Great athletes put in many hours of practice and it’s no different for drummers. It’s important not to think of drumming practice as a chore, but a way of life. For me, it’s a part of my job. The Drumming System (affiliate link) has an entire DVD dedicated to this subject. Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) teaches you new habits to develop as you progress. I highly recommend both of these courses to you regardless of your skill level.
Here are two questions to ask yourself:
- What do you want to improve in your drumming?
- How much time do you have to work on your drumming?
It’s important to prioritize what you want to get better at.
- Don’t play when your practice and don’t practice when you play. Avoid just playing around when you sit down alone at your drums. Have an organized schedule. If you’re on stage or in a recording studio, don’t start working on stuff you should have been doing at home. Practicing is a solo art.
- Stretch before anything else. Remember that drumming is also a form of exercise. A great book to check out is Stretching (affiliate link) by Bob Anderson.
- Drum in front of mirror. This way you can see your posture, form, technique and how relaxed you are. Sometimes I even put one to the side of me.
- Record yourself on video and watch it back. Write down what you observe and what needs to be improved.
- Stay focused on what you are working on. It’s really easy to let your mind wander. If something isn’t coming to you, put it away and come back to it a few days later.
There is no need to get frustrated if something isn’t coming together or sounding right.
- Work through new material slowly. Be sure to always use a metronome. Most drummers agree that 50 to 60 beats per minute is a good tempo to work on new material at.
- Write down the tempo you perform an exercise or piece of music at. This way, you know exactly where you should be when you come back to it.
- Review old material regularly.
- Start and end your practice sessions on a positive note.
- Use checklists. I have heard it said many times that excellence is in the details. To keep track of details, use checklists to make sure you are focusing on everything.
Practicing for Young Musicians: You Are Your Own Teacher (affiliate link) has some great checklists at the end of the book. (Don’t be fooled by the title. It’s for musicians of all ages)
- If you feel pain, STOP!
- If you really aren’t in the mood to practice, don’t.
The Casual Schedule
The Drum Practice Routine Generator (see below) recommends doing 20 minutes a day. Pick 1 topic from each category per day. You can go down the list or randomly choose one. Over time, you’ll cover every aspect of drumming and it won’t take up a lot of your free time.
The Motivated Schedule
The Drum Practice Routine Generator (see below) recommends doing 40 minutes per day. This for someone who has a little more time to spend on the drums. Pick 2 topics in one category and spend twenty minutes on each one. Do the same thing with the next category on the following day. You can also mix it up. You’ll be surprised how quickly 40 minutes goes by.
The Dedicated Schedule
The Drum Practice Routine Generator (see below) recommends 60 minutes per day. This is great for someone who really wants to get good at that drums. Maybe its not for you. It’s good to practice 1 topic from each category for 20 minutes each. This will create an incredibly balanced practice routine. Obviously, you can spend as more time on this if you want to.
Regardless of which schedule you choose, don’t stick to one topic. Be sure to cover every topic in every category. You will notice that certain things get easier with time while other things don’t. This is totally normal.
We need motivation for everything in life. This shouldn’t be a chore.
You shouldn’t have to force yourself to work on your drumming.
Here are some tips to keep you motivated:
- Listen to your favorite music and new music. I really enjoy going on Pandora and listening to new music that is similar to music I already like.
- Recognize results through watching yourself on video on a regular basis. Notice what’s faster, more fluid, and more musical. Once you see results, you’ll want to practice more.
- Go to a live concert, especially one performed by your favorite band or favorite drummer.
- Hang out with inspiring musicians.
- Jam with other drummers. This is fun! It works best if you are in a room with 2 drum sets.
- Take a DVD drum set course. Be sure to check out the Drumming System (affiliate link) and
Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link).
- Go to drum festivals and drum clinics.
Remember, we get to hit stuff, so always have fun.
What Tips Do You Have?
(please answer below)