12 Drumming Tips
Beyond paradiddles and rudiments, how can you become the drummer that you want to be? Georg Voros shares more than 35 years of experience as a drummer, clinician, educator, and composer in this book that will help you get the most out of learning to play drums or any other instrument. Here are 12 drumming tips from Rhythm of the Head (Big Drum Publishing, 2009).
1. Give it time. There are no shortcuts to learning to play a musical instrument. To attain a reasonable competence requires a certain amount of dedicated time and effort. Though you may be able to quickly gain competence on the basics—a few rhythms, some fills, and maybe the easier rudiments. Once complex study is attempted, the learning curve starts to level out.
2. Consistency yields results. If you have limited time for practice, it is better to put in a half-hour every day, than to skip practice sessions for three or four days, and make it up by sitting for four hours. Make the most of the time available. Grab a practice pad and put in some time during lunch. Use time on a bus or train to study new material. Instead of watching television, get more practice time in.
3.Play it over and over. In order to achieve a relaxed and comfortable feel in your play, many repetitions will be required. At first, every little movement and action requires conscious thought and effort. Eventually, after many repetitions, it becomes permanently stamped in your memory.
4. Keep an open mind. Don’t approach your drumming with too many conditions. Be like a sponge and soak up as much information as you can.
5. Use ESP—extra slow playing. It is harder to keep steady time, combined with good feel, at a slow pace. By slowing down your playing, you make it possible to listen closely to every note.
6. Practice creative visualization. Close your eyes and imagine yourself playing in the position you’d like to be. Before you can transfer anything to your limbs, you have to be able either to hear it in your head, sing it, or see it in your mind.
7. Be sensible. Incessant practicing invariably leads to tenseness. Develop and improve your abilities at a steady pace, and in a relaxed frame of mind. The only thing over-practicing achieves is to make your playing become stale. If you feel pain, or if your hands and arms are tired, it’s time to stop.
8. Set goals. Don’t wait for things to come to you. Think about what you want to accomplish, set your goals and a deadline, and work toward achieving them. Affirm your goals by repeating them, committing them to paper, and even posting them on your wall. Be flexible as your goals evolve and be careful not to take anything to extremes.
9. Look for role models. They will shape your playing, as their drumming style and ability level helps you to measure progress in your own performance.
10. Use creativity to defeat boredom. The routine of practicing exercises over and over can cause loss of interest. When you find yourself becoming bored, be creative. Play the exercises at different tempos, using varied dynamics. For rudiments, try applying them to the whole drum kit or splitting the pattern into different components.
11. Have a positive attitude. Don’t think about making mistakes. They are just a part of playing. Don’t let them ruin your fun. Simply acknowledge them and set out to put them right.
12. Keep It Up. Keep religiously going to lessons, but also put effort into finding a band to play with. If that’s not always possible, practice to recorded music that preferably has no drums on the recording.