Essentials Every Drummer Must Learn!
Learning the drums for the first time can be a very difficult thing to do. There is so much to this massive instrument that somene could get lost very easy. Perhaps you already know how to play the drums but are finding it hard to progress with your skills. Whatever the situation is, learning the essentials of this massive instrument is a must. There are a few lessons that need to be learnt in order to be able to play and practice the drums effectively. Before starting any other lessons on the drums, make sure you go through these essentials and master them. If you are an advanced drummer already, you definitely want to go through them again to make sure you haven’t missed anything. There are a lot of drummers that do not know a few of these skills, which throws their whole groove off! Like I said; these skills are ESSENTIAL for every drummer!
The first essential skill a drummer must know before anything else is how to hold a drumstick. This is something that most drummers do not take the time to actually learn; they will just grip the sticks any way they feel comfortable. This is not the right thing to do at all! There are specific ways to hold the drum sticks for a reason, so make sure you go over all the different variations. Whether you play traditional grip, matched grip, or French grip, there is a distinct way to hold the sticks in order to get the maximum bounce and response from your stick. If you learn this right early in your drumming life, you will be that much better off, as your practice sessions will become more effective. Check out these few articles on this concept so you can master this skill:
The next thing every drummer should know is how to count time. This is not as easy as counting to 4, there is a little more to it. Being able to count time means being able to count different time signatures, notes, and beats. If you cannot count the beat or groove you are playing, then how do you expect to play it properly? That is why you must develop your internal clock skills right away as a drummer. Most drummers think they can do this no problem, but when asked to play a 16th note pattern in 7/4, they stare at me with a blank look. So work on counting time so you can master you beats on the drum set. Here are a few lessons and articles on this concept:
One essential skill most drummers do not know is how to tune a drum set. You would be surprised how many students I get asking me how to tune a drum kit. The method isn’t really that hard, yet so many drummers never take the time to learn it. If you can tune your drum set correctly, your whole drumming experience will sound that much better. You will also get a further understanding for the instrument you are trying to master. Knowing your instrument is the first step in learning it. So to help you out, here are a few lessons on learning how to tune a drum set:
Believe it or not, another essential skill drummers must learn is how to read sheet music. So many drummers do not take the time to even consider learning this. Understanding a little bit of drumming theory is the best thing any drummer can do for themselves; after all, drums are still music. Knowing how to read drum notation will get you a ton more gigs and jobs as a drummer. Musicians will appreciate you more too. But aside from all of this, you will be able to learn more quickly. When you are starting out on the drums, this is key, fast development. When you can read sheet music you can take advantage of all the free drum lessons and beats online. You will be able to learn more diverse beats. So before you decide to just improvise and ignore drum notation, check out these easy to follow lessons to give you a further understanding of sheet music and drum theory:
These 4 skills are a must for any drummer, beginner or not. If you learn these concepts correctly before you start practicing, your practice sessions will be much more effective. If you are a drummer who has been playing for years now, go back and see if you can cross each one of these off. If you can’t, then you better get practicing. I guarantee you will see an improvement in your drumming if you follow these steps!
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A Beginners Guide To Rock Drum Lessons
What makes a good rock drum lesson? How do you balance having fun and progressing as a musician? These are questions I am constantly being asked by my private drum students, and that I have had a hard time answering over the years. However, after talking to literally dozens of students, reviewing the topics and techniques most rock drummers deem “important”, and taking a self-evaluation of how my personal lessons go – I hope to provide answers to these questions for you here.
Balancing Fun and Progression With Drum Lessons
Let me say this right up front – the drums, and any other musical instrument, should be “fun” above all else. If you are not having fun while playing an instrument, then being a musician probably isn’t for you. Sure there will be challenging times where you really need to focus on developing a few difficult techniques, but at the end of the day – it needs to be fulfilling to you. If you aren’t having fun, it’s only a matter of time before practices become a chore, and gigs become a hassle.
