The Best Drum Warm-Up Exercises for Practice or a Gig

3 Drum Warm-Up Exercises for Practice or a Gig

The Best Drum Warm-Up Exercises for Practice or a Gig

When you’re learning drums, it’s important to get in the right mindset before a lesson or practice. These drum warm-up routines from San Diego, CA teacher Maegan W. will help you focus, and get your body ready to play… 

The way you warm up effects the way you play. A good drum warm-up routine will keep you in shape and help you keep your skills up to speed. It will help you focus your mind, and prepare your body for an effective practice or a killer show. There are many different drum warm-up exercises, but I will share a few of my favorites. Not only will these exercises help you improve your playing, they are also easily adaptable as beats and fills.

To begin, I always stretch out my body. I usually focus on my shoulders, arms, wrists, back, and legs. I just do some gentle twists and bends to help the blood flow.

Now let’s get to the exercises.

1. Crazy 8s

This is something I saw Jojo Mayer do, and it has really helped me to improve my playing and speed. I try to do this drum warm-up everyday, but at the very least, I always do it before I play.

  1. Start with your right hand only. Play in counts of 8: R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R (that’s one). Repeat this 100 times. This will be a total of 800 strokes. This may seem like a lot, but it goes a lot quicker than you think.
  2. Repeat this with your left hand: L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L (100 times)
  3. After you have done this with each hand, alternate using both hands: R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L

This exercise is great because it forces your body to switch muscle groups, and it builds endurance and focus. It also helps you practice counting multiple ideas at once.

2. Rudiment Warm-Up

Another one of my go-to warm-up exercises is to go through the five basic rudiments in different exercises. This is effective to build focus, time and space, and dexterity.

We will take each of the five rudiments through this timing exercise. We will move from quarter notes, to eighth notes, to sixteenth notes without stopping in between. Here is what it looks like with the different patterns. Play each subdivision twice, then loop the entire pattern.

1. Single stroke – Right hand lead = R-L-R-L

1 2 3 4  1 2 3 4 (quarter notes)
R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + (eighth notes)
R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L

1 e t a 2 e t a 3 e t a 4 e t a 1 e t a 2 e t a 3 e t a 4 e t a (sixteenth notes)
r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l

2) L-R-L-R = Single stroke – Left hand lead
c) R-R-L-L = Double stroke – Right hand lead
d) L-L-R-R = Double stroke – Left hand lead
e) R-L-R-R  L-R-L-L = Paradiddle

Play these with your metronome to keep everything in time, and keep your bass drum playing the quarter note pulse. Start slow, and gradually build speed.

3. Speed Warm-Up

This is a great drum warm-up for dynamics and speed. Pick a beat that you will play during practice or a show. Play it quietly, in slow motion. Do this for a couple minutes. Then, maintain the slow tempo while you gradually increase the volume.

Once you reach your maximum dynamic level, start to increase your tempo. Once you reach your maximum tempo, gradually bring the dynamic level back down, and maintain your top speed. This is a tough exercise, but it’s great to help you learn control. Try this with rudiments, fills, and beats.

The great thing about these exercises is that they’re adaptable. You can do a long drum warm-up or a short one, depending on your mood or how much time you have. You can focus on just one, or you can do all three. Either way, you will notice a huge difference in your playing and how you feel. Your body, fans, and band mates will thank you.

When you do these exercises before practice or a gig, you won’t need a full song to get in the zone, instead, you’ll be on point from the very first note you play.

Until next time, happy drumming!

Want to learn more ways to warm-up and improve at the drums? Taking lessons with a private instructor is a great way to get customized and personalized help on your way to becoming a drumming superstar! Sign up with a drum teacher today!

 

Maegan-WMaegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

 

 

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3 Simple Ways to Develop Your Drum Technique

3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Drum Technique

3 Ways to Improve Drum Technique

As you progress in your drum lessons, you want to learn new songs, but you also want to learn to play with better technique. Here, Detroit, MI drum teacher Joshua J. shares his tips to help you refine your drum technique…

When you’re taking drum lessons and practicing on your own, you can make better use of your time by focusing on the things that will help you improve as a drummer. Proper form and technique are essential to improve your sound quality. While this naturally requires patience and practice, it’s not as hard as you think. Here is my three-step process to help you improve your drum technique.

