My speed has stalled

John Lamb

Senior Member
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.
Agreed... with the addendum that you can't tighten up to much. It is easy to think control means you need to activate your muscles more. Instead, find control while using your muscles as least a possible.
 

John Lamb

Senior 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.

:)
I love the clarity of your practicing. Your clearly doing some great work and will be breaking through to the next plateau soon!

Re: video #1
- hard to tell, but something is a little off with the fulcrum. You are feeling like you nee to support the stick from underneath?

I like the use of the elbow rotation to play. Excellent foundation and very relaxed. the center of rotation from the elbow is between the pinky and ring finger (trace a line between the tip of your elbow and the big bump at your right on the pinky side, these mark the axis) - noticing the arm turning around this can help to further loosen you up and reduce the desire to let the pinkies hang out. The fingers shouldn't be used at this point, so don't worry about them for the bounce stroke.

With the bounce stroke, however, you shouldnt pick up the stick at all. The stick should return to starting position on its own. To achieve this you need to throw the stick at the head

Re: Video #2

Ruh Ruoh. It looks effortful here. There's going to be a much easier way to play.

2 things.... first, your thumbs appear to be far more closed than they should be. It looks like maybe you are holding them in fairly close. Even in French Grip (thumb on top) they should still be open. If tension isn't helping you play, it is hurting, and you only need just enough squeeze from the thumb to maintain the fulcrum and that's it.

Second, it seems you are doing a kind of karate-chop movement with the wrist. there isn't a lot of range of motion in that direction, and this is not really safe to do in the long run. Besides, the waving goodbye movement is much more powerful.

You should be able to play bounce strokes at this speed.

How much of this is playing on a pad that is so low? If it is your only option you can, fwiw, tilt the pad away from you to improve the striking angle.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
I love the clarity of your practicing. Your clearly doing some great work and will be breaking through to the next plateau soon!

1) hard to tell, but something is a little off with the fulcrum. You are feeling like you nee to support the stick from underneath?

2) first, your thumbs appear to be far more closed than they should be. It looks like maybe you are holding them in fairly close. Even in French Grip (thumb on top) they should still be open. If tension isn't helping you play, it is hurting, and you only need just enough squeeze from the thumb to maintain the fulcrum and that's it.

3) it seems you are doing a kind of karate-chop movement with the wrist. there isn't a lot of range of motion in that direction, and this is not really safe to do in the long run. Besides, the waving goodbye movement is much more powerful.

4) How much of this is playing on a pad that is so low? If it is your only option you can, fwiw, tilt the pad away from you to improve the striking angle.
Thanks so much for taking the time to review the videos in detail. To respond to your points:

1) Can you expand on what you man by the fulcrum looking a little off? I'm not quite sure what you mean. Have you an example of how the fulcrum should look?

2) I'm not sure what you mean by thumbs being open or closed. What does an open thumb grip look like?

3) Agreed - I'm going to stick to the waving motion and shoot the video again.

4) Agreed - I've just put another two pillows under the pad and got it higher and things do seem easier. I have it at a height where my forearms are almost parallel with the ground and almost at the same height as the pad.

Just shot another video trying to put into practice some of what you've said. I also upped the speed to 260bpm:

https://youtu.be/JAwV6liUFwA
 
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JustJames

Platinum Member
The answers obvious: you've achieved all you're going to achieve as a drummer, and it's downhill from here.

:)
 

Grolubao

Senior Member
I would just get some lessons to sort out that technique. May I suggest my teacher Christiaan Oyens that studied with Murray Spivack. He'll get you that technique sorted
 

DW-Doug

Senior Member
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.
Ahh, but how are your flamadiddles and double and triple flamadiddles? Therein could lie the rub... Not to mention the reverse flamadiddles.

Personally, I probably never had any speed to lose. I am a drum popsicle. Well, you know, freezing is possible.
 
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Brian

Gold Member
Thanks again for the encouraging words. Looking forward to my first lesson, hopefully next week.
As I went through learning the rudiments and so forth, really mastering some of them ( so I thought), practice became more about approach and how loose I could hold the sticks in my hand, how fluid each stroke became.

Speed and time is very important, and feeling and articulation. I noticed you are very rigid, which is pretty common as a beginner. You might want to try thinking loose, and playing off the drum or surface more. Perfecting each stroke, and every motion of the stroke individually, rather than thinking about playing faster.

You will definitely play faster by slowly and meticulously perfecting things on the microscale.
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
Thanks so much for taking the time to review the videos in detail. To respond to your points:

1) Can you expand on what you man by the fulcrum looking a little off? I'm not quite sure what you mean. Have you an example of how the fulcrum should look? </quote>

I'm not sure what it is, it is hard to tell from the one angle. There are a LOT of good fulcrums, and even double fulcrums, but they all involve pinching the stick slightly between the a thumb bone and a finger bone

<quote> 2) I'm not sure what you mean by thumbs being open or closed. What does an open thumb grip look like?</quote>



<quote>
3) Agreed - I'm going to stick to the waving motion and shoot the video again.

4) Agreed - I've just put another two pillows under the pad and got it higher and things do seem easier. I have it at a height where my forearms are almost parallel with the ground and almost at the same height as the pad.</quote>

The muscles in your arm have the greatest mechanical advantage when the forearm is parallel to the ground.

Just shot another video trying to put into practice some of what you've said. I also upped the speed to 260bpm:

https://youtu.be/JAwV6liUFwA
Your pinky is sticking out because your are bending your wrist to the side to stick your thumb forward, as per this photo.

http://image.wikifoundry.com/image/1/DJQofC0xXGE-gTM1aJz2CQ114203/GW300H600

Bending your wrist in this way creates a lot of unneeded tension and compression, especially on the pinky side of the wrist, and makes any movement at the wrist harder.