However, with that said – it’s also important that you look inwards to see the value of hard work and practice. In other words, the more you practice – the more fun you can have with the new and creative beats and fills you come up with. So, there should be a challenge, but in the end you should feel the payoff. You don’t want to be constantly working and never reaping the rewards, but you also don’t want to become bored due to the limited material you are able to play.
In the end I think all true musicians feel much better having put in a good practice as opposed to jamming around on older material. It’s that constant challenge that makes playing an instrument so much fun.
Essential Elements of Rock Drumming
As I see it, there are three key things to focus on when it comes to rock drumming lessons:
- Control – with the timing of a song, and with the dynamics of your drumming.
- Independence – using the various limbs you use to play the entire drum set.
- Groove – playing the drums musically with or without a band.
These three elements really build on each other, and are a foundation to any drummers ability to play with or without a band. Therefore, I feel any drum lesson or private practice should focus on developing these essential areas of drumming. In the end, they will make you a better drummer, and allow you to play in more situations with confidence.
A Simple Rock Drum Lesson Structure
Now, if you are anything like me and the thousands of other ADD drummers in the world, you probably have a tough time focusing for an extended period of time. The solution to this is to break up your practices into different blocks. This way your drum lessons never get repetitive.
For example, I like to practice in one hour sessions 4-5 days a week. So, I make a list of all the topics and techniques I want to cover, and split them into 20 minute blocks. Then I mix and match three of those blocks to make up my one-hour practice for each day – always moving on to the next three items each time I sit down at my kit. Every few days I will restart at the top, but as long as my list isn’t divisible by three… the repetition is never exact.
It’s also important to remember the “don’t practice while you play, and don’t play while you practice” rule. Essentially what that means is… don’t try to practice a drum-related technique during a band rehearsal or performance. Take your own personal time to do that. On the flip side, don’t jam with beats you have already mastered while you should be practicing. Leave that time for technique improvement, and mastery of new beats and fills. Keep these two aspects of drumming separate, and you will continue to develop as a musician while having fun along the way!
If I was to tell you that many problems with drumming stem from one little “Secret”, would
you beg to know what it is?
The secret is REPETITION
Most young drummers (and even some old ones 😉 underestimate the importance of this word. But many simple problems are solved relatively easily by incorporating just this one little secret.
PROBLEM #1: My arms tire while playing for long periods of time.
FIX: REPETITION.! Practice single strokes for LONG periods of time. Get them EXTREMELY fast to where they become “very” comfortable. If the rest of your technique is relatively good, your arms will not tire after that.
PROBLEM #2: My feet are slow and can’t do half the things my hands do.
FIX: REPETITION.! Isolate your feet and practice nothing but them for extended periods of time. Play the samba bass drum rhythm “allot”. That’s always been a good one for getting your right foot in shape.
PROBLEM #3: I can’t play in odd time signatures.
FIX: REPETITION.! Vinnie Colauita once said, “Just play in 7 for like an hour”. This is especially insightful as we can often get caught up in studying things too closely and miss the point. Sheer repetition will help lead to more comfort in odd times.
PROBLEM #4: I can’t do a proper double stroke roll to save my life.
FIX: REPETITION.! Play that thing slowly, properly, and for “long” periods of time, while gradually increasing your speed. DO NOT CHEAT. Make yourself do intentional,
defined doubles. Chart your progress by playing to 16th’s on a metronome. In no time at all, you’ll be GETTING IT.
Learn other styles of music
If you are a rock drummer, study jazz and latin patterns. Likewise, if you are a jazz drummer, it will be helpful if you study current rock styles.
Not only will your versatility make you more in demand with a greater number of musicians, but the coordination skills you develop in one style will carry over into another.
Many of the top rock drummers around today also have a strong jazz background, and it shows in their playing.
Learn another instrument
I suggest piano, as the scales, melodies, and chords are tangible and graphic.
In other words, everything is laid out for you to see, touch, and hear at the same time, thereby allowing you to understand musical ideas with your eyes, hands, and ears.
Most successful musicians have a working knowledge of the keyboard, and the benefits to you as a drummer are both direct and indirect:
- As your ear becomes more perceptive, you become more aware of what other musicians are doing, so you can react in a musical way.