1. Be Efficient

The first step is to make your movements as efficient as possible. Like most things, this is easier said than done. What is efficiency and what makes something more efficient? Efficiency means maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort. So, for our purposes, let’s say that technique is any action achieved with little to no wasted effort. From a single hit to a blast beat, the key to improving your technique is to make every movement more efficient.

To start this process, you have to understand how your body moves. When you go up to the cymbal, are you over stretching or just getting there? Is your right hand doing anything weird when your left hand plays the snare drum, or vice versa? This list can go on and on, but the question is, where is there tension? Try to slow down your movements to find when and where you feel tension, and then try to relax and eliminate the tension.

When I would play a drum set as a beginner, my left foot would tense up as I would play the low tom. When I released that tension from my foot, it made it easier to get to the low tom. When something feels difficult, take some time to figure out why it’s hard physically. Once you can identify the source of tension, you can find the solution to make it feel easier. Removing tension will improve your technique, and make you more efficient.

2. Listen and Imagine

The second step to improve drum technique is to listen. How well are you keeping time? Are your movements in the groove of the tempo? Can you play the exercises or techniques at any dynamic? Can you hear those dynamics, rhythms, or tempos before you play them? These questions can be difficult because they all concern the intangible nature of sound. We feel time with our internal clock, and it takes time to develop this skill.

The best way to practice this, is to try to hear or imagine the time in your mind. Have you ever played back a scene from a movie in your head, and you could hear the dialogue in your mind? Use the same process with drums; imagine the tempo, with a metronome and then without, and focus on really feeling it, like your own personal downbeat.

 3. Develop Your Quality of Sound

After tempo, the next step is to focus on the quality of sound. Being able to do your exercises at any dynamic will make that technique more adaptable to different situations. Remember to practice playing softly! You can always add volume later, but if you don’t practice soft, then you will never play softly.

Does your technique sound harsh or nice, soft or hard, thin or thick? Compare your sound with different adjectives or objects, and then imagine what these things sound like. This will help you develop more character in your playing. What does a truck sound like? Imagine the sound in your head, and then play that sound. What does a feather sound like? Imagine it, feel it, and play it.

When I got really serious about drums, I wanted to know how every instrument felt at any dynamic, tempo, rhythm, or note length. This forced me to imagine what it felt like to play things efficiently in different categories. At the time, I didn’t understand how my body moved. So, I started to examine how I played hand-to-hand eighth notes. I lifted each stick painfully slow. It took me at least two minutes to get from full height down to the drum, and then three minutes back up to full height, with one hand. During this time, I would ask myself, where is there tension? I focused on relieving the tension in order to make my strokes better.

Again, the key to better technique is to move more efficiently in everything you do, and hear what you do in as many styles and characteristics as possible. Patience is key. Don’t shy away from practicing slowly and softly. Push your limits. Make what you hear, feel, and do automatic, and your actions will be more efficient every time. Remove tension and make playing easier; your technique will improve and you will have more fun playing drums!

Joshua JJoshua J. teaches drum lessons in Detroit, MI. and is an Orchestra Fellow of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Joshua received his percussion training from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Percussion Scholarship Program, and his Bachelor of Percussion Performance from DePaul School of Music. Learn more about Joshua J. here!

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play drums faster

How to Play Drums Faster: 5 Ways to Pick up the Pace

play drums faster

Want to know how to play drums faster? When you’re learning to play drums, it’s not always easy to increase the tempo without sacrificing sound quality. Here, San Diego, CA drum teacher Maegan W. shares her tips to help you play drums faster…

Every drummer wants to know how to play drums faster. Even beginners have a natural tendency to try to play as fast as possible, even at the risk of sound quality.

The bottom line is that it takes time to acquire speed. There are no quick fixes. While there are no shortcuts to developing speed, there are proven methods that you can practice that will help you double, triple, and even quadruple your speed in a relatively short amount of time.

The goal is to gain control, not just speed. When you use this method, you will develop a deep understanding of exactly where each and every note belongs, so that your playing will be fast and clean. Remember, no one cares how fast you can play if it sounds sloppy.

Ready to get to it? Here’s how to play drums faster.

