What helps you increase your speed?

drumholmes

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It's been a hot topic recently, but how do you all increase your drumming speed?

I know there are lots of methods, for hands, for feet. But I'm looking for all and any answers!
 
Technique.

Watch Jonathan's YouTube video's, (above commenter) is awesome on this subject.

I'll also add Noah Alexxander is also worth watching for quick and succinct video information on the subject.
 
Speed can be increased, but some people are born fast and those people love to show you how fast they are and how they did it. Oh they worked at it for sure, but the work is combined with natural ability. Look at any sport or physical activity and you will find that this is a true statement.

Are you one of the fast ones? Maybe.

I am not.

I was never a twitchy fast guy. I’m a runner, but my kids could easily beat me at a short sprint. If we raced a 5K they would lose. 5K is the speed+endurance combination that my body does well. Yes I trained, but I could train like mad at sprinting and not beat a moderately natural sprinter.

The effort is worthwhile. I only write this so you can avoid the self criticism that I experienced. Working hard on my singles got them clean (which is the road to speed) and fast enough. My perceived slowness also pushed me to achieve clean doubles, which has been invaluable.

Good luck!
 
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Almost everyone concentrates just on technique and that is why they fail. If you don't have a PLAN on WHAT to play on WHAT, it's just like uncontrolled "brute force."

Suppose we want to play a race from Nashville (where the moderator apparently lives) to Tampa (Florida). You can be the fastest in the world, but if you don't know how to read (example: the names of these cities), you don't know the roads you should take, the laws, etc. You can rush towards Alaska ...

Let's say you're playing a song and you want to play "something fast", something similar happens: what figures, what subdivision, in what part and total duration, can you "pre-listen" them, etc.?

Who doesn't know someone who can maybe make a roll very fast but doesn't know how to apply it... can only go fast and straight...

bateria velocidad.jpg
 
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What helps you increase your speed?

Practicing for long stints at a speed that I can play with good form. Maybe 10% BPM below my max.
+
Alternating between 16th notes and triplets
 
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I do things slow-fast-slow....

I will get to a "trouble tempo" - where I can't play the passage with proper technique - the note that tempo. The next few days I will slowly work my self past that tempo by adding 5 beats per session.

recently it has been flam rudiments

say I am working Flam Accents:
- I will set the met to slowly speed up from 120bpm
- it adds 3 beats to the tempo every 4 measures
- currently, I can get up to about 170 with good technique, 190 is where my left hand starts to tense up
- so I spend the next few reps/day just going from 120-190
- after a while, I relax gettin up to 190, so then I add 10 more beats and push to that
- once I get to the "trouble tempo", I stay there for a while, then slow back town incrementally like I sped up

I have been using this system for years, and do it with hands, feet, drum set beats, scales on bass and marimba....

I sort of got the idea from weight lifting:
if I want to bench 300lbs, I don't start with 300 on the bar, I work up to it incrementally over periods of time
 
It's been a hot topic recently, but how do you all increase your drumming speed?

I know there are lots of methods, for hands, for feet. But I'm looking for all and any answers!
It depends on what specific thing you want to speed up.
For pedals for example, there are multiple techniques that you can learn but they all get applied at different speeds (once you achieved them meaning you are able to play using those techniques)
Swivel being one of them, heel toe which should only come into play at higher speeds, and ankle technique. They are all very different approaches to how you play and it may not feel right to do certain motions (for example I can swivel just fine, ankle technique just fine as well, but heel toe gives me difficulties and I have not conquered it yet). The other thing is how tight or loose are your drum heads, do you have the correct pedal settings (that makes a significant difference on what you can play). And this is only for pedals, now if you want to pull a Riccardo Melini:
Maybe you need to practice A LOT MORE.
 
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Another thing that must be mentioned, or maybe more than one thing:
1 You must be able to play at (whatever speed you want to achieve) mostly relaxed (you might not be completely relaxed playing very high speed runs but, all other speeds you should be, if you are not, then you have not really conquered that speed and you might not be able to play it consistently all the time.
That, (playing consistently ALL THE TIME) is when you know you have conquered that speed.

2 Whatever speed you conquer be that for a drum roll or executing a paradiddle or double bass... they need to be usable in a musical situation otherwise they will not matter and will be just as useless and boring as a 16 min drum solo.

My example song would be Live Undead by Slayer because it has everything, a slow steady beat (you need to be able to play that first slow part cleanly as well then there is a double bass (slow as well) then it goes into this faster rolls and finally explodes into speed. If you can master playing that song correctly then faster songs will not feel as daunting and impossible to achieve. and just because you can't do it a present time doesn't mean you won't be able to do it with some practice.

First example is a cover but the original drummer is Dave Lombardo

The second example is a cover (of a couple of songs being Killing fields and Dittohead) and the drummer is Paul Bosthaph


The rolls at the end are killer.
 
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This is all so great! Excited to see what else comes up.