- You can follow charts more easily (lead sheets as well as drum charts).
- You understand form in music more easily.
- You can communicate with musicians in a succinct way.
- You can even write your own songs. Many great drummers are also known as composers: Louis Bellson, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham
Playing a drum solo is the most impressive way for drummers to express themselves.Every drummer wants to impress the audience with a unique drum solo. But do you really know how to build a proper drum solo? Will you bore the audience with a lame drum solo or lengthy repetitive roll? This article will get you started on the proper ways to create a unique drum solo that will build on itself, and impress the crowd. Remember, a good drum solo isn’t always fast and technical – so don’t get down if you are still to be considered a beginner drummer. A drum solo is something that a drummer of any background or level of experience can put together to showcase their talent. These solos are best played with rock songs; however, playing them in Jazz music, Latin music, and Punk music is also very common. Before you decide to take on drum soloing, you may want to make sure you know the basic skills of a drummer!
The best way to look at a drum solo is by thinking of it as its own song. With a song, it starts out with a bit of an intro, and slowly starts to build. Towards the end, the song will build and build, giving off more energy to keep you the audience intrigued. You would not want a song to start with a heavy bridge and end with a slow, softer feel would you? The same is with a drum solo. A lot of drummers will throw their best chops, rolls, and drum rudiments in right at the beginning, realizing they have nothing left for a solid outro. This being said don’t think this is the only way to do a drum solo. A drum solo should be an expression of the drummer, if you want to do a solo with slow rolls for five minutes that is totally fine. Drum solos should always be unique and personal, but try your best to make them as innovative as possible!
Building A Drum Solo
It is very important to keep a solo in time. That being said, most times you can change the tempo to achieve a certain feel during your drum solo. A good way to keep time is by using ametronome, and playing a solid quarter note beat on your bass drum. An example of this is:
Keep this beat on your bass drum rolling throughout the solo; it will keep you in time, and keep your solo flowing. To get proper sound dynamics, start the solo out soft, and slowly bring up the volume and intensity.
Now its time to fill in the rest. There are many ways in going about doing this, so do not feel limited, this is only a very basic solo idea. Try adding some toms over top of your bass drum pattern. One example would be to add a 16th note roll on your toms. That would look something like this:
All that is left is to add some cymbals in, and expand on the beat a bit. There’s no limit to how long you can’t go for, as long as you keep people interested. You don’t want to keep repeating the same roll over and over. The audience will get bored very fast. You have to keep changing different techniques and feels, while keeping them all related. Just like a song, you wouldnt totally change the feel everytime you go from verse to chorus, you always need something relative to tie everything together. Make sure that all elements of your drum solo all have the same type of feel. You can get alot of ideas from going on websites like YouTube or Google-Video, these websites have home made video’s from many talented drummers that you can learn drum solo techniques from.
Finishing A Drum Solo
There are many ways to finish off a drum solo. One way is to bring it down to a soft stop. This can be done by bringing the dynamics down, and slowing the beat down a bit. You may like this technique if you are doing a long solo, where all attention is on you. It will bring closure to your beat. The other way is to go out with a bang. This is a great method if you are ending a show, or song. Crash away at your cymbals, while playing on the set as fast as you can. Fast drum rudiments going around the toms are sure to impress your crowd. End with a final blow to your crash.
Like I said before, a drum solo does not have to be too technical. They just have to be able to keep the listener intrigued. I cannot express enough how important it is that you continue to be creative with your solos.To add some spice to any solo, try playing it with brushes. Make sure that every solo you create is unique to your style, the audience can easily sense if the drummer is bored, or dissatisfied with a performance. Soloing is very fun and rewarding, so always try new tricks, and never stop learning! Try to add some spice to your soloing by playing some patterns in a linear style
Learn How To Tune Drums
Tuning your drums is vital in getting the maximum sound and life out of your drum heads. Without tuned drums, your drum kit will sound muddy and out of pitch. Also if you don’t regularly tune your drum heads, you will find that they will be more susceptible to damage and you are going to have to buy new drum heads alot faster than necessary. This article will give you the ABCs of tuning your drums to find the right sound for you, as well as give you tips on improving the strength of your skins. That being said, you need to know that there is no one way to tune your drums. Tuning your drums is extremely personal (like selecting skins) and you must experiment to get the pitch right for you!