1. Focus on One Thing at a Time

Where exactly do you want to develop your speed? Is it a beat, a fill, a rudiment? Pick one thing and start there. If it’s a song you’re trying to learn, break it down section by section. Take each beat or groove, each fill, and each transition, (going from one section to the next) and then apply the next four steps.

2. Define Your Ideal Speed

As humans, we work best with specific goals and numbers. If we don’t know where we’re going, we won’t know how to get there. If you’re learning a song, figure out the tempo and add 10 to 15 beats per minute (bpm) to find your goal speed. If it’s a rudiment or fill, figure out the top speed where it sounds the best.

3. Use a Metronome

Grab your best friend—yep, you guessed it—your metronome. .The metronome can be your worst enemy if you try to avoid it, but if you make peace with it early on, it will a very effective tool. If you’re not sure how to use a metronome during practice, this article can help.

Take your goal tempo, and cut it in half. This will be your starting point. Start here even if you think you can play faster than this tempo. It’s very important to play in slow motion. This allows you to learn the patterns and develop muscle memory, so that when you increase your speed, it will be automatic. Don’t increase your speed until you can play flawlessly at the current tempo.

4. Add Speed Slowly

When you’re ready to increase your speed, do it in increments of five or 10 bpms at a time. This is the secret most people don’t know, but it requires patience to execute. It’s important to enjoy this process. If this feels like torture, you won’t progress as fast. Give yourself time to gradually work up to each tempo.

5. Keep Going

Once you reach your goal tempo, it’s time to push the limits. Play at least 10 to 15 bpms faster than your goal speed. This will make your goal speed feel slower and easier to play. This will also help you if you plan to play live or with other people. During a performance, you tend to play faster because of the excitement and energy, so it’s always good to be able to play a little bit faster than the original speed.

This is the most effective and efficient method I have found to learn new material and play drums faster. This may seem time consuming, but it will actually save you time in the long run. Remember to trust the process. It sounds sloppy when you try to play something fast before you’re ready.

Try these practice strategies, and let me know if they work for you (you can leave a comment below). Remember to be patient. At first, it may be difficult to control the urge to pick up the pace, but if you stick with it, you’ll be able to play faster, and master any beat, fill, or rudiment.

Until next time, happy drumming!

 

Maegan-WMaegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

 

 

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5 Ways to Make Drum Practice More Fun

5 Simple Ways to Make Drum Practice More Fun

5 Simple Ways to Make Drum Practice More Fun

When you’re learning drums, it’s essential to practice between lessons in order to improve. Even if you’re super passionate about music, however, practice can be repetitive and monotonous. Here, Brooklyn, NY drum teacher Chris G. shares his tips to make drum practice fun and effective… 

Playing drums is supposed to be fun, but sometimes drum practice can get a little boring. This is especially true when you’re practicing technical or repetitive exercises. While not every practice session can be super exciting, playing music should be enjoyable. Plus, having fun while you practice will help you stay focused and motivated, and this will help you improve. Here are five ways you can make drum practice more fun.

1. Play Along to Music

Whether you’re practicing a new groove or just playing rudiments on a practice pad, playing along with your favorite band is a great way to make drum practice more fun. Instead of just playing a figure over and over, you’re adding it to your favorite song. Playing along to music will also make you a better listener while you play, which is really important if you want to play in a band!

2. Develop Your Own Ideas

After you work out a new groove or sticking, try and put your own spin on it. What would it sound like if you added some accents or played it on more than one drum? Instead of just doing your homework, have some fun; be creative and add your own style. Your teacher will love to see you take an exercise and make it your own (just make sure you practice the original exercise, too!)

3. Focus on the Details

Sometimes, we overlook how much we can learn from a simple exercise. For example, practicing paradiddles isn’t just about playing the right stickings—you also want to make sure you’re playing in the center of the drum, that your hands are playing at the same volume and stick height, and that you can play paradiddles at different tempos and volumes. Try to focus on all the details of a simple exercise; you’ll find that it’s more challenging and less repetitive.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break

Whenever I start to get bored or frustrated with practice, it’s usually because I’ve been practicing for too long without a break. There’s actually science behind it—our brains work more productively when we take breaks every 90 – 120 minutes. If you take a break and come back, you  won’t get as bored or frustrated as you would if you force yourself to keep practicing.

