Key to getting to the next drumming level?

legobeast

Member
Hi folks,

I've been playing the drums for about three years now. Started on an electronic kit, and for the last half year or so have moved up to an acoustic. It's been great fun, although I take it quite seriously (albeit in spare time as I have a full time job). Most days I practise for about an hour - a bit more over the weekend. I've been learning myself, working through the really useful DVD of Tommy Igoe, and making use also of others by Jojo Mayer and Thomas Lang. Add to that a bit of rudiment work on a pad, a bit of playing along to songs, and some irregular sessions with a few other musicians, and that's about where I am.

Progress was really quick early on, but has gradually slowed. No great surprise there, I suppose. However, right now I seem to be pretty much stuck. If I work on something particular, then that will improve (like learning some songs for eg) but then other stuff can go down (like rudiments), and vice versa. It's super frustrating. Maybe the solution is to do 2 hrs a day instead of one, but that's not so easy for me to manage given other commitments.

So, what I am wondering is what is the most efficient way of getting past the apparent block I seem to be in. For those of you with loads of experience, and particularly for those that have had similar experiences to mine, maybe this is obvious. It would be great to get some feedback on what is the best most efficient way to get through a technical block. I should also add that perhaps the greatest challenges for me are hand and foot speed and control.

Be great to get your thoughts!

James
 

Knight_In_Tunisia

Junior Member
Have you tried the Konami code (get it? Next level, cheat code...ok, it's lame)?

But seriously, how is your grip/posture while playing? Is your kit comfortable for you? These may seem like no brainers, but my sticking with my left (non-dominant) hand sucked due to a childhood injury until a few weeks ago. I've been a drummer for over 10 years but could never attain speed or precision with my left hand. My double-stroke rolls were horrid. When I switched from match to traditional grip less than a month ago, as well as forcing myself to relax in grip and posture, I found that in just a week I had gained better left-handed sticking than ever. So all I'm saying is try different things and be conscious of what your body is telling you and as long as you keep up the practice you will get outta this rut. You just have to experiment and figure out what works best for you. Best of luck!
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
whenever i get in a "technical block" i try to narrow down exactly what it is i'm having trouble playing, then i play whatever that is over and over again to a metronome starting slow and gradually speeding up until i get it up to tempo. when i say over and over i mean like hundreds of times over a period of weeks, depending on how difficult it is. after i get it, i'll continue to play it in my practice sessions for shorter periods, just to make sure i don't forget it.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
Hi folks,

So, what I am wondering is what is the most efficient way of getting past the apparent block I seem to be in. For those of you with loads of experience, and particularly for those that have had similar experiences to mine, maybe this is obvious.
You are right. The solution is obvious to me. You have been trying to teach yourself and are now feeling like you have no direction to get you to the next level. You should have a teacher. Find the best teacher you can. This will allow you to have a goal and plan.

I say this not only as a teacher but as a student (I just had a jazz piano lesson yesterday and am going to DC for a lesson tomorrow).

Jeff
 

Ferret

Senior Member
You are right. The solution is obvious to me. You have been trying to teach yourself and are now feeling like you have no direction to get you to the next level. You should have a teacher. Find the best teacher you can. This will allow you to have a goal and plan.

I say this not only as a teacher but as a student (I just had a jazz piano lesson yesterday and am going to DC for a lesson tomorrow).

Jeff
Either this, or do what I have done and find musicians that force you to get better.

I have kinda progressed through the projects as I've gotten older...high school jazz band+marching band... metal cover band on the side to get some chops, kept up the jazz and symphonic stuff in college with much more attention to detail, and I'm now playing with a prog/tech-metal band that is faster than most other drummers in my area can play and never in a straight 4 feel with ease. So my attention has turned to latin groove and african polyrhythms.


Listen to as many different styles of music as you can and force yourself to be comfortable playing with other musicians in all of them. Eventually, you'll get to the point where you never ever have a creative block, but are more overwhelmed with exactly where to start on the flood of new things to learn.
 

lochday

Senior Member
One hour a day is not enough. Many musicians work 4 hours a day on their instrument. As you say you have other commitments, two hours a day would be more interesting. You could split them into, say one hour for technical stuff (rudiments etc.) and one hour for music (playing along songs, independence work, new groove, latin stuff, jazz, so many things , etc.)

What is important is to set goals (what kind of drummer do you want to be?) and have a teacher! Jeff is right about this.
You could also do an inventory of your skills : what you can do really well versus what you suck at.

To determine this, the best way is to record yourself and listen to your drumming.
Are you pleased with what you hear?
- Yes? Be proud of it!
- No? Tthen this has to be worked again untill you are pleased and happy with it.