Lets start with an empty shell. (For those unsure on how to remove your existing skin, refer to Jared Falk’s Rock Drumming DVDs for the complete Drum head replacement and tuning section). Be sure to have a cloth handy so you can give your drum rim and new drum head a wipe down. Any dirt or wood chips that remain on the drum shell can cause the skin to go on warped, causing an uneven sound, or it can also damage the drum shell. Plus no wants a dirty drum. After you clean the drum shell, and the new drum head, you are ready to install the new drum head onto your drum.
Installing The Drum Head
Place the drum head on your shell, of course making sure the size of the drum head is the correct size for the shell. it should fit easily overtop, but not be “baggy” around the drum shell. Give the rim of your drum a quick wipe down, and place it on the skin along with the lugs in the appropriate holes. Tighten all the lugs hand tight at first; leave the drum key alone for a bit. Once the rim is on hand tight, you must stretch the head. This is a very important tip that most drummers do not know about. To do this, simply make a fist, and press down on the middle of your skin. This will help stretch and set your skin so it will not go out of tune as easily. You may hear the skin cracking a bit, but do not worry, that is normal. Generally speaking you shouldn’t be able to press down too hard and break the skin. I have never broken a skin by doing this, but if you do, return it to your local music store for an exchange. Once you have stretched your drum head, go over all of the lugs again, and make sure they are all finger tight.
Tuning Your Drums
Now its time to tune your drums using the drum key. Tuning the lugs on a drum is like tightening the bolts on a tire, you want don’t want to go around the drum in a circle, you want to move back and forth across the drum. Pick a lug to start at, any one will do. Say you turn it one and a half times, be sure to turn every lug (using the tuning pattern below) the same amount to keep the skin uniform. Keep tuning opposite lugs until they are all snug. Take this example below. You would want to tune each lug in alphabetical order. Start by tuning A, then B, and so on…
Once you get the drum head snug, its time to actually “tune” the drum. Grab a drumstick, and tap 1-2 inches from any lug on the drum skin. How does it sound? If its the sound you want, use that lug as your “guide lug”. Again you want to tune your drums by tapping opposites, making sure you are tapping the same distance from the lug as the first tap. Make sure you tune every lug has the same sound in front of it or the whole drum will sound out of pitch. All that is left now is to find the right sound for you and the music you are playing.!
Tuning The Batter Head
Tuning your batter skin (the skin you hit) is the same as tuning your resonant skin (the bottom skin). To get a better sound from your drum, try tuning your resonant skin a few tones lower than your batter skin. Weather its a bass drum, snare, or tom, you can use this method on all. Just make sure you have the snare turned off when tuning.
Finding The Right Sound For You
There are many different types of drum heads that you can use depending on your style of drumming. There are different heads for jazz drumming, rock drumming, and country drumming. Next time you are in your local music store take the time to experiment with different types of drum heads. It is also important for you to understand how drums work. If you want to learn more about drum tuning check out the drum set lessons on DrumLessons.com
Check out this drum lesson website if you are interested in learning more about playing the drums
Ever get in a slump and can’t get excited about drumming? This is often due to lack of motivation or stimulation. Just as you would read positive books of wisdom and understanding to improve yourself as a person, the same holds true with drumming. You must find ways to be excited about playing. The following offer a few suggestions:
1. Surround yourself with great musicians. When you’re around great
players, you will strive to be the best yourself. It rubs off, I promise!
2. Buy a new cymbal, piece of hardware, or drumset. Sure, it’s a bit expensive, but it never fails to help get the juices flowing.
3. Listen to great drummers on CD and Video. The more you hear, the
more you will have the desire to play like them.
4. Go to drum clinics! What can I say, if you don’t walk away inspired by a great clinic, then you probably shouldn’t be playing.