5. Remember the Big Picture

Let’s face it, some exercises are downright boring, and unfortunately, these are usually the most important ones. Remember that you’re practicing these things to get better, and that the more you focus and work on them, the faster you’ll improve! Instead of thinking that practicing a single-stroke roll is boring, think about all the cool, super fast stuff you can play with better wrist technique. So make sure you practice the fundamentals and the basics, but don’t forget to have fun!

Remember, the best way to learn drums is through private lessons. Find a drum teacher near you, and make sure to ask your teacher for more suggestions to make drum practice more fun and effective.

Chris GChirs G. teaches drums and bass guitar in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Drum Set Performance from the Berklee College of Music. He has been teaching private lessons since 2008. Learn more about Chris here!

 

 

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Play Drums Online

Play Drums Online: The Best Virtual Drum Sets and Games

Play Drums Online

 

If you’re taking drum lessons you may be looking for some fun ways to practice drums at home. Luckily, you can play drums online! Here are some of our favorite online digital drum sets.

Virtual Drumming

Love to play drums online? This rockin’ web app lets you play a full drum kit using just your keyboard. Each key plays a specific hit: bass, snare, hi-hat, etc. The site also features drum lessons from beginner to advanced, and a drum machine that lets you experiment with simple drum loops based on time signatures, sound types, and drum sets.

JAM With Chrome

Play live music with your friends online. Choose from standard, brushes, hip hop, techno, and analog drum machines.

iMore

Play the TR-808, Roland’s TR-909, Elektron’s Machinedrum, the LinnDrum, acoustic drums, and more on this HTML5-based site. Mimic some of hip hop and electronica’s most memorable sounds, or save and export your own loops for your own drum projects.

MegaFunGames Virtual Drums

Drummers of all ages and skill levels can play drums online with this easy-to-use game. Scroll and click with your mouse to play drums, or push the corresponding key on your keyboard. When you’re done, share your song in the online forum. This online drum set includes toms, cymbals, hi hat, and bass drum.

OY1.com Virtual Drums

Use the number keys to play this full virtual drum set. Create your own beats or jam along with the preset drum loops.

AGAME.com Drum Session

Create some cool beats and fills with this online game. Click on the drums with your mouse, or play the drum parts using the numeric keypad.

Looking for more fun ways to play and practice drums? Try these digital practice tools.

Portable Electronic Silicon Roll-Up Drum Pad

For less than $50, you can learn, practice, and record your own beats on this high-quality portable drum pad. The practice pad also has a standard and expansive pedal setting.

Digital Drum Pad Metronome

It’s essential for drummers to learn to keep time, so beginners, put this drum pad on your must-have list. This portable practice pad lets you work on time, rhythm, and tempo.

Wowee Paper Jamz Pro Drum Series Style

Practice drums on the go with this fun, lightweight set. Drummers of all ages can create and record drum solos, beats, and remixes.

Have fun practicing at home with these awesome websites and drum tools. If you need some help or want to take your drumming skills to the next level, find a private drum teacher near you!

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hand-eye coordination

3 Hand-Eye Coordination Exercises for Drummers

hand-eye coordination

Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate drummer, good hand-eye coordination will help you develop accuracy and control. Here are some tips from music teacher Tracy D., to help you improve your hand-eye coordination…

When you’re learning drums, you need to watch and sense where your hands are in relation to the kit. It’s easy to let your hands outrun your field of vision, and this can result in sloppy execution.

Pay attention to your hands; make sure they land in the right place, and then think about your next move. You can accomplish this by moving your eyes before your hands. As soon as you land on one surface, move your eyes to the next surface or target. This will help you play with fluid, accurate movements.

Since your hands will be on different parts of the drum kit as you play, it’s also important to develop your peripheral vision, the ability to see objects and movement outside of your direct line of vision. Also, when you play with other musicians, good peripheral vision will allow you to focus on the drums and still see what your band mates are doing on stage.

Use the pattern and the exercises below to improve your hand-eye coordination.

Hand-Eye Coordination for Drummers

Take the time to work out each pattern, until you no longer have to look at the page.

  1. Look straight ahead and practice the six measures four times through.
  2. This time, follow your eyes around the kit and practice the measures four times through. Make sure to move your eyes to the next target before your hands finish playing the pattern on the current surface.
  3. Challenge yourself, and practice playing with your eyes closed.

