You've got a week to get back into shape

michaelg

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So you havent played drums in 3 months (maybe just pads) but a recording session has come in for next week. 8 original songs in 2 days.
What do you do to get back into shape as in time/chops etc etc ?

My suggestions would be at least 15 mins every day playing along with a slow click ranging from 30 up to 70 bpms. click on quarters.

Some kick doubles. simple hand sticking doubles and singles. (both with slow metronomes).
 

MrDrums2112

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I have found that using Stick Control really helps, with noticeable differences in just a few days. I usually warm up by playing a page at a slower tempo with brushes first, then switch to sticks at a faster tempo. Even if all you do is pages 5-7, its a huge help in getting into playing shape.
 

dcrigger

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Has happened to me countless times - or if not, no playing for months - then really easy playing not very often for a long period leading to something much more demanding.

For me, it is about restoring endurance - and - fluidity.

So I start playing records - records I know well. I'm not trying to learn anything new, just scrape all of the rust off everything I'm able to do.

The music I start with depends on how bad of shape I'm in. Sometimes it's playing along with a bunch of Hendix - last time (for whatever reason) I played along with the original Jesus Christ Superstar album... or some of the straight ahead funk Billy Cobham stuff (Funky Thide of Sings - that kind of stuff)... The point I start from something close to my current comfort zone...

So then I play until I start getting seriously worn out - I'm not practicing ballads here - the point is to take the car out for a drive - and blow out the cobwebs - without doing damage. Can't risk hurting myself - as the impending deadline leaves no room to recover.

So play until I'm starting to have to push myself. Then stop.

Then do it again later - or the next day.

If I only have a week - I would certainly aim for more than once a day. If I'm in bad shape - I may only last 15 - 20 minutes at first.

So rinse and repeat - extending the time some - but I practicing for hours a day is usually not in the cards - so up the ante - picking harder - more challenging music - is the order of the day.

Over the years - I have a nice collection of "work-out" things to play - some Mahavishnu, some Buddy Rich tracks. some Steve Vai, some Don Ellis (if I'm needing to focus on odd meters).

I'm finding as I get older - that I can't maintain my facility across breaks nearly as well, nor as long as I used to. So using this "restart" routine over a few days is something I find myself doing more and more often.

I used to feel weird about it - until I read an interview with Jack DeJohnette a few years ago - where he described needing to often do a similar kind of routine in preparation for a tour or a run of gigs. Not even counting regular life demands - it is often difficult to keep one's playing primed and ready to go while working on other aspects of being a musician - writing, recording, etc...

Anyway - so that's what I do.... short answer = "play along with a bunch of records you can play and know well"
 

yetanotherdrummer

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The only time in my life I didn't drum for months was when I had health problems.

Aside from that, I play a few times a week for a good hour or so.
 

michaelg

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Many thanks Guys .Some great suggestions there.

I haven't heard the tracks yet but from this particular studio i usually get a click, vocal and guitar track beforehand. Sometimes it has a drum machine loop on it. No charts are supplied so i'll need to write out my own. I will be expected to come up with and play appropriate patterns/feels and sounds. I'm getting paid to be myself on the session which is great.
I've played with the bassist on the session a ton and we can usually agree on things very quickly such as patterns/feels etc.

The producer is a bit of a stickler for good time with the click and I usually find this the hardest part of recording with him. particularly on slow tunes when I'm asked to really lie back on the feel. It kicks my ass but its why I suggested getting my time/tempo chops in order.

At the minute I've started doing about four 15 minute practice sessions everyday. with the click and very slow to slow/moderate tempos.
Once i get the tracks (hopefully soon) I'll chart them and try to get into the artists/producers head-space by emailing a few suggestions of other records i feel may have the right type of vibe to go for.

also lots of long walks and 30 minutes exercise each day to keep the energy moving.
 

Drm1979

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Has happened to me countless times - or if not, no playing for months - then really easy playing not very often for a long period leading to something much more demanding.

For me, it is about restoring endurance - and - fluidity.

So I start playing records - records I know well. I'm not trying to learn anything new, just scrape all of the rust off everything I'm able to do.

