If you are just starting out with drumming, and chances are you are, then one of the first things you should do is learn a metal blast at 200 BPM. You do not know what BPM stands for?
Well, it stands for “beats per minute”, but the lack of this knowledge is not the sole reason why you should rather start with planning a good drum practice routine.
Practicing the drums should be a ceremony, so you should prepare yourself for it. You probably realize that drumming consists of several small and some larger movements; it basically moves the whole body.
Preparing the body is just as important as preparing the mind, and doing a few refreshing exercises, no matter how unusual that might seem, can do wonders. Seriously, before sitting down to practice you should do a few push-ups, some squats, followed by just jumping around.
Once you picked up a few rhythms, you will feel the urge to play them every time you hold a drum stick. Well, unless you are satisfied with the three basic rock rhythms that you have learned so far, you should do something else. Analyze where you have space to improve, what the next step is going to be, and how you are going to reach the next step. This is not always an easy challenge.
For that reason, you should make your practice time totally dedicated, when you pay absolute attention to yourself. You need to be critical regarding your skills. Even though you should know your strengths, practice time is the period when you can find out your weaknesses and fight against them.
Summing it up, this means that you should not “play” when you “practice”. Turning this around, there is another rule you should learn: until you are not experienced enough to improvise confidently, you should not “practice” when you “play”.
The deepest wisdom that my drum teacher has ever told me is that “playing something silent is harder than playing something fast and loud”. I may add that tempo is no problem, be it slow or fast, until you are not playing steadily. Things become harder when you are no longer having fun around but you have to comply with a band.
In order to be prepared for that situation, you should start practicing with a metronome. There are several online metronomes that you can run from your browser, but buying an actual device is also cheap, ranging from $10 to $50. The metronome, however, should not become your constant practice partner, because it should only aid you in improving your inner clock – and should not server as a replacement.
No one forces you to play the drums. It is your own choice, and you should do it for your own joy. There are contradictions in this area. You will feel like you are a total loser many times. Actually, you should feel like a total loser many times. But once you are persistent with your practice routine, you will gradually realize that you are slowly making progress. That will surely make you happy.
If it does not, imagine playing in front of a crowd cheering your band. If that does not make you happy, then this is the last drumming article that you should read, stop here. But for the rest of us, we need to remember just one thing: we call it “playing” the drums, not “working” or “fighting” them.
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