Exercises/rudiments -vs- or solos/excerpts

Genazvale

Junior Member
This is about technique only. If my goal is to develop my hands.

Say, if I had 1 hour a day, should I devote it to exercises, or should I devote it to learning a solo?

What would be more helpful to develop my technique? All in all, all solos are just compilations of exercises, right?
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..What would be more helpful to develop my technique?..

If you have 1 hour a day to learn hand technique, then use that hour for learning hand technique and study things like grip, rudiments, etc..

There a many videos and books to be found for this..

My advice would be to listen to what real experts say about technique, like Jojo Mayer, Steve Smith, Jim Chapin, Dom Famularo, instead of trying to find answers on a text forum like this..
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
All in all, all solos are just compilations of exercises, right?
Only on a very superficial level. A solo will refine your ability to switch into and out of a give rudiment or combination, or introduce material that isn't strictly "a rudiment". Solos are a deep dive into controlling and using the rudiments and technique you learned in the exercises.

I would say that the balance of how much music vs exercises will depend on your abilities at the moment. Some weeks, it will be good to do more exercises and less music; other weeks, the balance may shift towards learning a solo.

What are you practicing for solos? For technique? I would recommend The All American Drummer for solos, and Rudimental Logic for technique and exercises (there's also a companion DVD, and Bill Bachman's online video series), and Technique Patterns by Gary Chaffee. Great Hands For A Lifetime is also a great resource, though you'll benefit more if you've already got a good handle on rudiments.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
This is about technique only. If my goal is to develop my hands.

Say, if I had 1 hour a day, should I devote it to exercises, or should I devote it to learning a solo?

What would be more helpful to develop my technique? All in all, all solos are just compilations of exercises, right?
Pretty much the only thing I practice these days are polyrhythms.
 

Richard.Awesome

Senior Member
Pad and technique work is great, but you need to spend time with your hands on and around the actual kit. I like the 20/80 idea suggested above. Good technique and speed are only as good as you can apply them musically on the drums.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
All in all, all solos are just compilations of exercises, right?
Definitely not - which is why solos are one of the best ways to practice technique. The great thing about solos is you have to make them sound like music - you’re making that next step past playing drills, and now concentrating on touch, sensitivity, musicality, phrasing... One of the ways I practice solos is looping a measure or phrase in order to get it down - which in effect - turns it into an exercise. This takes the measure or phrase out of context, so once I get the mechanics down, the next step is musically integrating it into the piece.

It depends where you are fundamentally with your hands, to suggest how much should be exercises vs solos. You don’t want to get into any bad habits with solos if you don’t have the foundation yet.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
Many students are comfortable with playing individual rudiments, but not as comfortable transitioning between rudiments and other rhythms.

Genazvale, I know from your previous posts that you have been working on the level system style motions, so I wrote out an example for you. Most people are comfortable with the motions of the paradiddle - as seen in example A. However, in example B the motions must change to prepare for the upcoming accented rhythms. So you see that paradiddles are not always down, up, tap, tap.

So, example A is similar to practicing technique exercises. Working through solos and musical phrases would be similar to example B.





Hope this helps,

Jeff
 
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beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
From a personal standpoint, recently I have not had as much kit time, but I have had lots of pad time. My playing has increased faster than ever doing nothing BUT rudiments and exercises.

Now when I play solos, licks, chops it is SO much easier. I'm talking next to zero drumset time and all exercises, rudiments to a click for an extended period.

Once you have the technique, speed, and ability to change subdivisions, sticking, etc on the pad moving them around the kit is easy.

A ton of people say "just play" but as a teacher I have had the best students work more on the pad.

I agree setting a click and transitioning from the rudiments is key, swapping subdivisions on the fly.. playing paradiddles as triplets, displacement, etc this is the stuff that MAKES a solo.. once you can actually DO it, then you can spend time moving it around the kit making it sound good..... It's hard to learn by "playing a solo" when you don't have the basics down.


I guess the opinion here is pretty split, but I have no complaints about my chops, and from a personal standpoint my playing has really improved as of lately.
 

Genazvale

Junior Member
Thank you very much, guys, especially to jeffwj. It didn't help me to figure out, but a lot of good advises here :)

Now I spend 1h on technique (pad), 1h on the kit, and 1h on playing solos (pad). Looks like a good balance for me.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
These things are way too deep for generalizations.

You'll get into a lot just pure semantics as well.

Some technique things are good to work on, but playing solos will often give you info of what types of exercises you should do and create for yourself to fix challenges you face in those solos.

If you're an improvising musician there will be things showing up that hinder your flow. Again, you would be better of figuring out specific ways to work on those things and not just blindly work on stuff you know too well and have no relation to the real challenges that stop you from expressing yourself how you want.

Same goes for anything regardless of your level or stuff you want to getgood at.

Say you have a list of 12 exercises. You diligently work on all of these to the same degree every day. Still, there are some that are super easy and a couple that trip you up ever time. Then it 's time to rethink your focus and the order you do things in. Do only those difficult ones, even on at a time if you have to, until everything is on the same level.
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
Split your time between pad-rudiments and drum set-playing to music and skip soloing until you’re comfortable with keeping time and simple fills. There’s a huge difference between pad work and drum work/ time keeping to music.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I'm of the opinion that learning a solo without knowing rudiments is like reading a book in a foreign language without speaking that language. Sure you can do it, but it means nothing as far as getting anything useful out of it. Can you replicate it if you don't know what it is you just did? Can you watch someone else solo and break it down to understand what they did? Probably not. If you don't speak the language fluently, you will end up reverting to what you already know and growth will be minimal. You don't want to be stuck as a three year old forever do you?
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I'm of the opinion that learning a solo without knowing rudiments is like reading a book in a foreign language without speaking that language. Sure you can do it, but it means nothing as far as getting anything useful out of it. Can you replicate it if you don't know what it is you just did? Can you watch someone else solo and break it down to understand what they did? Probably not. If you don't speak the language fluently, you will end up reverting to what you already know and growth will be minimal. You don't want to be stuck as a three year old forever do you?
100%

It's the same as googling drum chops, and learning a chop or lick off YouTube. You now know one drum fill. Learn the rudiments/concepts to make up that fill, displace them, modulate them, move them around and you know 1000 drum fills that are not pre determined.
 
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