Proper individual practice is essential in any rudimentary drummer’s development. Show me an experienced drummer who didn’t do a lot of individual practicing and I’ll show you a bad drummer. Commitment to the craft & consistency of regular practice is truly a game of ‘mind over matter.’ If you can make a true commitment to practice on a regularly scheduled basis, and not break that regiment, you are halfway there. What is the other half? Knowing what to practice. Here is a template of the practice regiment that DOA preaches to our players, students, and associates:
Practice should be everyday, at least 30 minutes! Not just weekdays or every other day, EVERYDAY! No skipping days, no making excuses. Everyday is the important word here. Yes we all get busy, but you can simply add this into your daily regiment at a time that is convenient for you. Before bed is a great example. Yes you will lose a little sleep, but 30 minutes of shut eye is worth the sacrifice to get your chops where they need to be. Instead of going to bed at 10pm, you go to bed at 10:30 and get some much needed practice in. If you can do this properly everyday for 30 minutes, you should see a dramatic improvement within 30-60 days.
Rudiments for about 10 minutes. Non-snare players and young drummers should pick about 3-6 of the first 26 rudiments each day (choose at random, they should not all be the same each day, more advanced players may choose from more difficult rudiments). Each rudiment should be rehearsed at 3 tempos. Tempo A, a tad slower than what you need, focusing on the technique and mechanics of the hands, making sure you feel it in your muscles. Tempo B, this should be a ‘normal’ tempo, something that is comfortable for you, still playing with a proper technique and focusing a bit more on being rhythmically accurate. Tempo C, this is an uncomfortably fast tempo, this will help you with speed and taking it to the next level when you come back to rehearse again. These tempos should get faster and faster as the days/weeks go by. Once you have completed all 3 tempos with a specific rudiment, you’ll want to practice it again in an ‘open close open’ format (continuously, starting slow, going to very fast, then slowing back down). This is going to make your playing fluid and ensure that you hit all the tempos within your range. If you have hit Tempo A, Tempo B, Tempo C, and Open Close Open; you can move on the the next rudiment or next portion of your practice.
Exercises for about 7 minutes. Most organized ensembles teach exercises that hit some of our most basic skills; stroking, articulation, listening & locking, etc. These exercises are very important because it puts everything that you practiced with the rudiments and everything you’ve heard your instructor say to practical use (show music does not always do this). Examples of these sorts of exercises will usually be referred to by (or contain a reference to) basic skill names like: Eights, Sixteens, Doubles, Triples, Singles, Diddles, Hugga, Flams, Control, Accents, Rolls, Rounds, Scales, etc. They should also be practiced in the 3 fore-mentioned tempos (tempo A, B, & C; no open close open), this is very important. Should your ensemble not practice exercises like these, here are some suggestions that you can look up on YouTube & Google: 8 on a Hand, Double Beat, Accent Tap, Add-A-Flam, and Hugga Dugga.
Sight-reading/rhythm studies, 3-5 minutes. Sight-reading rhythms properly is an essential part of what a literate drummer does. Teaching the mind to automatically subdivide the page (instead of attempting to recall what we may perceive as optically similar rhythms) is going to make all the difference. Some may want to skip this portion of practice, DO NOT! Even reading quarter-note and eighth-note rhythms will help (it doesn’t really matter how easy/simple it is). A small amount of sight-reading each day makes a huge impact over time. Where can you find sight-reading materials? Raid your school’s music library for percussion/rhythm books that are not being used. You can also check out SightReadingFactory.com. If you are advanced with reading rhythms, you can move on to mallet music.
Show music, about 10 minutes. Never forget that there is always an end goal in mind; showing your new skills to the world, or maybe just being able to hang with the rest of your group for the season. Whatever your goal is, you probably have music that you need to perform at some point in time, so don’t forget to practice it! Make sure you have a pencil when practicing. Actively marking your music throughout rehearsal can make it much easier to play the next time you come back to it.
The Challenge. Drumlines Of America challenges any player to take on this exact regiment for 60 days! At the end of the 60 days, if you are not satisfied with your progress, DOA will schedule a live video consultation with you to help for FREE!
Daily practice must be logged for 60 days consecutively and fit the constructs of this regiment to qualify for free consultation. Not valid for individuals under 13 years or over 50 years of age. Offer good until January 2017. Will you take the 60 day challenge!?