It is natural to want to excel in drumming. You listen to the greats and want to be like them. You want to be able to play complex rhythms and patterns with ease. Yet, to reach this goal, you need practice. You may often wonder how long you need to practice before you become great.
A beginner drummer should practice at least 30 minutes a day, and an advanced drummer should practice at least one hour a day. If drummers practice these amounts of hours a day they will progress steadily and in time become proficient at their craft.
There is more to practicing the drums than just the amount of time you spend behind your kit. You must be consistent with your practice, and you need to practice the right techniques without rushing. Read on to discover how practice can make you a great drummer, and more.
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It is natural to want to be perfect and to excel immediately. You may see the practice schedule for your drumming and think you can rush through them, but this is not the case. You need to be patient. Practicing is not a race.
Each drummer is different. While the amount of time you should practice should be between 30 minutes to one hour, it can fluctuate based on several factors. Factors such as:
- Your schedule. Many people have busy schedules that can make practicing difficult. However, if you want to become proficient at playing the drums you have to find the time when you can. If you are determined to practice at least 30 minutes, consider splitting it up into two 15-minute chunks during the day.
- Your comfort level. You need to ask yourself how comfortable you are when you decide how long you are going to practice. If you are new to drumming and need to incrementally increase your practice time, you should. Start with 10 minutes a day and work your way up each day until you reach that 30-minute threshold.
- Your personal goals. Everyone has goals. The key is using those goals to your advantage. If you want to become a great drummer then you will have to practice accordingly. You want to excel and become advanced, so more practice time will be necessary.
- Your skill level. If you are advanced you will practice longer than if you are a beginner. If you are intermediate you may practice for 45 minutes. It depends on where you are on your journey. As a beginner, do not think that to be advanced you need to practice one hour right away. Work your way up to that level.
It is important to have certain expectations when you begin your drum practicing journey. Take note of what you want to accomplish. Once you do this, it will be easier to see how many hours a day you should practice to become a great drummer. It will also be easier to know what precisely you need to be practicing.
You need to have a drum practice plan. Having a plan will allow you to map out your objectives, organize your exercises, and allow you to calculate the time you need to spend on each item.
For example, if you are a beginner, and need to practice 30 minutes a day, you will not be spending all 30 minutes just playing along with songs you know. You will not progress this way. Instead, you will break up the 30 minutes with different exercises.
Exercises can include:
- Weak-hand exercises. Every drummer leads with their dominant hand. This can, however, cause your less-dominant hand to be weak and hold you back when it comes to certain techniques. You should dedicate an exercise where you deliberately lead with your weaker hand. This will build up its strength.
- Foot exercises. Your practice routine should include foot exercises. This can include bass drum exercises and hi-hat exercises. Building the strength with your feet can help with more complex rhythms down the line.
- Timing exercises. Remember, one of the main jobs of a drummer is to keep the time for the rest of the band. Practicing your timekeeping skills is crucial if you want to be a great drummer.
- Drum rudiments. Drum rudiments are certain patterns you practice on the drums that repeat. Oftentimes, the 40 drum rudiments get ignored, but they should not. They are a vital tool in your drum practicing arsenal that form the building blocks to much more complex patterns you will learn as you progress.
You want to make the most out of the time you are practicing drums. While it is important to have fun, it is also important to have a practice schedule that is fully laid out. Each practice session should build upon the last one.
Every great drummer has put in a lot of time and effort to be where they are. You can experience greatness, but you need to take your time. So, what do you need to know to become great? As mentioned, there are certain exercises you should focus on, but this is not everything.
Your drum practice needs to have a balance between the technicality of drumming and the creative side of drumming. At the end of your practice sessions, leave a few minutes to create your own patterns and grooves. This will help you apply all you have been practicing in a hands-on way.
But what else do you need to know to become a great drummer? Remember, the amount of time in which you practice per day is not the whole story. You need a few other things:
- A Detailed and Varied Plan
Each of these items is important to your success. If you take the time to look at each one, it will be much easier to implement them into your schedule.
There is certain equipment that is important to invest in if you want to be great. Of course, equipment does not make a drummer great. It is how the drummer utilizes the equipment they have. However, there are benefits to using certain types of equipment.
Some equipment that is useful to have include:
- Metronome. This is an old-school piece of equipment, but it works well. You should play along with one. This will help with your timing. Remember, timing is crucial as a drummer, and a metronome will allow you to practice at various tempos. This will help make you a well-rounded drummer.
- Practice pads. If you live in a small apartment, or if you live with other people, practice pads are a very important piece of equipment to have with you. They allow you to practice techniques and patterns without making any noise. Practice pads allow you, essentially, to practice anywhere at any time.
- Speakers or Headphones. Part of your practicing should include playing along with songs, both songs you know and do not know. While this should not comprise most of your practicing, it is important to know how different genres utilize drums to make you better suited to your craft.
If you do not have these pieces of equipment, do not worry. If all you can afford right now is your main drum kit and some drumsticks, that is enough to get you to where you need to be. However, you need to remain dedicated to building upon your skills each day.
Part of becoming a great drummer is having the dedication to get there. Are you a self taught drummer or did you get a drum teacher? There will be difficult days and easy days, but it is a matter of pushing through. This is where having a firm idea of the goals you want to achieve will help you.