The music I start with depends on how bad of shape I'm in. Sometimes it's playing along with a bunch of Hendix - last time (for whatever reason) I played along with the original Jesus Christ Superstar album... or some of the straight ahead funk Billy Cobham stuff (Funky Thide of Sings - that kind of stuff)... The point I start from something close to my current comfort zone...

So then I play until I start getting seriously worn out - I'm not practicing ballads here - the point is to take the car out for a drive - and blow out the cobwebs - without doing damage. Can't risk hurting myself - as the impending deadline leaves no room to recover.

So play until I'm starting to have to push myself. Then stop.

Then do it again later - or the next day.

If I only have a week - I would certainly aim for more than once a day. If I'm in bad shape - I may only last 15 - 20 minutes at first.

So rinse and repeat - extending the time some - but I practicing for hours a day is usually not in the cards - so up the ante - picking harder - more challenging music - is the order of the day.

Over the years - I have a nice collection of "work-out" things to play - some Mahavishnu, some Buddy Rich tracks. some Steve Vai, some Don Ellis (if I'm needing to focus on odd meters).

I'm finding as I get older - that I can't maintain my facility across breaks nearly as well, nor as long as I used to. So using this "restart" routine over a few days is something I find myself doing more and more often.

I used to feel weird about it - until I read an interview with Jack DeJohnette a few years ago - where he described needing to often do a similar kind of routine in preparation for a tour or a run of gigs. Not even counting regular life demands - it is often difficult to keep one's playing primed and ready to go while working on other aspects of being a musician - writing, recording, etc...

Anyway - so that's what I do.... short answer = "play along with a bunch of records you can play and know well"
This is the best way for myself as well. I've used this exact technique several times over the years as I often find myself over long periods not being able to play or practice. Then an oppertunity arises and I need to get my hands back in shape. Oddly enough I've never had any problems keeping my bass foot in shape. Itsthe only limb that is always on the ready.
 

Old Drummer

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So you havent played drums in 3 months (maybe just pads) but a recording session has come in for next week. 8 original songs in 2 days.
What do you do to get back into shape as in time/chops etc etc ?

My suggestions would be at least 15 mins every day playing along with a slow click ranging from 30 up to 70 bpms. click on quarters.

Some kick doubles. simple hand sticking doubles and singles. (both with slow metronomes).
Curious: Why are you practicing slow, because the specific music calls for that? I would think that fast is better exercise.
 

dirtysicks

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Just learn the music, map out the parts, and go play them. 3 weeks shouldn’t realistically be long enough to lose muscle memory and drum coordination.
 

Old Drummer

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This is the best way for myself as well. I've used this exact technique several times over the years as I often find myself over long periods not being able to play or practice. Then an oppertunity arises and I need to get my hands back in shape. Oddly enough I've never had any problems keeping my bass foot in shape. Itsthe only limb that is always on the ready.
It may depend on how long you've been out of it.

I took 30 years off, and knowing that my hands were then worthless, I spent 5 minutes a day playing rudiments on a chair cushion and sometimes another 5 minutes playing 16th notes single stroke at 150 bpm to build stamina along with some fooling around on the drum set. No, this is not enough, but I'm lazy and unambitious. Amazingly, though, it was enough for me to get through songs without completely embarrassing myself, which was my goal.

But to my astonishment, my bass drum foot is kaput. Like you, I had never had difficulties with that in the past after taking months off, so I didn't anticipate difficulties now. Boy have I been unpleasantly surprised. Just playing straight 4 on a protracted rocker wears my foot out, even forcing me to cheat a little by leaving a few bass drum booms out in order to rest my ankle.

I'm now tapping my foot along with my rudiments and can feel my ankle muscles hurting.

Anyway, if you let it go long enough, your bass drum foot can go to seed too.
 

Seb77

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The agility/technique/chops part depends on the music. If it's jazz I focus on the right hand in particular, but also do the other limbs, while trying to be most effective with my practice time.
Getting into the feel is important, but normally not a problem for me. Playing along with music is certainly beneficial.
If it's a project with information ahead (audio, sheet music) it's obviously good to prepare yourself as well as you can. Otherwise, be as open/alert as possible in the session/rehearsals.
I like the idea of general exercise, it not only makes me fit, but it also makes me calmer, more relaxed. The social part, the energy you bring, is important too.
 


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