Speed drumming is like a workout; it requires endurance, and patience. Playing fast is hard. Let’s just get that out of the way.
The being said, it is nowhere near impossible; thousands of drummers do it every day. Not all are very good, but you aren’t worried about that because you are going to do some speed drumming exercises to improve your accuracy, right?
Before we begin, it is very important that you warm up. Do some light stretching, covering your quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, and triceps to get your blood flowing a bit more quickly. Then, sit down behind your kit and play a simple groove, using all of your limbs, for ten minutes. When you are finished, stand, and stretch a bit more. I must stress that warm up exercises for drums playing is crucial to prevent injuries.
Sit behind your kit, and turn on your metronome. Adjust it so that the speed is somewhat quick (between 120 and 150 bmp). Start off by playing quarter notes with your double bass drum. After a three minutes, work your way up to playing eighth notes. Don’t stop; play for five minutes. When your five minutes is up, you still have not right to rest; push it up to sixteenth notes. Play for five minutes.
Chances are, most of you either didn’t make it, or your legs felt as if they were full of molten led.
If neither was the case, congratulations; you don’t need these exercises.
If you did, it is simply because you don’t have the required endurance in your legs. That’s okay though, because we are here to help you develop it.
You can start by turning your metronome back on and playing that eighth note pattern again for five minutes.
Your legs may be tired but the only way to develop speed is to build your way up.
When you are finished, play the same eighth note pattern, but use snare strokes instead of bass drum kicks. Your tempo should still be moderately high (around 120 to 150 bmp). After five minutes of your snare pattern, kick it up to sixteenth notes.
This time, instead of simply stopping, work your way down to eighth notes for a few minutes, and then let your feet take over. Once again, play eighth notes for five minutes, and then kick it up to sixteenth notes.
Switching this pattern between your legs and arms gives your body active rest. By not stopping cold, you are helping your body to adapt to playing quicker for longer periods as you learn to play drums.
Every week, tack on an extra fifteen seconds to each section of this exercise. This exercise should be performed every two to three days, for thirty to forty-five minutes at a time.
Over time, you will notice that the exercise becomes easier and easier. This is the point; you are building up your playing endurance, and training your body.
Remember, as a drummer, you are as much an athlete as a musician. This means that you need proper rest. Don’t push yourself to perform speed exercises every day; over time, your body will cease to gain endurance, and instead you will find your hard earned speed drumming ebbing away. Be smart!
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