Be careful though, sometimes we are happy with what we are doing while actually it is not as good as that.

Only a good teacher will tell you what to really do.
 

nocTurnal

Senior Member
Hi folks,

I've been learning myself, working through the really useful DVD of Tommy Igoe [...]
I imagine you meant to write that you have the whole Groove Essentials package (Book/Poster/CD/DVD), right? Just checking to make sure... If so, I'm curious; what Groove # are you on? (They are listed in the book/poster as 1 - 47.) Or did you skip through sections? Also, since you have a full time job, maybe you could afford a HD camera with 1080p picture quality. You can get them here for as low as $150. I realize you're in Tanzania, and will cost a bit more. Film yourself playing, post it on youtube, then link to it on this forum. That's what I eventually plan on doing. That way, I can get some feedback on my playing. One more thing, the Zoom - H2 Handy Recorder has been oft recommend by others on this forum. I saved it to my future Drum-Shopping list. You'll be able to self evaluate your playing with pristine studio-like audio quality.
 
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Skulmoski

Gold Member
It's often said that the first sign of insanity is doing the same things but expecting different results! You are correct to investigate changing what you do. If you really want to get to the next level, then i) take lessons from a competent teacher, and ii) follow a rigorous practice routine. In just a few months, you will see tremendous improvements. But remember, the lessons are not enough; you have to be dedicated to follow a rigorous practice routine.

Good luck

GJS
 

legobeast

Member
Hi Guys,

Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to respond to me question.

The most commons elements in the responses seem to be:

1. Get a teacher!

2. Be dedicated and put in the hours

Unfortunately, I doubt if there are any teachers here in Tanzania, although there are lots of good drummers in Dar es Salaam, where I live (biggest city). I could try to get a better drummer to come and help, but with drummers that are not trained teachers, it would not be like having a teacher in the US or Europe.

More hours? Yep, I could try that. I'm keen. Very useful comments on focusing really hard on the particular technical blocks (foot speed and right hand speed are the main things for me. I will work on those.

I think the posture is okayish. I'm certainly comfortable enough at the kit, although I do have a minor issue with the right hand riding the hats knocking the left playing backbeats etc. on the snare.

Posting a video? Great idea. Are there folks that would be prepared to comment on a small vid? I have a camera and could post something.

Recording? Tommy Igoe goes on about that a lot. I have just ordered a mic, so should be able to try that soon.

Progress with Tommy Igoe? I can pretty much do all of the grooves on his first DVD, with a few exceptions. At one time I had learnt most of them and did them one after another from memory. Tempo is an issue, however. He does slow and fast version. I can only cope with the fast versions on about a quarter - so the rhythmic aspects aren't too problematic, but the speed is. On the second DVD, I have been able to do most of the grooves I've tried, although struggle for the right speed on his 'ghosted half-time shuffel'. Still working through the last third.

Any more thoughts would be really helpful.

Thanks a bunch,

James
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I experience times where nothing seems to progress and I'm frustrated, too.tt As far as I hear from many different drummers (or musicians in general) that's absolutely normal and common. If it doesn't last for weeks or months I'd say, that is.

Other than that I second the recommondations to get a teacher, and to listen to many styles of music, find new inspirations. Maybe also check out some different styles on the drumset too? Tommy Igoe gives you quite an overview but his point is not to go very deep style-wise I believe, and Thomas Lang is all about technique and coordination, but barely helps you musically IMO.

About the hours: I believe that quality goes over quantity in that matter. You can be much more efficient in 1 hour than somebody in 4 hours, depending on what you do in your time. If you manage to put more time in your craft, use it well, otherwise it'll be more of a psychological effect.
 

legobeast

Member
How cool is drummerworld!!!

In a short thread, posts from all corners of the States, Abu Dhabi, France, Switzerland and here in Tanzania! Great stuff!

Thanks to the last contributor. I note the point about the efficiency of practise. However, don't you think that drumming is one of those things where hours matter, since it's by constant repetition that your muscles build up the memory of where to go when and with what force? Actually I think that the greatest improvements I have made have been with the overall kit craft. i.e. getting around the kit more efficiently. I am sure that has come from just the time put in building up the muscle memory. The biggest blocks seem to be more physical, and I suspect may need technical solutions. I need to look harder at Jojo's DVD. Really good information in there, in contrast to Thomas Lang's which I have only looked at a few times in a year as most of it is so scary and intimidating.

Since I can't access a pro teacher, maybe I will try out the video approach. Not sure if others have used this on the forum, haven't checked, but will make an effort to check.

Cheers guys,

James
 
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