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.
Chirs 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!
Photo by David Miller