Creative ways to practice?

cworrick

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Play a song open handed (if you are used to doing it close handed) - improves coordination and helps build the weak hand.

Play a song at a different tempo. You have to use your imagination and a metronome. Focuses on your ability to count and keep track of where you are in a song.

I'm always on the lookout for something new to learn to keep fresh. Rhythms, Styles, Techniques, Tricks, etc.

Minimize your kit to get more creative with fills. Bikini kit anyone?
 

LeedyGuy

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What do you mean by open and closed handed exactly? Palms up and palms down?

What's a bikini kit?

I play a four piece already...with like sometimes just a ride and hats!

I have also been playing grooves that are not the right grooves over the tops of other songs that I know have been recording with strict attention to tempo. For example, I can do some of the various Stanton Moore grooves over something like (dare I say) California Girls or even I wanna Dance with Somebody. It's cool because then I can work on making sure I'm playing them really straight with a tune instead of just a metronome.
 

cworrick

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Open handed - on a right handed kit, it is playing the HH with your Left Hand and Snare/fills with your Right Hand. Check out videos of Simon Phillips.

Bikini Kit - 2 pieces. H.Hat and snare only. Maybe add Bass Drum.
 

APSdrums

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I have found that playing a "bikini kit" pushes me to get more creative with fills cuz there is so little to work with. You'll know you got it working when you hear people ask, "How does he get all that sound out of two drums?"
 

LeedyGuy

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I know I have that Chapin, but I'm not sure about new Breed. I'm ready for that ....I should find it!

But how do you use that in a different way than usual? In other words, do you put music on and try to fit it in to what the book is charting or something?
 

JamisonS

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I don't think it would be practical to play along with music, but with a click. How it works: A pattern is memorized and played by 3 limbs, for example ride, snare, hi-hat. A one-page "melody" is read and played by the fourth limb, for example bass drum. The melody is played while vocalizing one of the limb's parts (making a vocal sound that imitates the limb's instrument). The melody is then played while vocalizing another limb's part, and so on, for each limb. Then for the quarter-note click. This forces you to focus on one limb, while maintaining all of them.

The pattern is then played with opposite limbs--right and left limbs switch. I chose to count aloud instead of imitate an instrument sound, which seriously strengthened my counting skills. The melodies get progressively more difficult. There's more to the book, about dividing the drum set into halves and playing half with each hand, but I didn't care for that aspect. I got what I wanted from the book without that.
 

LeedyGuy

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Okay, here's one!

Play to a click, but put it as the upbeat. Better yet, put it as the fourth 16th, or the "a."

I know, this is old news, but really, it can help you groove a lot because you don't have to worry about locking your snare (particularly) to the metronome click.
 

LeedyGuy

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Also, let's talk about the Chapin book.

I have it. I haven't played it really, but it looks fine, but there are parts in it where you have to play a dotted eighth-sixteenth RC pattern over eighth triplets in the bass drum. What the heck is the purpose of that? This is a super old book and we have standardized a lot of things since then (for example, writing swing as "swung eighths") which isn't really addressed in that book. This is the main reason why I haven't gotten into that book.

Also, New Breed - is this like a study in linear concepts? I NEED THAT if it is.

I have been watching Benny Greb non-stop lately and...well...it's time to get my linear thing together. It's what I'm missing in my playing and I'm totally ready for it.
 

LeedyGuy

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So I checked out New Breed from a friend who has it. That's not really for me. It's just too complicated...and his setup is ridiculous. He says in the intro that the book is really really hard and that's fine, but I don't see the payoff for the frustration. It just doesn't look fun.
 

Platt

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Hey Forum Guru,

This might be worth looking into it: www.nyensembleclasses.com/improving-your-time-and-rhythm/

You can combine these concepts with any exercises you are practicing.
It's just an extra layer of focus, and it features different approaches to increasing rhythmic awareness, dynamics, structure and phrasing.

Hope it brings some inspiration!

Best,
Platt
 

RIDDIM

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There are many ways to spend one's time on the kit. Perhaps the root of it should be: what are my weaknesses? What do I need to improve now and in the next 5 years?

Go from there.
 

LeedyGuy

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I love that idea!

Examine your strengths and weaknesses....make your weaknesses your strengths...reexamine your weaknesses.

I have been keeping notes and a journal of things I see in youtube videos and that I hear from other players. It has really helped me get better because I take a look in there and find something to work on.

Also, I have been taking pop tunes (Uptown Funk, Get Lucky) and then making drum covers out of it. It's a super challenge and it's really fun if I have time
 
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I'm interested in your practice routine. Do you practice 2 hours daily? Do you have a warmup? I've been taught to think of my practice as a method of transcendental meditation. I try to relax like yoga. Try not to tense up when performing my doubles or singles. I tend to get tight shoulders. Do you have a trigger to start your practice. Check out The Art of Practice by Stephen Taylor. I took the course and it opened my mind and changed everything in my method. Trigger song, deep breathing, warm up, dynamics, and attitude towards yourself are just a few things I learned which have helped me tremendously. I've been working on Alan Dawson's Rudimental Ritual as a warm up. It's part of my main practice right now but maybe in a year or two it will be my warm up. Starting at the same time every day has been proven to be advantageous. During the week I'll practice for 2 or more hours. On the weekend I like to play throughout the day in 2 hour increments. I'm currently working on Gary Chaffee's Patterns: Time Functioning. I just started a couple weeks ago but a lot of great players that I assume you know swear by it. Vinnie C. and Dave Weckl to name a couple. I really like the open handed comment. The New Breed talks about that. So does Steve Gadd and he's not too shabby. I'm only three years in but I think one of my best lessons was on how to practice and The Art of Practice was the key.
 

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