These exercises were written for a five-piece set, so adjust the notes accordingly for your own drum kit. These exercises should spark your creativity, so don’t be afraid to try some new things and have fun!

Developing coordination and technique will help you be a better drummer. Need some extra help? Find a private drum teacher near you.

TracyD

Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lesson in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums in various bands for more than 13 years, and has also played intermittently with the OKC Community Orchestra for the past five years. Learn more about Tracy here! 

 

 

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drum lessons for kids

Drum Lessons for Kids: 4 Simple Ways to Help Your Child Succeed

drum lessons for kids

Parents play an important role in drum lessons for kids. Help your child be successful with these tips from music teacher James W

If you’re lucky enough to have a child who is blessed with a gift for music, then you should do what you can to nurture that talent. What’s most important for kids, however, is interest. If your child expresses an interest in drum lessons, do what you can to help him or her follow this passion.

The Best Time to Start

What’s the best time to start drum lessons for kids? While this answer may vary, children have an amazing capacity to learn when they’re young. A child’s mind is like a sponge, and even at a young age, your child has the ability to absorb a lot of information. Age five and up is generally a great time to begin drum lessons for kids. Regardless of your child’s age, however, if he or she is interested in drums, the best time for him or her to start may be right now!

Find the Right Teacher

Find a teacher who has experience teaching drum lessons for kids. You can search for registered teachers through TakeLessons. You may have to try a couple of teachers before you find the right one, but it’s important to make sure your child has a good rapport with his or her teacher.

Encourage Your Child

It’s very important to encourage your drum student. Allow your son or daughter to learn at his or her own pace. Praise your child, and do your best to inspire him or her to keep working hard. Make your child feel good about playing drums—this will keep your son or daughter from getting discouraged, and motivate him or her to practice.

Start Slow to Build Confidence

Starting off slow will help your child develop self-esteem, and keep him or her from getting discouraged. Encourage your child to learn four beats, or one or two bars of music at a time.

Once your son or daughter masters this initial lesson, it’s on to the next bar of music, and so on. Remember to praise him or her along the way. Your child is now ready to tackle some simple beats, and can eventually move on to more complex rhythms.

Most importantly, make sure your child is having fun! Check in with your son or daughter to gauge his or her level of enjoyment. If your child is having fun, he or she is much more likely to practice and continue playing.

Make practice more fun for your son or daughter with these easy drum songs for kids!

 

james-walsh-150x150

James W. started playing drums when he was 12 years old. He teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons team in 2010. Learn more about James here!

 

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8 Tips to Be the Best Drummer You Can Be

8 Ways to Be a Better Drummer

8 Tips to Be the Best Drummer You Can Be

So you’re taking drum lessons and learning some new skills, but now you’re wondering how you can progress and take your drumming to the next level. Here, music teacher James W. shares his tips to help you sharpen your technique and improve your skills…

As a drummer, you have the most important job in the band, besides songwriting. You show the guitar player and the bass player where the groove should be, hold the band together, and drive the band forward. You have to keep time in your head and listen at the same time. Good drummers are always in demand, so it’s important to practice consistently and continue to work hard to improve. Here are eight tips to help you develop your technique and take your drumming to the next level.

1. Develop Muscle Memory

Don’t take the basics for granted; make sure you learn your paradiddles (basic beat drum patterns). Play with your eyes open for 20 minutes, and then close your eyes and get your snare drum hand in sync with your metronome or click. Visualize your kit in your mind, think of it as an extension of your arms and legs. When you practice with your eyes closed, you develop muscle memory in your arms, legs, feet, and hands.

Once you have locked in with the metronome, try to play by feel. You can play on the front of the beat like most drummers, or you can be like Ringo Starr and play on the back of the beat.

2. Learn to Keep Time

Just as the clock on your laptop keeps the time, it’s your responsibility to keep the time for the songs you play. Try using headphones and synchronizing them with your laptop so you can have the click in your ear. Practice keeping time with the songs you hear on the radio. This is a great way to learn because the work is already done for you by more experienced drummers.

