Effect of alcohol on drum practice...?

KJIB

Member
I hear plenty of drummer say they skip or go very easy on the booze for a gig but what about for practice; Does anyone else find that it takes a couple of days off the booze before you start to get near to peak practice ability?

I mostly use Melodics software to practice with and after a couple of days off the booze I can pass lessons 2 - 3 "grades*" higher than the day after a drinking session. I have crossed the mid-50s age line so expect it to take a bit longer to recover but have been really surprised at how significant it seems to be. On the plus side, I now have an bigger incentive to have more alcohol free days.

* Note; I've only been playing about 6 months (and have only had 4 proper lessons with a drum teacher). Melodics "grades" are probably nothing like formal drum lesson grades but it's at least an indication of difference in ability and as it uses a computer it will scrutinise your timing, extra touch/early/late on a drum etc. with extreme clinical accuracy so there's no getting away with anything "off" (except perhaps at my level there's no check of how light/heavy you hit).​
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
AFTER a drinking session?
My ability, and willpower, drop to zero the day AFTER.
I find it hard to imagine a band rehearsal without a beer DURING the session though. Helps me relax and concentrate.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Drums require physical acuity to play well. Any chemicals in the bloodstream will be a detriment to playing well. As you grow from playing easy & light to aggressive and loud, the physicality increases. If you want to play at your peak, lay off the chemicals while training and performing.

Yes, there have been hundreds of pro drummers who have played while drunk, stoned, etc., but to endure, keep the engine clean.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Cant do it. If I drink, playing is fun but unproductive. The more I drink and the more time passes the sloppier and more lethargic I become. Forget the next day, hungover or not. It takes a good 3 days after drinking for me to feel right and performance to return to normal.

I dont buy the argument that drinking makes things easier, or one becomes better at stuff after drinking. The only things I become better at if drinking are:

1. Drinking more
2. Passing out
3. Feeling like crap

That's it. I cant think of any activity where drinking helps even one bit, except for staring blankly into space.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The impact of alcohol on human physiology will vary widely from person to person. Some feel tipsy after a single drink; others can knock off a six pack and detect no significant changes. I don't drink and drum for any reason. Drumming requires optimal clarity, dexterity, and reaction time. Alcohol is a threat to all three variables. And alcohol doesn't make you steadier; rather, by lowering inhibitions, it introduces the illusion of confidence. Hence, it can lead you to deduce that you're playing well when, in fact, the opposite is the case. If you don't drink and drive, why drink and drum? Drumming requires more coordination than driving.

I've never been a heavy drinker anyway -- just a two-beer kind of guy. To me, alcohol is a food group. Just as I'd never eat six sandwiches in a single sitting, I wouldn't drink six beers.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
What kind of alcohol consumption are you talking about? A drink or two? 6? 12? Having a couple drinks in the evening, or drinking all day?

My point is, there are too many variables to say any drinking at all is bad for drumming the next day. To be fair, I don't know - I've never had an objective way to measure it. If I have had a lot, which is rare, then I will definitely feel sluggish the next day. One or two? Not so sure.

Now, drinking while playing is another thing. I would never say it improves my performance, but having a drink or two can certainly improve my enjoyment sometimes.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I hear plenty of drummer say they skip or go very easy on the booze for a gig but what about for practice; Does anyone else find that it takes a couple of days off the booze before you start to get near to peak practice ability?

I mostly use Melodics software to practice with and after a couple of days off the booze I can pass lessons 2 - 3 "grades*" higher than the day after a drinking session. I have crossed the mid-50s age line so expect it to take a bit longer to recover but have been really surprised at how significant it seems to be. On the plus side, I now have an bigger incentive to have more alcohol free days.

* Note; I've only been playing about 6 months (and have only had 4 proper lessons with a drum teacher). Melodics "grades" are probably nothing like formal drum lesson grades but it's at least an indication of difference in ability and as it uses a computer it will scrutinise your timing, extra touch/early/late on a drum etc. with extreme clinical accuracy so there's no getting away with anything "off" (except perhaps at my level there's no check of how light/heavy you hit).​
After 6 months and 4 lessons, you're just not going to be 100% consistent from one day to the next, no matter what. It's just not enough time. Students complain about this all the time, how they *had it down at home* but can't play it in the lesson room. Not blaming or shaming here; it's a frustrating thing to be playing well one day, and not so good a couple days later.

