Goal oriented practice? (or the psychology of newbism)


Junior Member
Hi guys. I'm a new drummer (at 41). I have played guitar for years and have decided to try something new. Here's my dilemma. Every time I sit behind the kit, I just fall into the same beat that I have already gotten comfortable with. I find that after about 10 minutes I've lost sense of where I should be going. I don't play along to music yet. Should I be? Is it more logical to play along to solidify my skills?
I have watched vids from onlinedrummer and freedrumlessons. I just received Stick Control and The New Breed. But I'm still clueless on how I should approach this systematically. I work on some basic rudiments (single stroke roll, double stroke roll, paradiddle) pretty often. I guess I'm just looking for a good bunch of info that can take me systematically from a novice playing a basic 2 beat, to a guy who can drop a fill with confidence. Or better yet, play solo with no music and really feel good about what I produce.
What would you guys advise?


Senior Member
Well it seems like you've already got a handle on what to do in order to increase your coordination and control (rudiments and those books will last you a lifetime).

In order to get you away from that same old beat, I'd recommend playing along to your favorite tunes. That should effectively open your body up to playing new kinds of beats and fills, and once the muscle memory kicks in, youre beat/fill repertoire will have expanded greatly. Good luck!

John Galt

As a newbie myself, but without other musical experience, I am working through Ted Reeds Syncopation. In itself, its pretty good, but my teacher has me going round the kit playing the various lessons in the book.
Two things occur. First is the actual feel of moving round the drumset. And secondly, the sound that comes from the various combinations is pretty impressive.
I like the musicality it provides and gets my ear used to hearing what sounds good as a combination, in what time space and style. Putting some of these lessons to a basic rock beat and using a bar or two provides me with a basic fill, and hey presto.......I'm making music!!!
I love it!!!


Senior Member
i would echo jonesy's advice of playing along to your favourite records and trying to "lift" the beats.

there's also a book called "The Drummer's Cookbook" and it contains a plethora of variations on the basic rock groove which is helpful in coming up with new grooves.

Re: using Stick Control
What worked for me was to go through one column of exercises per night on the practice pad at 40bpm. It took about 40 minutes, After about 3 weeks I was hooked, and amazed at the progress I made in my ability to play with confidence and dynamics.

Re: using The New Breed
Do EXACTLY what Gary Chester says to do in the introduction of the book, including the singing. Do it slow, at 40bpm and your confidence will go up for sure, and your creativity as well.

Re: Fills
Keep 'em simple. If drumming is a language, then I liken rolls to swear words: there's a time and a place to use them, but use them too much and it just sounds vulgar. Practice a simple variation of a rhythm on a snare drum, then move the accents to different parts of the kit to "orchestrate" it. Its difficult to explain exatly what I mean, but listen listen listen to your favourite drummers and try to mimic what they do.

Good luck and happy drumming!


Silver Member
If you play guitar then you should be able to pick up reading drum music.
Buy drum books and start going through them, this will give you direction, at the same time it will enable you to begin building an arsenal of grooves and fills which you may or may not grow out of. However its a start. As you progress from beg. to int. to advanced you will find that there is always a book there to challenge and hone your skills.

Like our friend said playing to music is also good. but right now I think instruction in the form of reading/playing and doing rudiments will benefit you more. After all, the better equipped you become the more you are going to enjoy the music you play along to.


Senior Member
Now, here's what I'd do if I were you:

Drop "The New Breed" for now, seriously. I'm not saying it's not a good book, I love it, but you're just starting out, so you want to work on something that's not too hard, but hard enough to challenge and motivate you, through results. I feel that The New Breed is a bit of an overkill for now.

Buy Tommy Igoe's "Groove Essentials" play-along book + DVD (if you can afford both) - They are BRILLIANT, and the book has play-along tracks for all grooves! Wonderful, huh?
In addition to working through grooves with GE, work on "Stick Control". Use 1-3 minutes on each exercise, and go on (if you feel comfortable with it).
Use 1-2 weeks on one page, working on it for 30 mins a day or something (or more, if you have the time and motivation, hehe!) and then move on to the next page after you're comfortable with it. You can do this on a pad - this way you can spend the "my-neighbors-hate-me-time-behind-the-kit" on Groove Essentials.

Then later on, when you feel ready for new challenges, then have a blast with The New Breed, Conversations on Clave etc.

Enjoy the journey! =)


Senior Member
Find a good teacher. There really is no substitute when you're starting out.
PBW is right, the best advice for any beginner.

the new breed is wonderful, with the right teacher and attitude its not too much to start learning from that book straight away.Gradually working through the ideas, you don't need to be at a certain level.

playing along to things gets easier with the more time you play. i think trying to play what you hear from day one is great. simple patterns work well, and if the actual song grooves have stuff you can't play, you can always add them in later on as you improve.

overtime what you hear in the drum parts will evolve as you learn more which will lead to you being able to teach yourself songs you'd like to play.

stay positive and patient and you'll get to where you want to go.


Junior Member
Hi, I'm a newbie at age 36 (and with a BSc Hons in Psychology!), I try not to be too hard on myself when i'm practising, i've only had my new kit for 5 weeks and I already notice improvements. My routine usually starts with me just smacking everything, I don't care about rythym, timing, stick control, my main focus is just getting into the kit and loosing the fear and nervousness. After 10 mins or so I stop fooling around and get into serious practice for 30 mins, headphones on, instructional DVD etc. Working on 20 or so solid beats and grooves and then I play for about another 10 mins just going crazy, smacking the kit and enjoying myself. All the time I remind myself that the reason I am sitting in front of my kit is all down to me, I bought it, I own it, it's mine and I'm in charge of my learning. Don't be too hard on yourself and just enjoy your time with the kit. For what it's worth, I'm really shit but I don't care, I'm having fun and I know i'll be dedicated enough to get better.