Your Favorite Exercises

ZYC

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I'm a high school student enrolled in band who just flew right out of the wind category this past year and landed in the percussion zone. I have very little experience, and I came to DFO to learn as much as I can from people whose main passion is drumming. That being said, I'm working on all of the fundamentals right now. I want my foundation to be as solid as it can possibly be, and I'm focusing on exercises to help me develop things like consistency, musicality, an internal metronome, ambidexterity, and endurance.

I wanted to ask what helped some of you get your start. Which exercise came to your rescue when you were trying to get the lag out of your weak hand? What's your go-to before a gig? Are there any exercises you wish you knew about when you were starting? I would really appreciate some help with this.

I know there are thousands of videos on YouTube about playing exercises, but I'd rather ask around here for some advice before digging into hours of footage.

Thank you!
-ZYC
 

dave.robertson

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OK. I wish this one method book was available when I started out.

But the author was not even born yet. There are progressions of GREAT exercises in there. And it is pretty cheap considering you can work out of it for years.

[SIZE=11pt]Stick Technique, by Bill Bachman[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]PS ...You can search YT for video of Bachman and you will find plenty. But the ones I found were not viable alternatives to this book, in my opinion. Send me a PM if you want more of my opinion. That said, I am sure you will get good or better suggestions from others. This is just my take on it. Not the only take on it. :)[/SIZE]
 

Tuckerboy

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First, I would look for a good teacher, it's an invaluable experience and could save you months or years of frustration from trying to break bad habits which you may have unintentionally developed. A good teacher can help you understand the reasoning behind proper grip techniques, fulcrums, and such and why they are so important for future development. I'm sure the band director can help you get started or recommend a teacher for what you want to do. I'm sure you understand by now that you normally get out of it what you put into it, so be patient and consistent with your studies and your practice regiment. Everyone is different, but for me, I require hours of practice for retention of new material for both the mental and physical aspects of drumming. It may initially take longer to develop but I would practice most exercises leading with both right and left hands. Rudiments, rudiments, rudiments! I have some drum kit exercises I could email to you that applies the newly learned rudiment to either a fill or a groove and are quite fun to learn and play (Charlie_dw@outlook.com). Practice new material that is challenging and try not to fall back into continuously practicing things you already know. METRONOME. Don't be intimidated by it, use it, make it your friend. Are you interested in only playing at school or are you wanting to incorporate into the drum set too? That may play a major role in how you go about your practicing too? If your playing on a drum kit, why not go ahead and start playing beats with your non dominant hand? Again, it may initially take you longer to develop but it will pay off. Once you understand the core basics of reading and a general 4/4 beat, I would immediately jump into odd time signatures. I'm not saying you have to do some crazy time signature studies but venture away from the common 4/4 and explore your possibilities and see what you can come up with. I think it's much harder to develop feel for other time signatures if you consistently only play 4/4 with the snare on the 2 and 4 type beats. If you can count it, then you can play it. Don't give up if you have to start out with a rudiment or groove at 20-30 beats per minute on the metronome, stick with it and you will progress. Hang out with other good musicians and pick their musical brains on curious and interesting material. You have to make it fun to continuously have that internal driven desire for future development. Listen to different styles of music to get new ideas and open up endless musical possibilities. Ask yourself, why do I play this instrument.
 

cornelius

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ZYC said:
...I wanted to ask what helped some of you get your start. Which exercise came to your rescue when you were trying to get the lag out of your weak hand? What's your go-to before a gig? Are there any exercises you wish you knew about when you were starting? I would really appreciate some help with this.

Thank you!
-ZYC
My suggestion would be to Skype a lesson with Dom Famularo. He’ll most likely start you with grip and the Freestroke Exercise - this is definitely something I wish I had known about when I was first starting. IME, this is a great foundation exercise that everything else will stem from - really understanding the concept of rebound.

It’s a very simple exercise that is always my go-to before a gig. I used to noodle around with chopsy sounding stuff on a pad or hi hat - but playing the Freestroke before gigs allows me to physically loosen up, and mentally collect myself.

Good luck! Sounds like you have a good approach - fundamentals are key!
 
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I've only been playing for 3 years but I've worked with 3 different drumming mentors which all three have been drumming for 20 plus years and two have masters. From what I've learned is that rudiments are essential and should be taught immediately. Alan Dawson's rudimental ritual is a great method for any student to work on. It is taught in his book The Drummer's Complete Vocabulary As Taught by Alan Dawson. He also has a great website. http://alandawson.org/archives/rudiments/ . My first teacher taught me with The Drumset Musician by Rod Morgenstein and Rick Mattingly. This book is great to start learning basic grooves and helps begin a journey to develop interdependence. Also, Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence and Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed are mentioned by most successful drummers like Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl as their most important steps in mastering the drums. I've started working on Gary Chaffee's Patterns series, currently Time Functioning, and I think it's one of the best books I've worked on in all that I've worked through. My last suggestion, which is the same as Tuckerboys, is to find a great teacher. When searching for a teacher ask if they are familiar with the books that I've mentioned. If the teacher is familiar with these books then I would say they are your best bet. If the student is young, like 10, then a School of Rock might be a good option but expensive. Also, there are a lot of great instructional websites that can keep the young drummer interested. My favorites are stephensdrumshed.com, drumeo.com and I recently found Louie Palmer's online drum lessons and although they are advanced this guy is the real deal. I have to give props to my first online drum teacher Stephen Taylor. I've learned so much from attending his live lessons and watching his recorded lessons, I think he's close to 400 now, and it is amazing how much he has taught me about the drums, practicing, reading music, fitness and just being a good all around person. I would say that Stephen Taylor has had the most influence on me as a drummer so far and I highly recommend checking him out at stephensdrumshed.com.

Here's a link to some other great learning references. http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2013/04/25-timeless-drum-books/
 

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