Now, if you add to this that you're recovering from a mild case of alcohol blood poisoning (i.e. a hangover), it can certainly affect you, especially if you're past your 20s. Any more than two drinks is probably going to affect someone the next day.

However, there are things you can do to maximize the effectiveness your practice sessions.
1. Get a big mirror, and watch your form and technique while you play. Like a dancer in a studio.
2. Practice 4 or 5 things, but switch tasks every few minutes, and return to the most challenging tasks a few times each session. Randomize the order that you practice these tasks.
3. Don't *flam* when you're supposed to be playing two things in unison (i.e. at the same time), for example, the snare drum and the hi-hat.
4. Practice more than once a day if you can.
5. Practice a simple beat, with the metronome playing on quarters, on just 2 and 4, on the "&"s, on the "e"s, and on the "ah"s. This is really, really difficult, but it will help to develop your timing accuracy.
6. Devote some time to the practice pad, and get one if you don't have one. Seek out warm ups and rudiment studies, and simple snare etudes to read and learn.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I play fairly well up to about 3 beers. My hands are fine all the way up to blackout drunk. It’s the feet that lag behind when I’m a little too drunk to play my best.

Unless I’m noticeably hung over, which is very rare, my playing is fine the next day. As long as I keep it to 3 beers or less (I drink the craft beer stuff, so like 5-6% ABV), I’m never hung over the next day.
 

Benthedrummer

Junior Member
I totally and completely detest alcohol.

It hasnt passed my lips for many, many years.

So drumming and alcohol has never been nor will be an issue for me.

I'd rather be in a room full of smokers than drinkers.
 
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MntnMan62

Junior Member
I agree with the idea that a drink or two can make for a more "fluid" jam session or live gig. But for practicing I NEVER drink while practicing. I find that alcohol negatively impacts my ability to focus and control the limbs of my body. When practicing it's all about control so your brain can make your body do things it isn't comfortable doing, until those things do become comfortable. And then you want to replicate them as often as possible so they become ingrained. Once those things are ingrained and you can effortlessly incorporate them into your playing, a drink or two before a gig can allow you to insert those things you learned from practice into the music in a way that maybe you might not have if you were totally sober. But I also find that one drink too many and the ability to do anything properly quickly disappears. So, no drinking while practicing and typically no drinking for a gig, but if I do, only moderately.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I totally and completely detest alcohol.

It has never passed my lips.

So drumming and alcohol has never been nor will be an issue for me.

I'd rather be in a room full of smokers than drinkers.
same here (minus the smokers)...have never been drunk, high, smoked cigs etc...

hence the Xstr8edg part of my name.

I have never understood the culture of "altered states"...I can't go into the details oh "why" here b/c people will get offended, and think that I am "a loser"...

and, I have VERY addictive tendencies. When, I do something, I do it all out, and a lot. Knowing this, I purposefully kept my self away from negatively addicting things.

Drumming/music is my Zen, and I want nothing to get in the way of me reaching, experiencing and remembering every possible facet of it
 

Benthedrummer

Junior Member
same here (minus the smokers)...have never been drunk, high, smoked cigs etc...

hence the Xstr8edg part of my name.

I have never understood the culture of "altered states"...I can't go into the details oh "why" here b/c people will get offended, and think that I am "a loser"...

and, I have VERY addictive tendencies. When, I do something, I do it all out, and a lot. Knowing this, I purposefully kept my self away from negatively addicting things.

Drumming/music is my Zen, and I want nothing to get in the way of me reaching, experiencing and remembering every possible facet of it
Your username has bugged me ever since I joined.

Now I FINALLY understand what it means 😂
 

KJIB

Member
What kind of alcohol consumption are you talking about? A drink or two? 6? 12? Having a couple drinks in the evening, or drinking all day?

My point is, there are too many variables to say any drinking at all is bad for drumming the next day. To be fair, I don't know - I've never had an objective way to measure it. If I have had a lot, which is rare, then I will definitely feel sluggish the next day. One or two? Not so sure.

