Updated: Feb 7
Do you feel like every time you sit down at a drum set to practice, you find yourself playing your go-to fill? Or maybe you're always playing something completely unrelated to what you should be practicing? What if instead we directed our focus into something productive and constructive, like practicing our drumming weakness’. With the abundance of information and drum lessons at the touch of a screen, our brains can become easily overloaded with the amount of options we have to choose from.
When this happens, we often find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, and we never seem to ever meet our drumming goals. It is super important to not completely throw away the time you spend playing whatever you want; you need to mix it up. Drums are fun, and It’s important that we continue to make time enjoying what we like to play.
You want to get better at drumming but you don't know where to start. So, i’ve put together a list of 7 things to help you do that.
Make A Plan
Before we even get behind the drums we need a plan. I know what you’re saying to yourself, “a plan? That’s lame man, I just want to play fast and show off.” Well guess what? That will only get you so far, and possibly fired from a gig. There’s far much more to drums than playing fast and gospel chop type playing, so yes, develop a plan. To do this you need to know what goal you’re looking to achieve. For example, my goal is to play blast beats at 200 BPM. Okay, now what? You write out an objective. Now you are going to log how much time you’ve spent practicing it, the date, and what kind of progress you achieved during that practice time. To make this process easier for you, i’ve created a downloadable PDF that you can print off so you can keep all this information in one spot.
You can find it here: http://bit.ly/37P7L3H
Let’s start off by getting behind the drums and warming up for 5-10 minutes. Loosen up and play whatever comes to mind for sake of getting your limbs warm. This can also help prevent you from injuring yourself. The time that you spend warming up is important, because it is then that you may discover any shortcomings in your playing. Try to be aware of anything giving you difficulties during this warmup time; that information will come in handy later because that will be the stuff you need to work on.
Use A Metronome:
If we’re practicing rudiments and specific sticking exercises, they should be done to a metronome. If you don’t have one, there are a lot of apps available free to download to your phone. The one that I use is called, “Pro Metronome” and It’s available on iOS and Android devices.
The point of practicing with a metronome is simply that the metronome does not lie, and it will help you keep time. It can be embarrassing thinking that we are much better than we perceive ourselves to be, and then we play it to a metronome. Man that sucks... Our goal when practicing with the metronome is to improve our timing and to us help stay in control of our playing. Practicing to a metronome is one of many ways to practice and hone your craft. We’ll get into more details in further lessons. If you continue to practice along with a metronome you’ll develop better groove (the space and feel), and you’ll be sounding much more like an expert in a much shorter amount of time.
Don't forget To Download Your Practice Log Here: http://bit.ly/37P7L3H
Play Along To ALL Styles Of Music:
Even though you may want to be a specific style drummer, and only play that type of music, it is very important to diversify your ability to play multiple styles of music. You won’t believe what kind of inspiration you can draw from listening to music outside of your comfort zone. Music is made up of three things: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony. That means, every genre of music consists of some sort of rhythm. Learn to appreciate it, understand it and most importantly, LISTEN to how and why the drummer is playing it. Your mind and creativity will benefit immensely by listening to different styles of music.
Personally, I noticed that playing styles outside of my comfort zone have led to a greater development and understanding of feel.
Drum set posture is an often overlooked part of being a drummer. Our posture determines how much or how little tension we hold within our bodies when we’re playing. Be sure that you’re sitting upright and not slouching down or forward when trying to play through difficult passages. The more relaxed we are behind the drums, the more control we have. The more control we have, the more speed we can generate over time. The way we position ourselves behind the drums has a great effect on our ability to properly play certain techniques. Do you see where i’m going with this? Tension is bad, relaxed is great. Loosen up and keep up the hard and focused work.
Record Your Playing:
By recording yourself you'll notice things about your choices of orchestration and playing that you may not have seen or heard of otherwise. While you're at it, try and record some video of yourself; it doesn't need to be anything fancy you can do it with your phone. Through the use of video and audio you will be able to distinguish lacking traits in your playing. Remember our foe tension I had mentioned earlier?
Take Some Time Off :
It can be easy to get frustrated and upset with our playing. Give yourself a pat on the back, after all we are playing the best instrument in the world, and it takes some serious talent and dedication. It's okay to take a day off, or, if you need to play your favourite beats and fills then do that instead. We don't want to take an instrument and environment we appreciate so dearly only to ruin the fun of it. Often times if I find myself frustrated because I can't nail a take, i'll walk away and go outside to take the dog for a walk to help clear my mind. Sometimes that is all it takes.
Download your Practice Log here: http://bit.ly/37P7L3H
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Cameron Proudly Plays and Uses:
Mapex Drums: http://www.mapexdrums.com
Los Cabos Drumsticks: http://www.loscabosdrumsticks.com
Evans Drumheads: http://www.evansdrumheads.com
FootBlaster Triggers: http://www.footblaster.com
Lewitt Microphones: http://www.lewitt-audio.com