1. Make a plan for your practice routine
I learned this a couple of years ago, but it was affirmed recently when I attended a session by Benny Greb. In my opinion, Benny is a terrific drummer, but that came as a result of hard practice. I think he’s incredibly awesome with practicing and using his time more productively, which made him the excellent drummer he is.
Before you sit next to your drums, make a plan of what you intend to do. If you wish to play around for a short while, then you must plan (not what you’ll do, but the point that you’ll experiment for some time).
The reason behind this is to have a rigid practice routine – although you can adjust if you’re in the spirits – but you need to be keen on what you want to achieve with your time behind the drums.
2. Let a professional teacher dictate your lesson plan
Of course, this isn’t a secretive pitch for Drumeo. I think Drumeo is great and that’s why I work super hard each day to come up with the best drum lesson there is. You can get your lesson plan from any qualified person. Engage in an online lesson with a drummer, go for a private lesson with one of the local instructors, or you may pick some of Drumeo’s lessons. (Click here to see the lessons that are good for you!)
3. Balance between technique and musicality
At times, I get obsessed with some things. Like the time I practiced the finger technique full-time for a couple of years or sat practicing the Moeller motions for long days. I avoided hanging out with my friends only to stay at home and practice my rudiments. I understand it’s quite boring, but I’m happy I did it, the bigger part of it.
A huge mistake I made, and I sometimes also make until now, is that I fail to balance properly between technique and musicality. What’s the need of having good technique if you can’t apply it? So for my case, I need to make clear my intentions about playing music and improving as a musician.
Practicing technique alone can’t make you a good musician. But playing music will make you a better musician. The technique is usually easy and often fun since it’s quantifiable, but it’s not everything in drumming. A musical director will not care about how fast you’re capable of playing, or even about your perfect medium stroke roll. So, try as much as you can to balance between technique and musicality (if you need a way out, email me:[email protected]).
4. Publicly commit to something difficult to do
Let your wife, brother, plumber, chef, friends, paster, or whoever that you will do something. Then ask them to hold you accountable if you fail to do it. I tried this once, and let me tell you, I hard to learn the most difficult thing I’ve ever learned.
It was an exercise by Virgil Donati, where he plays a single paradiddle using his right foot and right hand followed by a double paradiddle using his left hand and left foot.
It was super hard but I’m glad I did it. You mustn’t choose a hard thing, like in my case, but it’s motivating to pick something and then move forward to accomplish it. Besides motivating you, it might as well give a wake-up call to someone else and make them get into action and become more productive.
5. Practice drums each day
This is the crucial tip among all of them. Maybe it means that it should be the top tip, but let’s leave it as the last so that only the hardcore drummers who go through the whole article can get the special tip!
Whether you’re listening to music actively, tapping on your thighs, or simply playing the practice pod, ensure you do something daily. Even though it’s 10 minutes, that’s far better compared to nothing. Get professional electric drums when you are sure that you are in it for the long haul.
You can’t give any excuses for failing to practice, even though you do it for a short time. Don’t instill the mindset of having ‘the stars aligned’ for you to practice on the kit. Try and do something, and you’ll see the results.