Decreased time on the kit, increased time on pads/pillow


Senior Member
Hey guys, love this forum as always, and need a little bit of advice. Since joining a new band, I've decreased time on my kit from 6 days a week (1-2 hrs each) down to 2 days a week (3-4hrs). This happened about a week ago and is due to logistics. Last practice was the first time in a long time where I actually felt less creative/technical than the practice before, and it's been on my mind ever since.

I've always had a drum pad in my bedroom and only fiddled with it minimally when I was bored and watching tv. Now that I've been playing my drumkit less, I've really focused on the pad as well as my playing on a pillow/blankets. It went from something like 30min per day to closer to 3-4 hrs a day, after I get home from work. On the pad I practice standard rudiments but really focus on equal sticking (i play matched) and equal volume. On the pillow, I'm focusing on speed and power, really using my muscles because I don't want them to get slower and weaker when I move to the kit during band practice.

The last thing I want to do is to regress in my playing. I've been practicing drums hard for the last 4 years of my life and have always seen improvement equal to the time I put into the kit. Last practice scared me. I talked with my band and asked if I could come in a 3rd day to practice on my own but it's unsure if that will happen.

My question is, how would you handle this situation? What specifically would you aim to practice? What's a good mix between pad and pillow practice?

My playing is very classic rock, blues rock inspired. Very groove based, can get funky at times but really relies on the pocket.


Hey man, I've been in similar situations and yes it's very difficult to tell what's best. I too feel like I've gotten worse over the past 2-3 years when I was in a hardworking band due to my drums always being locked up at some practice space or in the trailer while on the road. Yes while practice pads and pillows are excellent, it's just not the same as a kit. Of course you wouldn't want to sacrifice playing in a band over having more time on the kit so I'd look into other forms of practice without a drumset.

You can check out a practice pad kit. I know a few companies make 'em but not too sure about price (I think a little over $100?).

Or if you have the money look into a used kit with some old hardware perhaps to make a makeshift practice kit.

And then there is the option of an electronic drumset. While I know these can come off as expensive, I've seen some pretty decent ones go for relatively cheap on ebay/craigslist.

Again none of these methods are the same as the actual kit, but I believe if you still spend some time on your actual kit, and use these methods the other days, you should be fine.