Has practicing on pillows helped with your speed or control

T

thatoneguy

Guest
I'd like to emphasize regardless of surface (pillow, lazy boy, leg, pad, snare, tom, etc.), what is clear is practice leads to progress. However, it is not what, how hard, or how much you practice. It is how smart you practice. It is good to to develop efficient, productive practice exercises for each aspect of drumming you currently are seeking to master that work best for you.
 
Pillows. That's a great idea.
For years, I would practice with my most beat up snare head, then replace it with a new one for a show or a recording session.
Practicing with an electronic kit, has a similar effect, since the rebound is significantly diminished.
 

Mak_quise

Junior Member
do you guys simply find drum loops, sample dry, and chop them up and use the kicks, snares, and hats and store them for the use on your tracks in the future and EQ/layer them when necessary?
 

GBaslJazzer

Junior Member
Yes, and here's an easy way to think about this concept if you're still debating whether or not to give it a try.

Let's just assume that you spend a portion of your day (hopefully a minimal one) sitting on your duff watching TV. Which do you think is more benefitial to your drumming: to be practicing your single stroke roll on a pillow while watching said mind-numbing program, or by not working your hands at all?

We as drummers need to be opportunists. When practice opportunities present themselves, like while watching television, we need to take full advantage of them.

Sorry, I know this thread is two years old but I felt it needed resurrecting...
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's not the pillows themselves aren't good or bad it's how you play on them. Bashing away on the is as bad as bashing away on anything. Getting extra resistance while using prooper clean technique I find quite useful. My version isn't usually a pillow, though. I do it Jojo's way where I put a towel on top of a pad and fold it however many times I want.

It builds strength, endurance and also gets the blood flowing which is why I find it a great morning warm-up if my muscles are stiff from lots of playing and practicing.

Just use your head about it.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
It's not the pillows themselves aren't good or bad it's how you play on them. Bashing away on the is as bad as bashing away on anything. Getting extra resistance while using prooper clean technique I find quite useful. My version isn't usually a pillow, though. I do it Jojo's way where I put a towel on top of a pad and fold it however many times I want.

It builds strength, endurance and also gets the blood flowing which is why I find it a great morning warm-up if my muscles are stiff from lots of playing and practicing.

Just use your head about it.
agreed

Prologix makes a great workout pad called Blue Lightening for workouts like this .....very soft but offers slight rebound


also extremely quiet for late night practice.....my wifes favorite pad :)


http://www.prologixpercussion.com/products.asp?CatID=13
 

JohnW

Silver Member
I used to do it a lot on a cushion or pillow; or sometimes on a folded towel on a pad. Then I'd remove or add a fold for more or less resistance. I found it very good for building up my wrists and getting good control of singles, doubles and unaccented paradiddles. Also for stamina when I played really heavy rock. As long as you follow the same rules of thumb for playing on a pad or actual drum, that is stopping when you feel tension or pain, it can be beneficial. And I didn't always practice it high handed and fast. With a little adjustment it helped my quiet playing on the set- right out the Stick Control instruction page.

But it didn't help me directly with finger technique. It did however, help me eliminate a lot of unwanted arm and wrist motion. So when I added finger technique there were fewer variables to deal with (like side to side motion) as I tried to control the stick.

-John
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Not sure there is an equivalent for the feet. You pick your sticks up playing on pillows, there are no springs, with a footpedal, you rebound the beater by getting your foot the heck out of out of the way. You are not gripping the footboard with your toes and pulling it up, so I don't think there is a direct comparison. Playing heel down and lifting your foot out of the way so the beater rebounds fully is a killer exercise, but it requires a heel down technique. It will make the front of your shin burn. That's about the closest you can get with the feet I think.
 
Interesting. I sometimes do pillow practice b/c like every right-handed drummer my left hand is a wimp, and it's easier and faster to get a 'burn' going if I work on a pillow. But I actually found that doing it was hurting my ability to handle rebounds on the kit.

It's interesting b/c one thing 'genius' drummers say over and over is that you have to have soft hands. Soft hands, loose fingers, relaxation all lead to speed. And sure there's benefit in building muscle and endurance, and you can't do that by relaxing ... but pillow work tends to give me drummer claw.