3. Work With Others

Your band mates can help you improve as an individual. On stage, they can lock in with you and make suggestions to help you improve. Try bouncing ideas around with your band mates. This creates a fun dynamic. Your band members can also give you valuable feedback that can help you become a better drummer. If you’re not in a band, you can still learn how to work with others. Your teacher is a great resource to provide feedback and suggestions to help you improve. If you have friends who are musicians, ask them to listen to you play, they may have some great tips to help you get better.

4. Use Video

Make sure you have a regular exercise pattern to warm up. Play in 4/4 time, and film yourself so you can evaluate your weekly progress. I don’t suggest posting your video on YouTube just yet, but keep it handy so you can use it as a learning tool. Analyze, assess, and re-evaluate. Think of ways to reinforce the things you do well, and then take note of what you can improve. Did you notice anything sloppy about your playing? If your style is already loose, try to play with more precision. Want to play faster? Remember, speed is a byproduct of accuracy.

5. Make it Swing

Play 3/4 over a 4/4 beat to make the song swing. This is an old jazz trick. Paul McCartney does this to great effect in some of his songs. Start slow and gradually increase the tempo. Some drummers have amazing endurance and stamina, and with some practice, you will, too. Even the world’s greatest drummers had to start somewhere.

6. Start Slow

Pick easy songs that you love to play. One drummer I met at Musician’s Institute told me he played only Jimi Hendrix songs for five years because he loved Mitch Mitchell’s style. Eventually, he started using his own ideas, and his band naturally went from playing cover tunes to original songs.

7. Master the Basics Before You Develop Your Style

Study different genres; pop, rock, jazz, Latin, classical, etc. Pick your favorite drummer from each genre and focus on what you love about the way they play. Once you master the basics, try to incorporate your own style.

8. Develop Both Hands

Relax your hands when you hold your sticks. Your dominant hand will naturally be stronger at first, but you can work on developing your weak hand. Use your right hand to strike the soft notes, and use your left to play the more pronounced beats. Now, flip your sticks over, and use the fat end to play more aggressively. 

Next, try using brushes to play a soft, ballad-like style. Now you’re creating notes using dynamics that occur naturally in music.

Your drum set is an extension of your eyes, hands, and feet, so practice working them both together and separately. Your eyes will follow your hands around the kit, and your brain knows to let your feet do their job with the hi-hat and kick drum.

If you combine these tips with consistent practice you will expand your range and improve your drumming skills. Remember, it takes work and effort to improve, but it will be worth it in the end. Drumming is physically demanding, but it’s also mentally satisfying. Now it’s time to just play and have some fun. Don’t be afraid to be creative and adventurous. If you need some help with your technique, find a private drum teacher to help you refine your skills.

james-walsh-150x150

James W. started playing drums when he was 12 years old. He teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons team in 2010. Learn more about James here!

 

 

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10 Inspiring Quotes for Famous Drummers

10 Inspiring Quotes From Famous Drummers

When you’re learning drums, you may not always feel motivated to practice. Here are 10 quotes from some of the world’s best drummers to inspire you to follow your dreams.

You Only Get Better by Playing

Photo by Martin Le Roy

One of the most famous drummers and dubbed the world’s greatest, Buddy Rich lived up to his words by skillfully playing until his death in 1987. He even kept drumming after bypass surgery.

 

Playing Fast Around the Drums

Photo by Martin Wood

Tony Williams was one of the most important and influential jazz drummers of the 1960s. Miles Davis said Williams was “…the center that the group’s sound revolved around.” If you find yourself getting caught up in fast rhythms, remember these words to get back to your purpose; the music and your audience.

 

Life is About Rhythm

Photo by Tombrewe

Mickey Hart is known for inspiring quotes about music’s influence on the heart, mind, and soul. Hart helps all musicians, not just drummers, remember the soul and spirit of music. His visionary work links music not only with art and science, but with the role it plays in health, particularly in the mind.

 

What Drives Me

Photo by Tim

Sheila Escovedo ranks among the most famous drummers of funk music, and is considered to be one of the best female drummers ever. Playing with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Ringo Starr and Gloria Estefan, she has shared her gift of music with the world in her albums which span a wide range of styles. She also dedicates her time to a number of philanthropic efforts. She is co-founder and co-chair of the Elevate Hope Foundation, which provides music therapy to abused and abandoned children.

