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It still comes down to hours of PRACTICE - Drum Solo Artist

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Author Topic: It still comes down to hours of PRACTICE  (Read 7844 times)
KenSanders
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« on: March 22, 2008, 05:21:17 PM »

I often talk to a lot of young drummers who are looking for a “fast track” way to reach a professional level of performance ability.  Although there are lots of really good instructional materials available to help achieve that goal, you still must make a committment to some quality practice time.  Our DSA member/friend “Carthage” (Don) has written several wise comments about the need to practice. He has  recommended several good instructional books that he has listed in the DSA library.  Don also commented on the importance of using a metronome to help develop your perception of meter. 

Let’s talk about a few of the things that practice can include.

•   Playing exercises in instruction books and videos.

•   Playing along with recordings.

•   Practicing sight reading.

•   Practicing rudiments and rhythm patterns.

•   Practicing stick control and feet control.

•   Practicing new and original patterns you want to master.

•   Practice holding tempos and various time signatures steady with a metronome.

Now if you practice something you are doing “wrong” and simply keep playing it “wrong” over and over……well, you may be wasting your time.  I would suggest breaking problem patterns or styles into smaller elements.   Practice those elements until you can nail them.  Ultimately, you can then begin to combine the elements and smooth out the rough spots.  "Learn to walk before you try to run".   Wink

Quality practice will improve the quality of your drumming abilities.  Just playing around on the drums can be fun and we all like to do that, but it doesn’t achieve the improvement you aspire for without practicing the things you want to learn to do better.

So if there is any real "fast track" .....it is spending a lot of serious time practicing.   Roll Eyes

 
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2008, 04:29:17 AM »

Good stuff, iv only been playing for 5 years now (6 years soon) and iv only just started practicing properly within the past year and i can tell ive improved already.
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JeffS
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 04:55:53 PM »

I agree,but it can also depend on your level of experience,your style of choice,formal training etc.When you can get to the point of where you fully know your strengths and weaknesses and how they will fit in with your playing goals then you can concentrate on your lesser skills.Few rock-pop etc drummers can play jazz,but in my experience it can also be the other way around.It is sometimes better to work on what you are really going to be using regularly and set aside a little time now and then to work on stuff thats just for you that presents a challenge or curiosity.This way you can accomplish all your needs and goals without either suffering.Just my 2 cents.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 08:43:37 PM »

RE: 
Quote
  "I agree ,but it can also depend on your level of experience, your style of choice, formal training etc.  When you can get to the point of where you fully know your strengths and weaknesses and how they will fit in with your playing goals then you can concentrate on your lesser skills. 

Few rock-pop etc drummers can play jazz, but in my experience it can also be the other way around.  It is sometimes better to [a]work on what you are really going to be using regularly [/b] and set aside a little time now and then to work on stuff thats just for you that presents a challenge or curiosity.  This way you can accomplish all your needs and goals without either suffering.   Just my 2 cents.”
  [End quote]


Hey Jeff,
You made some really good points and that’s what this forum is all about…..sharing ideas, opinions, concepts, etc.  So first, thanks for sharing some of your thoughts.

There is rarely only ONE WAY to do something, and everyone learning drumming skills has to work things out at their own pace and in a way that can make sense to them.  I certainly agree with your point that practicing the things you need to be able to do “RIGHT NOW” is important;  and it takes a place “way up” at the front of the line past those wild polyrhythms, odd time signatures, and other very advanced studies.  Being able to play solid time and to play bread and butter back beats is something so many of us need to continue to improve.

My main point in starting the thread was, I think, in agreement with your comments……. that we need to work on those very things that we can’t do well….but that we NEED to be able to do well.  That’s why taking the time to break it down….. and work it at your own pace……is so important.  As previously stated playing something the “wrong way”over and over at practice, doesn’t get you to where you want to be.

Our practice time is where we can focus (without the pressure of an audience) on whatever it is we need to improve.   And you are certainly correct…….we all don’t need to work on the same things.

That list in my original thread included some things that we can include in practice, but just like shoes.....one size doesn't fit all.

Keep on rocking!

KEN
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 07:40:56 PM »

Hi,
       The one thing that makes someone great at anything is practice.  Several studies have been done on what makes people great at what they do.  The "number 1" most important thing above all is practice.  I might add "correct Practice" is important, since if you practice something wrong, you only get really good at doing it wrong.

       Of course the level of one's playing will determine what and how someone will practice.  Someone who has been playing for a while will have practice practicing.  For the others it must be a challenge just deciding where to begin.

       I would suggest that the first thing someone should do is determine exactly what you want to do with the drums.  In other words, you need to make goals.  You need to answer the question "Why do I want to play the drums?".  When you can answer that, then you'll know better what you need to do.

       For example, if you just want to attract some girls, then you don't need to do to much.  Maybe learn  how to play some basics rock n' roll beats and be able to twirl the sticks a little.  You'll have to look cool and maybe get a tattoo or something like that to impress the kind of girls you want to get.

       Going the other direction, lets say you actually want to be a drummer.  You have someone you admire and want to emulate that person.  In that case, you'll actually have to do something more.  Serious practice which is almost like work.

        You're going to have to get some basic lessons from somewhere.  I know the stories about how people never had lessons and they are super drummers.  That is a myth.  Everyone has had to learn something even if it's only a little (like how to hold the sticks correctly or you have to use your foot for the bass drum and not your head).

         Nobody just sits down a starts knocking of rudiments without learning them from somewhere.  Even Buddy, who people like to use as the classic self taught drummer.  If you see someone play, you're getting a lesson right then and there.  When you listen to a cd, you're getting a lesson.

         Formal lessons are good.  Once you get the basics down, then depending on how serious and determind you are, you probably don't need any more formal lessons.  You just let your desire guide you.

         After that, depending on what level you want to be (because you can achieve any level you want if you are willing to put in the work) you have to start practicing you ass off as much possible.

         Books are what I would consider an absolute necessity.  They show what to play so you can learn it and master it quickly.

         Obviously you need to start learning how to use your hands first.  The two best books to do that are "Stick Control" by George Lawrence Stone and "Syncopation" by Ted Reed.  If you can master these books and play the material at a quick tempo everything else will be much easier.

         Basically, you just keep practicing something until you can play it perfectly.  If there is something that is difficult - practice it until you can play it.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 07:41:58 PM »

Don..............I totally agree.

I am always working on something new that I want to be able to use live. 
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Ken Sanders
IBJAMN in Nashvile, TN
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