay close attention to his hands and what he says. Read the tips that come with the eBook. Start slow (even a bit slower than the recommended tempos), and don't play past your abilities; rather, play within them as much as possible at various tempos. Remember, it may take weeks or months to get just the Rebound section down, so perhaps this should be your short term goal. Getting the basic lifetime warmup down properly may be more of a midterm goal.
Yeah I think I need some interim goals to get to basic warmup. I agree basic is not beginner friendly. I do the accent exercises as well and can do that at 130 bpm. I do each step of the basic warmup up to 130 bpm but am stuck on the doubles step so I stop there and keeping working on the doubles until I get it up to speed. I figure I'm getting some exposure to other rudiments (from Stick Control) while doing the independence workout described above.

As far as your routine, I would spend a bit of time learning how to read and transcribe drum notation (and even a bit of music notation). It's not that hard and the benefits are more than worth it. Transcribing the parts to your band's songs would be a good way of approaching this.
I can read drum notation and actually prefer it over drum tabs. Actually I can't work with tabs so never use them. When learning a new song I'll always look for the sheet music but I also try not rely on it and instead listen to lyrics and musical phrases.
 
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vtran711

Active member
I'm actually enjoying the rudiments and independence exercises and I do believe it will make me a better player in the end. I'm already feeling more "freedom" on the kit especially with the independence exercise but I do admit a small part of me wonder if all this work will provide little more than some party tricks.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I'm actually enjoying the rudiments and independence exercises and I do believe it will make me a better player in the end. I'm already feeling more "freedom" on the kit especially with the independence exercise but I do admit a small part of me wonder if all this work will provide little more than some party tricks.
Gary Chaffee's linear drumming stuff will help you take the paradiddles skill and compartmentalize them in a way to apply to the kit that sticks, long after the party trick is over. As to whether we waste our time on things, that happens. But through trial and error you are learning how to learn, learning what your limitations are. One can look at all the possibilities of notes on a page, or even within a single bar and go wow. Through trial and error we grow.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Gary Chaffee's linear drumming stuff will help you take the paradiddles skill and compartmentalize them in a way to apply to the kit that sticks, long after the party trick is over. As to whether we waste our time on things, that happens. But through trial and error you are learning how to learn, learning what your limitations are. One can look at all the possibilities of notes on a page, or even within a single bar and go wow. Through trial and error we grow.
there has never, ever been a time where I felt like I "wasted time" with a pair of sticks in my hands...maybe I am weird, but I feel like anything I do in percussion is teaching me some element about playing.
 
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