Now, drinking while playing is another thing. I would never say it improves my performance, but having a drink or two can certainly improve my enjoyment sometimes.
Most evenings I'll sit & watch TV with my wife and between us a bottle of wine will easily vanish. Alternatively I might have 2 - 3 bottles of beer. Then I maybe finish off with another glass of wine. So, above the recommended amount. Now I've twigged the effect on my drumming it's really inscentivised me to ditch the booze most days of the week.

I've only once tried to practice while under the influence. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected but it was a long way off top form.

It's way too early for me to be playing with other people, at least with my setup/ability, but I can see that a single drink or so to be sociable / relax might be the thing or it could go horribly wrong!

It had never previously occurred to me that drinking in the evening would have such a significant effect for days after. I'd read lots of things saying lay off the booze while doing sport but I'm not a pro athlete (obvs) so just assumed that the effect would be only significant when you want to gain an extra fraction of a percent edge. Perhaps with sport it is less significant but it seems with drumming, it really is a big deal. From what most people are saying, it's not just me, it's most of us.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Most evenings I'll sit & watch TV with my wife and between us a bottle of wine will easily vanish. Alternatively I might have 2 - 3 bottles of beer. Then I maybe finish off with another glass of wine. So, above the recommended amount. Now I've twigged the effect on my drumming it's really inscentivised me to ditch the booze most days of the week.

I've only once tried to practice while under the influence. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected but it was a long way off top form.

It's way too early for me to be playing with other people, at least with my setup/ability, but I can see that a single drink or so to be sociable / relax might be the thing or it could go horribly wrong!

It had never previously occurred to me that drinking in the evening would have such a significant effect for days after. I'd read lots of things saying lay off the booze while doing sport but I'm not a pro athlete (obvs) so just assumed that the effect would be only significant when you want to gain an extra fraction of a percent edge. Perhaps with sport it is less significant but it seems with drumming, it really is a big deal. From what most people are saying, it's not just me, it's most of us.
Yes, I can see where drinking that much of an evening could impact you the next day.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
I agree with the idea that a drink or two can make for a more "fluid" jam session or live gig. But for practicing I NEVER drink while practicing. I find that alcohol negatively impacts my ability to focus and control the limbs of my body. When practicing it's all about control so your brain can make your body do things it isn't comfortable doing, until those things do become comfortable. And then you want to replicate them as often as possible so they become ingrained. Once those things are ingrained and you can effortlessly incorporate them into your playing, a drink or two before a gig can allow you to insert those things you learned from practice into the music in a way that maybe you might not have if you were totally sober. But I also find that one drink too many and the ability to do anything properly quickly disappears. So, no drinking while practicing and typically no drinking for a gig, but if I do, only moderately.
Personally, I think you'd want to be more controlled during a gig.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I hear plenty of drummer say they skip or go very easy on the booze for a gig but what about for practice; Does anyone else find that it takes a couple of days off the booze before you start to get near to peak practice ability?

I mostly use Melodics software to practice with and after a couple of days off the booze I can pass lessons 2 - 3 "grades*" higher than the day after a drinking session. I have crossed the mid-50s age line so expect it to take a bit longer to recover but have been really surprised at how significant it seems to be. On the plus side, I now have an bigger incentive to have more alcohol free days.
Alcohol does not appear to be conducive to timekeeping, in the same way you can tell a drunk driver by how their speed varies in waves.

In past era's, a stereotype came about that implied drummers tend to be marijuana users, and while I can testify that drumming under it's effects is terrific fun, I can't say it makes me a better drummer.

You're in your 50's, so I'm not really telling you anything that you don't already know.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
I don't touch alcohol anywhere near the kit as a rule, this goes for rehearsals, practice and gigs.

I used to enjoy a few beers at a gig but I prefer being sharp behind the kit at all times these days.

I'll have a few beers after a gig, if I'm not driving.
 
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MntnMan62

Junior Member
Personally, I think you'd want to be more controlled during a gig.
Oh yeah. I agree. But if you know the tunes inside and out and are totally comfortable, sometimes good things can happen with some lubrication. The key here is "sometimes". Not often. More like occassionally. Or less. :rolleyes:
 
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