Here are some top tips to make your drum practice more effective.
Some drummers can’t get enough practice. For others, practice consists of a couple of stick hits on the dressing room door before they walk on the stage.
Either way, your practice can be more productive if you give it some structure and build in an element of fun.
Contributed by Roland UK
1. Break the old routine
Want to make your drum practice more effective? Then you’ll need to change it up, and that means breaking any bad habits.
If you’re tempted to plug your iPod into the ‘mix in’ socket and play along to Dave Grohl’s finest licks the second you sit behind the kit, try to hold off until later on in the practice session. Although it’s fun, you’re likely to play along to tracks for the remainder of your session without achieving a great deal.
Try to structure a typical thirty minute session like this:
- 10 mins with click
- 10 mins with no click
- 10 mins with music. Make this part your reward at the end!
2. Click it up
Metronome and monotony; very similar words and intrinsically linked! Drummers like to avoid the dull repetition of the ‘click… click… click’. So use the Rhythm Coach with your V-Drums to make it more fun.
For a start, the coach has a number of exercises to stop the rot from setting in;
- Time check shows you whether you’re ahead or behind the beat and gives you an accuracy score. You choose the tempo, time signature and how many bars you’re measured over. 70% today, 72% tomorrow and so on. Challenge yourself and track your improvements.
- Quiet Count drops one bar of time out every 4 or 8 bars. Your aim is to keep playing, and when the click comes back in, ensure you’re still in time. You’ll get an accuracy score again here to track your improvements. Think it’s easy? You can select easy or hard modes and it becomes really challenging when you try to play a fill when the click drops out!
3. Nail that track
OK, we said avoid playing to tunes for a second. But once you’ve done your with/without click sections, you can go back to emulating Bonham’s best Madison Square Garden performance.
Connect via Bluetooth to play along to your favourite drummer.
or try using the song player within your V-Drums. It’s simple;
- Copy WAV or MP3 copies of your favourite songs a on an SD Card or USB stick.
- Insert the SD Card or USB stick inside your V-Drums module
- Press the ‘song player’ button, choose the song on your memory stick you want to play, then play it
- While the song is playing, press the ‘menu’ button. You’ll be able to slow the track down (or speed it up). This is perfect for listening to and nailing those tricky drum parts.
- You’ve also got an option to A/B repeat parts of the song. When you get to a part of the song you want to loop, drop the markers and loop that section until you nail it. Not forgetting you can slow the loop down too!
4. Connect with software
Although it’s fun, sitting on your own at your kit will only get you so far.
Interacting with fun music software can transform the drumming experience.
This is another ace of the electronic drum kit – there are programs such as Melodics for V-Drums that allow you to connect your drums to a laptop or smart phone to play along with tracks hones your timing and technique and keeps you motivated and on track.
5. But I don’t own an electronic drum kit
No problem, it needn’t stop you. By adding an electronic element to your acoustic drum kit, such as an SPD-SX sampling pad, you can revolutionise your practice regime on an acoustic kit. Adding electronics to an acoustic drum set is what we call hybrid – and we’ve written a dedicated post which tells you how you can use a hybrid kit to improve your drumming.
If you’re confused about the kit options, see the easy V-Drums range explanation here.
Taking your drumming to the next level requires dedication, challenging your fears and putting yourself in new situations. But the rewards this can bring to your drumming speak for themselves. Just ask drummers like Roger Taylor of Duran Duran – he’s made a career out of it!