Execution and Hand Speed Tips?


Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2016
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Las Vegas
I've been a musician my whole life but I've just recently picked up the drums in a serious setting. I'm a good enough musician to get by with simple beats and fills, but I have difficulty with difficult fills on the toms, especially ones that require speed. I know exactly what I want to play but I can't get my hands to do it quick enough. What are some excercises I can do to increase hand speed and just improve execution in general? I can play triplets and things fine at desired speed on one drum, but I mostly have trouble navigating the movement between toms.

I'd like to be able to play fills like this:

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Member since May 2000
Aug 5, 2005
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- Snow Belt, New York State, USA, Earth
Play patterns slowly that you want moving between drums. Do this repetitively over a period of days, even weeks, until the synapses in your brain commit the movement to "muscle memory." Play a little faster for a while. Increase the speed gradually over a period of days until you can whip the movement off almost without thought. It will take time, but just a few minutes each and every day ( or twice a day) should do it.

It's like you originally learned to play rudiments. You could make the analogy to a golf swing perhaps, a tennis stroke. It's not going to come overnight.


Very well Known Member
Feb 17, 2010
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Los Angeles
Agreed. If you want to play fast and accurately with stamina and without injury it's essential to practice slowly and methodically. You're slowing your brain down to enable your body to get on board. That alone takes practice if you intend to maintain focus. I'd start at a lower volume as well.

First figure out exactly what you want to play, and on what drums you'll be playing. The physical movement required will become apparent. Practice STUPID SLOW with a metronome and eventually increase your tempo and volume. Using a metronome will be extremely helpful, especially with slow tempos. I'd recommend playing 8 bars of time followed by your fill and then back to your groove. One fill per week as a starting point. If this sounds boring, it certainly can be, but it's futile to rush through it if you expect near instant recall on the gig.

At some magical moment regardless of tempo, your hands ,supported by good technique, will begin working at the same speed as your brain, enabling you to seamlessly improvise your fills while maintaining your tempo, feel and groove. I know first hand that many of the best drummers you hear do this still practice basic movements around the kit at slower that performance tempos. Have fun.


Tommy Igoe's excellent DVD " Great Hands for a Lifetime" would be a great place to start.
JoJo Mayer's DVD " Secret weapons for the modern drummer " is outstanding as well.

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