I once read a book called “The Book of Questions”. At first it seemed like a stupid idea. Then I realized that upon reading it, it was extremely thought-provoking and allowed me to look within to find honest answers about myself. Sometimes the answers lead to action that can be life changing.

So I got to thinking; Why not use this same technique for drumming. While we’re not interested in writing a book, even just a handful of questions are bound to get the juices flowing. Try it and see.

1. How many hours do you practice every day? Is it enough?

2. Do you have a routine or simply play randomly without any specific direction?

3. Do you ever ask others to give you an honest assessment of your playing?

4. Do you execute your grooves and drum fills perfectly without mistakes?

5. Do you sit with your back straight when you play? Are you balanced?

6. Have you ever taken a lesson with a famous drummer?

7. Do you get jealous when other drummers are better than you?

8. Do your bandmates like “you” as much as they do your drumming?

9. Do you ever tape yourself to see how you sound?

10. Does your band know that you are the best drummer for them?


11. Do your drums sound the best they can?

12. Do you fake styles or are you confident you’re playing the right thing?

13. Do you ever set up your drums differently?

14. Are you more of a time keeper or a musical contributor?

15. Are you having “fun” playing the drums?

16. Are you just a mediocre drummer or a good drummer?

17. Do you ever practice in front of a mirror?

18. Does your band know that you play for the song first and foremost?

19. Do you practice your feet as much as your hands?

20. Have you accomplished what you set out to do on the drums?


For those of you that have caught yourself saying, “I don’t know what to practice”.. HERE IS A LIST:

1. Listening (concentrated “listening” to music, not just “hearing” it)
2. Method Books (Chapin, Latham, Chaffee, etc.)
3. Drum Rudiments (do you know all 40?)
4. Groove playing (and making it feel as good as possible)
5. Styles (rock, blues, funk, country, jazz, latin, swing, reggae, etc.)
6. Stick control (George Lawrence Stone books etc.)
7. Reading (books, charts)
8. Dynamics
9. Tuning Drums
10. Playing with a click or drum machine (also playing behind/ahead )
11. Song form (AABA,ABA, etc)
12. Soloing
13. Playing over the bar line
14. Odd Time
15. Finger Control (this should come “after” basic hand technique)
16. Moeller Technique
17. Transcribing Drum Beats
18. Two handed riding on cymbals
19. Linear patterns (within the groove and soloing)
20. Left hand lead
21. Double Bass Drum
22. Fast tempos
23. Electronics (familiarize yourself w/the latest midi equipment)
24. Instructional videos
25. Studio techniques (mic placement, effects, etc.)
26. Odd groupings (3’s, 5’s’ 7’s and 9’s etc.)
27. Polyrhythms
28. Beat displacement and/or Metric Modulation
29. Shuffles (funk, rock, 2 hand shuffles etc.)
30. Showmanship (stick twirling, standing on your head)
31. Practicing your drums in front of a mirror
32. Recording yourself and listening back (This is a big one!)
33. Creating your “own” patterns and ideas
34. Augmentation and Diminution
35. Tehais (A figure repeated three times evenly in a phrase)
36. Filling around accent patterns
37. Practicing extremely slow tempos
38. Continual linear triplets around the set
39. Continual linear 16th’s around the set
40. Motion exercises (ala Steve Smith video)
41. Left hand and foot isolation
42. Drum physiology and ergonomics (Extremely important!)
43. Read drum publications, internet newsgroups for inspiration
44. Brushes for snare drum
45. Cymbal technique (which one to hit, when, how hard, etc.)

The list goes on and on. You should never justifiably be able to say,
“I don’t know what to practice”