If you just started taking drum lessons, you may not be ready to invest in a full drum set. Luckily, a lack of equipment doesn’t have to hinder your progress. You can still practice and improve, you just need to be creative! Here, drum instructor Andrea I. shares 11 ways to practice drums without a drum set…
A drum set isn’t the most portable instrument, and being without one can make you feel like you can’t practice your craft. Never fear, this list is designed to help you improve your musicianship, coordination, and muscle tone. These exercises will help you in a variety of ways, and will make you better the next time you get behind a drum kit.
The best thing about these activities is that you can do them anywhere! Happy practicing!
1. Pillow Practice
No drum set? No practice pad? No problem! The very best practice pad might just be the one you sleep on each night.
A pillow offers no bounce, so your wrist has to work to lift the stick and bring it back down. Drumming on your pillow is an ideal way to practice those rudiments.
2. Air Drumming
Air drumming, or playing on an imaginary drum set is actually another helpful way to practice drums and build muscles.
Air drumming forces you to work more muscles than playing actual drums or a practice pad.
3. Sing Your Parts
You’re a drummer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some vocal practice!
Sing to memorize and internalize your drum parts.
4. Recorded Music
Put on headphones, immerse yourself in the song of your choice, and listen.
Active listening involves internalizing the rhythm of the song and learning it by heart.
5. Body Percussion
Believe it or not, the human body is a walking, talking drum set.
Use handclaps, lap slaps, foot stomps, your belly – anything to practice those parts!
6. Bucket Practice
Do you have a five-gallon bucket? Turn it upside down and you can get a workout on this simple drum.
Try practicing some of these drum exercises on your bucket.
7. Practice Pad
Practice pads come in all kinds of materials, weights, and sizes. Also, there are practice pads to fit every budget.
Others come filled with gel, sand, and pretty much any kind of rubber you can imagine. If you don’t have a rubberized traditional pad, head to the kitchen, grab some pot holders, and get to get to work.
8. Hit the Floor
Of course, the linoleum, tile, carpet, and pavement around you can all be wonderful practice surfaces.
9. Heavy Sticks
Drum sticks come in a wide range of weights, and it’s beneficial to you, dear musician – to try them out!
There are sticks made of heavy metals, like iron, that will make your usual pair feel lighter than feathers.
Try out marching sticks for outdoor drum corps; playing with heavier and lighter sticks can help your musicianship without needing to be behind a drum set.
10. Percussion Grab Bag
Use whatever you can find to practice drums: spoons, hangers, jingle bells, sacks of coins, etc. Use your imagination and have fun!
When you’re a percussionist, the world offers you a great deal of instruments to rattle, hit or shake. Change up your practice by laying out tambourines, jingle bells, or even using what’s in your kitchen drawer.
11. Apps and Online Drums
Plus, there are several websites that allow you to play digital drums. Bookmark your favorites and practice at your computer!
Need more suggestions? Here are a few more ways to practice drums away from the drum set! With so many different options, you can practice drums anytime, anywhere! Choose the method that works best for you and have fun while you practice drums!
How do you practice drums away from your drum kit? Let us know in the comments below!
Image courtesy Dakota