Recently I started putting a towel over my practice pad, but not because I'm a genius like Mayer ... rather, the tick-tick-tick of my pad was driving my wife crazy. Good to know I'm on the right track.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Think the reason many dislike pillow practice is that there is natural tendency to grip hard and burry the sticks into the pillow to build strength. I would not find that beneficial either. You still need to do it with good technique.

When I do dobles it pretty much forces me to do the oppsite and improves the timing of my technique, because it that's not good you can't get decent doubles at all.

This is why I like to warm up this way. It forces me to relax and be loose. It improves everything.


I don't grip harder when I play pillows. I could say I do the oposite, but that wouldn't be completely accurate. I just try to adapt. The things to check are the same on any surface.

I don't consider it a way for a beginner to get ahead, though. I think you should have a good understanding of technique and master the rubber pad before you pkay too much with pillows.
 

PeteN

Silver Member
I tried the pillow practice on my long slow journey a while back and while it did help build up speed and endurance it ended up feeling like a one trick pony.

When I sat behind the kit I had to find the correct feel for each drum and I was also playing into the heads, not good at all.

These days I practice all my rudiments and sticking practice on the kit and that has provided me with the greatest leap in progress so far.

Regarding the practice pad, I don't really use rebound too much anymore unless I'm working on my push pull exercises.

I think doubles and moeller exercises around the kit practiced slowly as a longer term strategy will prove way more rewarding.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
This is interesting. How? By taking rebound away and having you focusing on your wrists?
That is exactly correct. When there is literally no bounce, all you can do is work out your wrists. It trains me for control, rather than always relying on rebound which can quickly get out of hand if you don't have that control.

What kind of exercises did you run on pillows, for the doubles?
Probably the first thing that jumps to mind is an oldie but a goody. The "long roll" is a rudiment deal that is double-strokes that start slow, but increase in sub-division while maintaining tempo, and then back down to slow. Focus should be on playing each note cleanly, and very importantly, consistently. Each stroke should sound the same, and this is conveyed on paper as an accent mark for the second stroke of each double. The accented second stroke forces you to use your wrist instead of bounce, but the pillow really reinforces this as there is no bounce to the surface to use.

First example google came up with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeFT5PxEmCU
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
When I sat behind the kit I had to find the correct feel for each drum and I was also playing into the heads, not good at all.
There is no "correct feel" for each drum. You should be teaching your body to perform these movements without relying on a specific surface.

What if you sit at a different, or house kit? What if you want to play a intricate roll on your floor tom that might not even have any bounce for being tuned low? Surface bounce is a tool to use, not something to rely on or "get used to" being one way or another. This is exactly why things like practicing on a pillow is good.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
There is no "correct feel" for each drum. You should be teaching your body to perform these movements without relying on a specific surface.

What if you sit at a different, or house kit? What if you want to play a intricate roll on your floor tom that might not even have any bounce for being tuned low? Surface bounce is a tool to use, not something to rely on or "get used to" being one way or another. This is exactly why things like practicing on a pillow is good.
once again Watso nails it directly on the head

the whole post.....but especially the bold
 

rdb

Senior Member
I recall that Billy Cobham recommends practicing with a pillow with a coin taped to the center.
 

PeteN

Silver Member
There is no "correct feel" for each drum. You should be teaching your body to perform these movements without relying on a specific surface.

What if you sit at a different, or house kit? What if you want to play a intricate roll on your floor tom that might not even have any bounce for being tuned low? Surface bounce is a tool to use, not something to rely on or "get used to" being one way or another. This is exactly why things like practicing on a pillow is good.
The only thing you should teach your body to do is play a drum kit not a pillow, and if you get that part down you'll be able to play a pillow all day long without ever practicing on one if that's what excites you :)

Why not practice rudiments on a low tuned floor tom? You still have to learn how to play a floor tom not a pillow.

Why not practice your chops on a practice pad and do not utilize the bounce of the pad?

The pad is a joke if you spoil yourself with its inherent rebound. What I suggest is practice clean and slow on a pad without bounce 90% of the time, the other 10% feel free to spoil yourself.

That will teach someone discipline while improving chops, the pillow is just silly in my opinion.

Also...if you practice your chops on a floor tom your hands will learn to get good sound out of it.

And you misunderstood when I said "correct feel", you make it sound like I'm about to take out a drum dial to dial in someone else's drums accordingly to how I prefer my drums to feel lol.

In the end, we're all wired different and for some pillow practice might help but for me I find less obstacles to overcome the more time I spend practicing on the actual drum kit.
 
Top