What is The Best Way To Practice Drums?
I get asked this question a lot. A LOT.
I'm not really convinced there is any one "right" answer - as with most things, there are often many different ways to approach it - it just depends on what your goals are.
Which means...you should set goals. Not too many though...too many goals, and you're more likely to abandon them altogether. 3 is an easy number for humans to comprehend, so lets go with that.
Set 3 goals.
Lets say your 3 goals are:
- increase left hand independence
- increase single stroke hand speed
- increase paradiddle speed
This is a start. Now we have 3 things to focus on. But we can do better...how will we measure progress, and whats the timeframe?
- increase left hand independence by being able to fluently play (insert pattern here) within 6 months
- increase single stroke hand speed by 15 bpm within 6 months
- increase paradiddle speed by 20 bpm within 6 months
Alright...now we're cooking! The next thing to do:
Commit to a solid block of time that you can consistently practice.
For example: 1 hour every monday, wednesday, and friday.
Once you have committed a block of time to practicing, its time to prioritize your time based on importance. If there is a true hierarchy, you may want to dedicate more time to one thing than the other.
One crucial part of practice for me: drumming needs to be fun.
The minute it starts feeling like work, my practices start to suck. In order to make sure I'm having fun, I always start every practice with at least 10 minutes of 'fun time' as a warm-up - that is, play whatever I want, whatever feels inspired in the moment, or jam to a loop, whatever. Once I get that out of the way, I'm warmed up, loosened up, I'm having fun and I'm inspired to practice deeper.
An example 60 min practice block:
- 10 min fun time
- 20 min left hand independence
- 15 min single strokes
- 15 min paradiddles
When broken up like this, the time goes by fast!
And the final key piece of the puzzle: Record every practice!
Create a basic practice log.
It should look something like this:
|Date||Jan 1, 2019|
|Item 1||left hand independence|
|time + details||25 min @ 95 bpm|
|Item 2||single strokes|
|time + details||15 min @ 130 bpm|
|time + details||15 min @ 115 bpm|
|Misc.||10 min fun time|
|left hand independence felt shaky. single strokes weren't challenging at this tempo. paradiddles could be tightened up a bit.|
Think of your practice log as a journal. Keep it current, and always update it. This will help you track your practices and make sure you don't get trapped in the bad habit of always 'noodling' and never really putting in the work.
Plus - keeping a practice log allows you to compare where you were and see the true progress you've made, which is incredibly important!
If you want to practice better, remember these key items:
- Set 3 Goals
- Commit to a solid block of time that you can consistently practice
- Maintain a practice log
Alright, now go practice!