My speed has stalled

Mart61

Silver Member
Hi guys

I know I've only been tapping away on a practice pad for a month or two but I seem to have stalled somewhat in getting any faster.

I don't know if it's my practice routine, the way I hold my sticks, my wrist action or what but I just don't seem to be getting any speed to my paradiddles, rolls etc.

I do note that the guys and girls on YouTube that are lightning fast seem to use their fingers rather than wrists to be as fast as they are.

I'm holding the sticks in a loose fulcrum grip in the matched grip style. All my fingers are really doing is buffering the stick rather than paying a part in it hitting the pad.

I'm not too worried about it at the moment as I hope to get back to Blighty next week and will get my first proper lesson in.

However, in the mean time, is there anything I might do to increase my speed?

Any help, suggestions, YouTube or web links would be gratefully received.

Martin
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
Don't worry about speed for now. Many a new drummer has fallen into this trap and let their technique lapse. Focus on playing everything clean and the speed will come along.

Loose is good, loose is what prevents injuries. Look at some of the great drummers playing these blazingly fast parts and how relaxed their hands look. No tension in their limbs. That is the goal. Keep working at that and eventually you're going to be able to play so fast it will make other drummers jealous.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks for those wise and encouraging words. I guess I'm trying to run before I can walk.

I'm sure I will get there, given time.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Everyone here will agree. Don't worry about speed. It sounds weird, but it really does develop itself if you take care and practice your movements and notes in a very exact, and usually slow manner. Find the speed you can really play the pattern the CLEANEST. Then play that speed for your practices.

One day you'll try something a bit faster as you're playing... And it will work. It's weird but real. Your muscles remember those movements you ingrained, and they can execute faster than you can "think" about it at a point.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I'm not as fast as I used to be. There comes a point in playing music where a flurry of notes just doesn't hit the spot and you won't be able get the power to match with rest of what you're playing anyway.

I still noodle around with things that are fast but only where I can make it groovy somehow. That speed is always below my max threshold, which as I mentioned, is a fair bit lower than what it was back when I was practicing for pure speed.

That said, I do think it's important to practice speed; not to break any records, but just to keep your clean speed threshold slightly above what you think you'll need for the music you're doing. As it's been for the last umpteen years, I don't play anything faster than 16th note triplets. 32nds don't usually sound good to my ears unless they're very short bursts.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Once again thanks guys.

To be fair I'm maybe doing better than I think. If I set my metronome at 300BPM and count one tap to every beat I can alternate between eight on a hand, four on a hand, double stroke rolls, single stroke rolls, singe paradiddles, paradiddlediddles, double paradiddles, triple paradiddles and one or two other sticking patterns without think about it and swapping at random.

I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed of that? One thing I do know for sure is that a few weeks ago I couldn't have done that.

:)
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed of that?
Just depends on what you want to do with it. There's raw skill and there's the application of that skill. That's where the pride/shame factors in, IMO.

Sounds like you're on a roll, though! Haha!
 

double_G

Silver Member
one thing that amazed me was the Murray Spivack exercise that Chad Wackerman explained on drumchannel.com [was free for a week at one point]. "Lesson 3: Single Stroke Roll – 15 minute Exercise" is an exercise in patience, relaxation & cleanliness. basically pick 3 tempos & do 16ths for 5 min w/ each tempo [for ex: 120, 140, 160]...never stopping, keeping the strokes as even and relaxed as possible. doing it every damned day for a month...it made a very noticeable difference. no tricks, just patience & dedication to do it every day for 15 or more. sometimes i do 5 tempos to make it 25 min.

+ http://www.drumchannel.com/categories/Master-Class-Chad-Wackerman-Murray-Spivack
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
improvement comes like earthquakes - a constant stream of tiny improvements punctuated by unpredictable, giant, earth shattering changes. It is totally normal to not notice any change for a month or more, even with steady practice. It jsut builds up for a bigger change.

That being said, none of us can say much about your technique. You can't really tell us much, because if you knew what to say you'd know what to change. This is one place where a good teacher can really help.

Each technique has an optimum range of speeds outside of which it doesn't perform well, btw. If you hit one of these, to go faster you need to learn a new way of moving.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
No need to worry about speed at this point.

Good and relaxed technique is the key.

Yes, for the higher speeds you use fingers. Still need the wrists just as much, though.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
It isn't like starting to run, when you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone in order to improve. If you stay within your comfort zone, it will automatically expand. Says she, who is one of the slowest drummers on the planet!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Ah your first plateau. These can linger for some time. An easier way is don't think in terms of speed, think in terms of control. Once you get control....speed is right around the corner. Forget fast. Go for perfect. Clean. Totally in control. Control at a slower speed trumps sloppiness at higher speeds every day of the week.

Once you get perfection and control at a slow speed, then you are ready to move on to a higher tempo. Take it slow, there's no rush. Enjoy the scenery on your trip. It's the journey not the destination. If you can enjoy practicing at slow speeds while you gain control, you have this thing licked. It just takes time spent doing.
 

Winegums

Silver Member
I'd say that you need to strengthen your fingers/forearms to reach higher levels of speed and control. This became very apparent when I was learning blast beats as you're trying to be very consistent and fast. This forced me to focus on my fingers and their role in my playing since blast beats require your snare hand (left or right ) to be matching your kick at 200+ BPM.

I'd seriously look into what your fingers are doing when you're playing and what they can add to your playing.

PS: Speed sort of sneaks up on you over night and all the sudden you break through to a whole new level of playing. I used to be stuck at 190 BPM with my double kicks before I broke through the wall I was stuck at. I didn't do anything special to improve my playing it was like someone had flipped a switch and I jumped up to 220 BPM as my upper limit.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks again for the encouraging words. Looking forward to my first lesson, hopefully next week.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
Thanks again for the encouraging words. Looking forward to my first lesson, hopefully next week.
Yay, fab! Will you be playing your to-die-for new kit and cymbals, or are you going to the teacher? Either way, enjoy it, and be sure to report back :)
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Yay, fab! Will you be playing your to-die-for new kit and cymbals, or are you going to the teacher? Either way, enjoy it, and be sure to report back :)
I'm most likely going to the teacher but he did say he'd come to me too. Looking forward to it. Be good to get home too. This project seems to have been a long one.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks again for the comments. Just cobbled together another (bad) video and, when comparing it to my first, it seems some progress has been made. Whether it's enough for two months of practice is another issue.

Here's my first ever attempt at playing a practice pad

http://youtu.be/jn7Nklpgig8

And here's the video I just shot at 240bpm. I can go to about 320 but not consistently.

http://youtu.be/SQQDPlwD4JQ

God I look fat in this video. Serves me right for having the camera angle pointed upwards.

:)
 
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