Personally, I felt like I unlocked new capabilities with speed when I started paying more attention to the rebound of my sticks.
Letting the stick naturally bounce back up to where it came from so you don't have to lift it up again before striking.
I was working out of Gary Chafee's book, Sticking Patterns in lessons, when this really started to click.
 
This is all so great! Excited to see what else comes up.

Personally, I felt like I unlocked new capabilities with speed when I started paying more attention to the rebound of my sticks.
Letting the stick naturally bounce back up to where it came from so you don't have to lift it up again before striking.
I was working out of Gary Chafee's book, Sticking Patterns in lessons, when this really started to click.
There is something to be said about rebound... A lot of people neglect to use it on toms. You know, kind of like when you do a snare buzz roll where you would let your stick bounce a few times and alternate with the other stick to keep the roll going... The same thing can be accomplished on toms. (They just have to have the right tension). That is how Buddy Rich did those crazy fast rolls from toms to snare and back, because every stick was doing multiple hits instead of just one.
The second part is that you have to gain the ability to move around the kit efficiently at much higher speeds. (this is where the term "Economy of Motion" comes into play).
The final thing is that all of that needs to still be able to be used in a musical sense otherwise is just wasted effort.
 
If you want a lot of speed on the snare drum, it probably helps to spend your childhood learning to drum for an orchestra or marching band. I don't know if many drummers who start later, on a drum kit, achieve that kind of speed. Can anyone point out some examples?
 
This is all so great! Excited to see what else comes up.

Personally, I felt like I unlocked new capabilities with speed when I started paying more attention to the rebound of my sticks.
Letting the stick naturally bounce back up to where it came from so you don't have to lift it up again before striking.
I was working out of Gary Chafee's book, Sticking Patterns in lessons, when this really started to click.

yep...rebound is some of it for sure, but if you are not controlling the rebound, things can get sloppy. finding the right combination of wrist, finger and fulcrum use is also important
 
If you want a lot of speed on the snare drum, it probably helps to spend your childhood learning to drum for an orchestra or marching band. I don't know if many drummers who start later, on a drum kit, achieve that kind of speed. Can anyone point out some examples?

i don't think Dave Lombardo ever did marching band, or Virgil Donati....just to name a few

and, the marching band world - especially back in the 70's- was stealing a lot of drum set technique work, and applying it to what we do.

i think that marching band stuff develops the stamina, and makes you micro-clean your muscle groups more than drum set stuff, and that is what gives marching guys the edge. At least from my own personal experience. Snare and quad patterns are way more "linear" - meaning that you don't really pause while playing - and when you add rolls and flams, there are more micro-muscle demands in the hand-to-hand break down patterns that develop what I call "intricate" speed.

and in the past 30 years, the average tempo you play in a competitive band (drum corps style) hovers in the 160-180bpm range for high school, and 180-250 for corps. Playing in that environment every day for hours definitely builds up and keeps the agility going

and so does starting out as a drummer in faster genres

most of the older drum students I have had don't end up getting real fast because of bad technique habits they learned in their first "era" of playing. I have to spend time working on (lack of) strength issues; fulcrum usage issues; wrist position etc.
 
For everything, play with good technique at normal medium or slow/medium tempos, increase tempo normally.

For singles, tactically:
1) Go fast in short increments-- starting with 2-13 notes at a time, one time.
2) Practice unisons-- whatever limbs are involved, both hands, both feet, RH/RF, etc. Work on speed of unisons, then do them alternating.
3) Check your technique closely for useless motions and other things (particularly related to grip) that don't help move the stick down and up efficiently.
4) Play lower.

Also know what's possible most of the time with normal technique, and at what point you need to get into a special technique to go faster. Like people should be able to play 16th notes with one hand up to ~ quarter = 96 bpm without any special technique. Beyond that maybe you need to look into some finger technique a la some Brazilian drummers.

And know what you need for your actual musical life, speedwise. Like what's the fastest tempo you ordinarily play (or expect to play in the next few years), and the fastest rhythm within that tempo. And in what kind of application-- singles in a fill, 16ths on a hihat, long roll on the little timpani, etc.
 
If you want a lot of speed on the snare drum, it probably helps to spend your childhood learning to drum for an orchestra or marching band. I don't know if many drummers who start later, on a drum kit, achieve that kind of speed. Can anyone point out some examples?
Every kid showing off on YouTube, Tiktok, etc?
 
Interesting topic!

I did a big video about this a little while ago. I'm not sure if my opinions are somewhat divisive, but here is my take on it, for what it's worth:

For a while now, I've incorporated a routine that I got from Mike Johnston...playing whatever pattern at 60%, 70%, then 80% of your max for a minute or two, then re-checking your max tempo after a week.

I think I like your idea of going up or down a bpm or two. It seems one would actually spend more time playing the pattern at a controlled tempo using your method. I'll definitely be giving this a shot.
 
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