In my previous blog post for The Lesson Studio I discussed an efficient way to construct a practice routine. The main focus of this blog will be on the technical work done in a practice session, and more importantly, how to make it fun!
When beginning the technical portion of your practice routine, it is important to have a clear goal in mind. For example, if you are working on building dexterity with your rudiments, select a specific rudiment and begin to isolate the motion of that rudiment.
Focus on your weaknesses
For a single stroke roll, it is important that both hands are equal in speed and control. For most drummers, the weaker hand is the left hand. This consistently stems from not spending enough time on hand development, and instead jumping straight into full drum set work. When playing on the drum set, the right hand (if playing right hand lead) consistently plays at least twice the amount of notes that the left hand plays. It is crucial to spend time developing the weaker hand to ensure an even sound across the kit.
Building a single stroke roll should include hands isolated, as well as rhythmic consistency when playing them together. To make this technical work enjoyable, consider playing exercises along with music, or moving them around the drum set instead of always playing on a pad.
Don’t Forget your feet!
Just like the hands, the feet need to be worked as well. For all drummers, regardless of whether you play a single or double pedal, we should strive to achieve evenness in our feet.
Many of the exercises that are done for the hands (singles, doubles, paradiddles) can be done with the feet as well. Once again, the left foot will tend to be the one that lags behind because many of the work done on drum set involves the left foot simply sitting on the hi hat pedal. Once again to keep this work fun, play any exercises along with music, and create/improvise new patterns to keep your mind engaged.
Technical work is absolutely crucial to any practice routine, and it is important to make sure that this time is focused, specific, and fun!