5. Set goals for yourself. No matter how small the goal, it
gives you something to strive for and gives you a sense of purpose in life. Life is more fulfilling when you’re moving forward.
6. Take some lessons. Despite your level of experience, lessons always seem to inspire us. You will find new approaches, viewpoints, and techniques that you may have never encountered otherwise. Even the greats will often go back and study with a teacher after a long successful career. They are maintaining goals in their life and assuring continual motivation, excitement, and competitiveness.
How many of you make New Years Resolutions? Or are you the type to say, “Well, what’s the use, I never keep ’em anyway.”?
Think about it for a minute, if we had that attitude about everything in life, then why would we even get up in the morning? I mean, why drive to work or go to school when you might have an accident and get killed? You see how silly this is?
The word resolution is just a fancy word for “goal setting”. Webster lists several definitions but reoccurring words are “resolve”, “declare”, and “decide”.
Why not use the beginning of the year as a fresh start to achieve the goals that you set for yourself on DRUMS? Write them down in big bold letters and tape them to the wall if you have to. This is a common habit of successful people and it WILL work if “you” work hard for it and “MAKE IT HAPPEN”. Even if you don’t meet all of your goals, just “TRYING” gets you a lot closer than you would have gotten otherwise.
You don’t need to have a list of 10 or 12 things if you don’t want. Sometimes just 1 or 2 goals are sufficient. Maybe you can resolve to get that double stroke roll perfected once and for all. Or maybe you can commit to taking a few private lessons to help
get you out of that slump.
GET POSITIVE, GET MOTIVATED! Make a few resolutions and get out there and KICK SOME BUTT!
Benefits Of The Moeller Method
If you are a drummer looking to increase your speed, power, and control of your drumsticks, then you may want to look into the Moeller method. The Moeller method is a technique used on your sticks to maximize the control and speed of your drumsticks; ultimately improving your overall drumming. The Moeller method is a technique used by every professional drummer, so why not learn it yourself? Learning how to play the Moeller method is not actually that difficulty at all. Before you even start to learn the proper Moeller strokes, let me explain some of the benefits of the Moeller method.
Develop total control of your drumsticks
Whether you use the Moeller method for its full potential or not, learning how incorporate it into your everyday playing will help to develop a complete new feel and control for your drumsticks. With the Moeller method, you learn how to grip your drum sticks in ways never thought of before. These unique Moeller stick grips will enable you to get maximum bounce and control from your strokes. You will learn how to find the fulcrum point, or balancing point of the drum stick quick and easily. For a video lesson on finding the fulcrum point and proper stick grip, watch Mike Michalkow’s lesson on how to hold your drumsticks. You can also read up about the different type of stick grips with this powerful article on drumstick grips. These reasons alone are enough to at least study the Moeller method at least a short while.
Increase your power on your drumsticks
Once you have discovered the proper way to hold your drumsticks, you will be able to get the next benefit from the Moeller method – drumstick power! The Moeller method teaches a number of strokes that use your wrists as a whipping motion to get a very powerful strike on the drums. This motion is fairly easy to maneuver; however you must get the proper style down first. With this technique, you will be able to get the most power out of your drumsticks with very little work at all. Learning the Moeller method will increase your overall dynamics on the drum set.
Double, or even triple your drumstick speed
Probably one of the biggest benefits you will see from the Moeller method is the increased speed on your drumsticks. The Moeller method teaches you how to use the rebound of your stick to control the amount of strokes you get from each hit. When you have the Moeller method mastered, you will be able to get anywhere from 2 to 6 (or more) strokes for each hit of the drum. You can only imagine how much faster you could drum with the ability to get 4 times the amount of strokes from your basic drum roll. In the end, you will be able to master each of the 40 essential drum rudiments with speed, power and control.
When you break it down, there are too many reasons to learn the Moeller method to just ignore it. It may be a change from your regular style of drumming, but once learned, you will notice an improvement immediately. Sometimes learning a new technique may seem to set you backwards in your drumming skills; however once you are comfortable with it your skill level will increase that much faster. So take the time to look into this technique that is growing rapidly in popularity in the drumming community!