What’s more important: the amount of drum practice you do, or the quality of the practice? Although you might be tempted to lock yourself in your room for a week to goof around on the drums, studies have shown that the amount of practice isn’t always an indicator of outstanding drumming performance. Rather, drummers who employ long practice sessions of average quality will never perform at high level. And high-quality practice over short periods of time won’t help drummers achieve the results they expect, simply because they don’t practice enough.
So, how do you make sure you’re developing good practice habits? How can you ensure your practicing is efficient? Read on for ten helpful tips to think about the next time you sit down at your drum set:
Make a practice plan. One of the things you can do to get the most out of your drum practice is to set goals for each session. For instance, if your hand techniques are more advanced than your foot techniques, you should place more emphasis on practicing foot techniques during the next few weeks. Then, you can gradually include more and more hand technique exercises until you obtain a perfectly balanced practice schedule. Consider keeping a practice journal that you can check at a later date to see what exactly worked best, and plan future practice sessions based on your strengths and weaknesses.
Maintain a positive attitude. For effective drum practice, it’s important to stay positive! Unfortunately, your own fear of failure can prevent you from developing the attitude you need to succeed. So what can you do? If you feel that drumming is just too difficult for you, tell your drum teacher about your concerns, and then create a “plan of attack” together. Maybe you need to set some easier goals to begin with, or try some different styles to feel more inspired. Adopting the right attitude can help you overcome any challenges and get you back on the right track if you lose your way.
Follow the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is simple: basically, 80% of your success is determined by only 20% of your efforts. The trick, then, is determining where that 20% lies – and focusing on that. Reflecting back on your practice plan, whatever you’ve identified as your weakness should make up a big part of that 20%. By following this rule, you can eliminate the “useless” practice and instead really hone in your goals and progress.
Pay attention to posture. Good posture is critical when practicing drums. That’s because posture plays an essential role in building physical habits, which can make or break your ability to play by affecting your speed, control, power, and overall technique. Since the body posture you adopt when practicing will become like second nature over time, you need to pay attention to your posture from the very beginning. In addition, specialists advise drummers to warm up their muscles before a drum practice session if they want to gain speed and endurance.
Use a metronome. Since a metronome emphasizes rhythm problems, using this tool may be discouraging, especially in the beginning. However, it’s the only way to improve your timing and help you stay in control of your playing. If you continue to practice with a metronome, you’ll be able to develop a solid groove and play the drums like a pro.
Mix up your practice. While you’re using the 80/20 rule as your practice, keep in mind this doesn’t mean just practicing the same thing over and over – that can get boring! Instead, make sure to mix in fun songs and new things, jam with friends, play along with your favorite music, and practice in new ways (such as without your actual drum set). If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, don’t be afraid to speak with your teacher! He or she can offer advice and give you new things to practice, so you stay motivated and passionate about your playing.
Set up your practice area. Setting up a comfortable, inviting practice area will help you find joy in what you do, which will encourage you to practice more. You might consider adding a mirror to your practice space, so you can check your posture, or record yourself using a video camera and then watch it to review your performance with a clear mind.
Have fun. Practicing with attention is very important, but don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it! Play what you love to play and practice exactly what you want to practice. This way, you’ll learn new techniques, develop excellent drumming skills, and become a pro without even realizing it.
Drumming – what a wonderful way to express yourself! We hope that these tips offer you a perfect practicing recipe, which will help you get the most out of your drum practice sessions. Good luck!
Photo by Chiara Cremaschi