How To Make Your Drum Practice More Effective

By Roland UK

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. To help, here are some top tips on livening it up.

J.P. Bouvet on the TD-15KV

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 into your iPod 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 available on the DB-90 Dr. Beat, RMP-5 Rhythm Coach, or a V-Drums kit 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.

But before you plug in that iPod, try using the USB song player within your V-Drums. It’s simple and even let’s you change the tempo of your favorite music:

TD-15 USB Memory
  • Put WAV copies of your favorite songs a on a USB flash drive
  • Put the flash drive inside your TD-11, TD-15 or TD-30 V-Drums module
  • Press the “song player” button, choose the song on your USB drive 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 other drummers

Although it’s fun, sitting on your own at your kit will only get you so far.

Interacting with other drummers can transform the drumming experience. This is another ace of the electronic drum kit — there are free apps available that allow you to connect your drums to a laptop or smart phone to play along with tracks and compete against other drummers around the world — in real time. Earning bragging rights against fellow drummers can be a real confidence booster, but also helps to keep you motivated and interested.

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 revolutionize 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.

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!

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