I'm writing an illustrated section on this in my upcoming book on the anatomy + biomechanics of drumming.

Depending on your he fulcrum, the stick should stick out at an 45-60 degree angle from the arm. Index finger fulcrums are bigger than middle finger fulcrums.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
If it helps, here's my philosophy on speed:

If you want to play fast, practice no faster than you can play perfectly and consistently with the next faster tempo's technique such that you teach the body what you want it to do. After 20-40 minutes of reps near the top of your comfort zone you can almost always easily jump to the next faster tempo (of course you will eventually hit the point of diminishing returns as you approach warp speed).

Many people practice "wrong" their whole lives and live frustrated at the lack of progress. It's amazing how quickly roadblocks can be removed with a bit of guidance. I find that when students make a few technical changes and retrain some hand motions, they quickly make great gains in groove, time, feel, flow, endurance and speed. Any injuries of course are things of the past, an injury tells you that you're doing something wrong.

And, my approach isn't about speed or chops directly, it's about building relaxed musical hands where there's as much nature involved as possible and minimal player's influence on the stick. It's about getting out of your own way and learning how to most effectively manipulate the stick. Speed & chops are just natural byproducts.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Once again guys I thank you all for your patience to view what I've been doing and your time to reply and give valued input.

I think I'm trying to run before I can walk. I do have the "luxury", if I can call it that, of being away from home thus can practice as long as I want without fearing the wrath of a neglected wife.

However there has been times that I've put down my sticks as I'd had enough for the day.

I'm back in Blighty in a few days and have already made contact with a drum tutor. Can't wait to get some one-on-one tuition and also to get behind my beautiful new kit.

In the meantime I'll keep chipping away at the rudiments I've learned thus far and work towards getting them as good as I can get them. I won't say perfect just yet tho.

One question I will ask tho. There's 40 rudiments out there from what I can see. Which ones should I learn for sure and in what order? I'm a little concerned that I'm not doing them in a logical order such that the learnings from one lead naturally into the next. Can anyone give me which 10 I should master first for example?

Thanks again guys.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
To me
Singles
Doubles
Paradiddles (all 8 of them)
Flams

The rest is just a mix of all the above .

Paradiddle is a mix of single and doubles as well but used so often , have to include it .
 

Torkerz

Senior Member
Ah the wall... Welcome to it. I have hit it plenty of times. Maybe change the focus of your playing. The practice room essentially is to go through the motions of playing and to address areas you're not comfortable with - can you play a shuffle beat really clean and sight read the bass drum melody beneath that same pattern every time? Do you struggle with new musical styles? These are questions you need to ask yourself and address them in the practice room.
I always found if I hit a wall, go riiiiiight back to beginning and slow down if anything! Really focus on your motions and then begin to move the speed back up, and you may notice improvement.

You will find on a gig or something you will throw out a single stroke roll faster than you ever thought you could! Adrenaline and 'something else' takes over and you can never replicate in the practice room! The point here this is that maintenance is important, but once proficient, then move on. Tough but your muscles will remember!

I would also like to reiterate: Speed isn't everything. Groove, sight reading, time keeping, different musical styles are just if not more important than getting a single stroke roll as fast as a machine gun. If you're entering WFD, then fair play, but on a gig a bass player and band will appreciate your pocket and overall musicianship more than how fast you can blow the kit up on a fill...
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Being serious and having a routine to work on the basics if technique will be a great asset for you.

It is about making music though, so that should be the focus.

About speed. IMO If you have the diposition, there's really no reason to have technique, speedwise, that surpasses you ears and general musical ability, so working on everything in parallell is recommended.

Now, sometimes there's nothing more fun that blazing around the kit regardless, so a litle pinch of salt with my comments is adviced.

The trick for me has always been to be able to work on the stuff I need to work on the most, but make sure that I find a way to do exactly that, which is motivating to my own unique personality.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
There's 40 rudiments out there from what I can see. Which ones should I learn for sure and in what order?
Man, sign up for Bill Bachman's program, and use it as a supplement to your private lessons. At $20/month, it's the best deal you'll get. With some solid stick technique and trained hand motions, the rudiments will come much easier. That said, the rudiments belong to families (singles, doubles, paradiddles, flams, swiss), so start with the first two or so from each family.

The dirty truth is that you can play many genres and songs w/o a great knowledge of the rudiments. As beginners, most drummers gain their hand technique from marching band or practicing the rudiments, and then transfer that technique to the kit. So it's not really rudiment knowledge itself, but rather the hand techniques that come along with learning them.

Bill's training program, however, is much more intelligent and streamlined. It's the more efficient way to go, even if you were to pursue rudiment-based drumming exclusively. You'll learn rudiments, yes, but more importantly you'll learn effective practice strategies. Btw, I don't know Bill, but use and teach from his materials all the time.

About your videos: you need to learn the free (full) stroke in a bad way. Like, really tear apart your hand motions, stick path, pad height, etc. Which would probably be Bill's first lesson to you.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Man, sign up for Bill Bachman's program
+1 for this. Within a week, there was a huge change in my stroke. Within a month there was a huge change in my playing. I signed up for two months and it was a godsend. In retrospect, I should have signed up far earlier to the site than I did and saved myself a lot of hassle.

I'll probably sign up again later once my hand-over-foot work is in better shape.

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123712
 
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