Secrets of Successful Drum Practice
So, you've made the decision to be a great drummer. We know it's important to practice but not many of us know HOW to practice. Here's an example of a typical (and exhausting) routine I used to plan out for myself.
Day 1: 5 minutes of rudiments, 10 minutes of the Chapin book, 10 minutes of Stick Control, 10 minutes of a cool YouTube video, 10 minutes of Samba, 10 minutes out of Syncopation book, and man this is exhausting.
My routine consisted of short spurts of things I wanted to get better at and the subject matter was everywhere. That's only day 1. Day 2-6 were completely different and just as jam packed! Worst of all, I didn't feel like I was improving. Often I'd end up abandoning the plan all together in search for the perfect routine, wasting even more time on not practicing!
Problem is that there are so many facets of drumming and I want to get better at all of them; Groove, chops, independence, technique, etc. I was trying to fit a ton of subject matter into a tidy package that would give me (in my mind) the fastest results. After about a year of never settling on a consistent routine and only improving incrementally, I had to change it up.
So, what's the secret? (drum roll please...) Drumming is a marathon, not a sprint. That's it!
Realize it's going to take you a lifetime to master any one drumming concept so you might as well settle in and don't be afraid to take it slow. Also, keep it simple. Rather than jam pack your drumming routine, pick one or two topics and really work on them --- for a long time. Three months, a year, or however long it takes until you feel comfortable enough to move on (I'd give it a minimum of three months though).
I made a list of all the things I wanted to improve and chose two, linear drumming and groove. Here's how my practice routine looks now:
Hour 1 - Linear Drumming by Mike Johnston
Hour 2 - Groove Freedom App (also by Mike Johnston)
Simple, right? I don't even have to think about it. I happen to like MJ for his step by step teaching style and highly recommend you check out his stuff at www.mikeslessons.com. But whatever resources you choose, remember to pick one or two concepts, keep it simple, and focus on them daily until you're ready to move on.
Now that you know the HOW, get to it and happy practicing!