 

Female Drummers

Photo by Frank Tellez

Alice in Chains’ Sean Kinney knew that great drumming skills weren’t reserved to those with a Y chromosome. Talented female drummers like Janet Weiss, Moe Tucker, Karen Carpenter, Sheila E., Georgia Hubley, and Sandy West have graced us with their talent on stage, and inspired many drummers to follow their dreams.

You need to take risks

 

Brian Blade’s inspiring quotes point to music as a fellowship, and a way of promoting togetherness. To Blade, music exists beyond borders and promotes spirituality, sensitivity, honesty, and loyalty. He encourages drummers to develop their musical instincts, and identify and connect with all the textures of the drums.

 

People Never Think of Entertainers

Photo by Darryl Kanouse

When you get discouraged, remember this  quote from Karen Carpenter. The drummer of the famous 70s duo, the Carpenters, recognized that despite what the audience might think, musicians are only human.

 

Sound is Power

Layne Redmond may not have played with well-known bands, but she literally followed the beat of her own drum by playing small, hand-held frame drums from the ancient Mediterranean world. Not just a percussionist, Redmond was a historian, writer, and teacher whose work focused on the healing and spiritual aspects of drumming and rhythm.

 

Seemed to Me
This famous jazz drummer continued to play well into his 90s. He served as goodwill ambassador for President Eisenhower. He earned a spot on the Board of the Kennedy Center by President Bush, and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton. Hampton also designed programs with the University of Idaho to help teach and preserve the future of music for others.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

Eric Moore has performed with a variety of popular artists from Bobby Brown and Debarge, to his current band Suicidal Tendencies. Moore’s focus on exercising the gift of drumming through continued practice shows through his versatility, which ranges from punk and gospel to extreme metal and R&B.

Hopefully these wise words from famous drummers make you want to grab your drum sticks and start playing. Want to take your drumming to the next level? Find a drum teacher near you.

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A Beginner's Guide to Drum Rudiments

A Beginner’s Guide to Drum Rudiments

A Beginner's Guide to Drum Rudiments

When you’re learning to play drums, you will inevitably hear about drum rudiments. Drum rudiments are essential, and learning and mastering them will help you improve as a drummer. Here, Woodland Hills, CA teacher Emerson W. breaks down what you need to know about rudiments.

Drum rudiments are to drumming as the alphabet is to language. They’re the foundation of the music you make as a drummer. Rudiments are small musical ideas that can be easily memorized.

When you’re learning, it’s important to pay close attention to the skeleton of the rudiment. The skeleton is the rudiment in its most basic form; the rhythm without the ornaments. For example, the skeleton of a Five-Stroke Roll is four eighth notes. Once those four eighth notes are mastered, you can add the ornaments (rolls and accents.) When learning a rudiment, pay close attention to which hand you use for each note—this is called sticking. Every rudiment has a specific sticking pattern.

The Percussive Arts Society has documented the 40 essential drum rudiments. Rudiments are necessary for endurance, agility, stretching, smooth movement around the drum set, accents, syncopation, and special effects.

Rudiments as Warm-Ups

Rudiments are easy to memorize, and you can use them to warm up your hands, wrists, and forearms at the beginning of your practice session. You can use a metronome to help you keep a steady tempo.

Try to practice a rudiment for three to five minutes at a quick tempo. This will help you strengthen your wrists and forearms and increase your endurance.

Rudiments on a Drum Set

Adding rudiments to your music can enhance your skills as a drummer. Rudiments allow drummers to move smoothly from one drum to the other at a very fast pace.  You can play rudiment variations in endless combinations.

Rudiments in Marching Percussion

Rudiments are extremely useful for marching bands, and there is plenty of literature dedicated  to marching-influenced rudimental drum solos. They allow drummers to play accents at unexpected times and create syncopation. Rudimental snare drum solos are also very exciting and unique, which is why rudiments are found in a lot of classical music.

Books on Rudiments

Here are some books I recommend for percussionists:

Drum rudiments help you develop endurance, agility, stretching, smooth movement around the drum set, accents, syncopation, and special effects. Rudiments are crucial to your success as a drummer. Learn them, practice them, and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
EmersonW.

Emerson W. teaches drum, guitar and percussion in Woodland Hills, CA. He is currently attending California State University Northridge working toward his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance. Emerson has been teaching students since 2007.  Learn more about Emerson W. here!

 

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