The amount of time you spend each day practicing needs solid dedication on your part. If you create a plan that fosters motivation, you will be more likely to continue with your practicing routine.
If you do not dedicate a certain amount of time each day to practice, you will not progress as quickly as you would like.
If you have the dedication to becoming a great drummer, you will succeed. To succeed, you also need a detailed and varied plan for your practice sessions.
As mentioned earlier, a drum schedule is an important aspect of your plan, but it is not the sole focus. Your plan should include:
- All your goals. Before you start, you need to have a list of your goals. These can be big, overall goals, and this can include your shorter-term goals. This creates a sort of roadmap to success. Once you know your goals, you will be more likely to stay on target.
- All the exercises you need. Have an outline of all the exercises you need to reach your goals, whether they are foot exercises or rudiments, mark them down, and schedule them out accordingly.
- Your weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses, even the most seasoned drummer. Make note of your weaknesses. Focus on these weaknesses to turn them into strengths.
- Your strengths. Likewise, you should also list your strengths. Having a positive attitude is a critical component of becoming a great drummer. Celebrate the strengths you have and the strengths you have acquired. It will keep you motivated and eager to move to the next level.
- A way to track your progress. You need to track your progress. Having a detailed plan helps you do this. You will see what you have just practiced and what you will be practicing soon.
Your plan will help keep you motivated and focused and will help you achieve each of the goals you set out before you began. If you need help with a plan, you may want to look into structured drumming lessons like Drumeo Edge provide.
Having a way to track your progress will keep you on target to achieve your goals. But how can you track your progress with your plan?
Tracking your progress is simple. Using a regular notebook, you can track your progress each practice session. Each practice session you should write down what exactly you did. This can include all your exercises, rudiments, and play-alongs. Make note of how long you practiced each element.
You should also make a note next to each item of how you felt. Write down whether you saw improvement from the previous session. If you do this each day you will see the progress slowly accumulating.
It is natural to want to see an immediate change in your skill level, but the fact is that it takes a fair amount of time to build up your skill. If you do not track your progress, it can be hard to see the progress. If you are improving, even if just a little bit each day or each week, you are on the right path.
Moreover, if you track your progress you can reference previous sessions. You will see your notes and be able to identify your weaknesses more definitively, which will help your future practice sessions.
A detailed plan is important but so is a varied plan. You should have a variety in what you are practicing. If you do not vary your exercises or your sessions in general then you may fall into a monotonous routine.
Monotony can kill momentum. It can also hinder your motivation. You want to stay motivated so that you may continue to progress forward.
Mix up your schedule. For example, you could practice playing along with different genres two days a week. You would look forward to those days because those two days have something different you do not get the rest of the time.
Also, do not forget about the creative aspect of drumming. While most of your time will be practicing tempo, patterns, posture, stick holding, and other similar exercises, you should still dedicate some time to creating your own patterns.
If you dedicate a small amount of time each week to creating your own patterns you give yourself something to work toward. For example, if you learned a certain polyrhythm early in the week, you can try to create something with it at the end of the week. In this way, you are practically applying your newly acquired skills.
While the hours a day you practice drumming are important, consistency is arguably more important. Consistency is what will keep your skill level rising. Without consistency, your practice will not benefit you.
You need to practice every day. You should not skip a day. One day lost can have a big impact on your next practice. If you keep missing days, you will find you can get rusty quickly. Do not worry about the amount of time you are spending each day practicing, at least not at first. Focus on making sure you are practicing each day.
Practice is there to help you create long-lasting habits and muscle memory. By practicing every day you are allowing your brain to stay fresh with certain techniques. It is like learning a language. If you do not use the language, it can become foggy. The same is true with drumming and with music as a whole.
Part of the way you reach a high level as a drummer is to continuously practice skills you have already learned. It is not just a matter of learning new skills. Consistency will benefit you by:
- Improving skills. If you have already mastered a skill, you want to make sure it stays at a high proficiency level. Practicing these skills consistently will help maintain their strength in your drumming arsenal.
- Creating habits. Everything you do in drumming can be considered a habit. For example, holding the drumsticks properly is a habit. You want to hold them properly every time you play. Consistency keeps you on track and focused on good habits.
- Avoiding bad habits. Likewise, if you miss practice sessions, you may fall into bad habits. For example, if there is a groove you were struggling with but finally perfected, but you took a few days off, upon returning to the groove you are more likely to make that old mistake again.
- Building muscle memory. Once you reach a high level of drumming, most of what you do will come second nature. But it did not become second nature by not being consistent. Your muscle memory is important and is only improved and maintained by consistent practice.
The benefits of consistency speak for themselves. If you are serious about taking your drumming to the next level, you need to be diligent. Spend 30 minutes every day practicing your craft. Over time, you will see the results you are looking for. With patience, you will reach your goals quicker than you may think.
If you want to be a great drummer you need to be dedicated and consistent with your practice. While practice may not be the most alluring activity, it is the most important. You should aim for 30 minutes a day at minimum to become great, though this number can be much higher.
If you get into a good rhythm while practicing, you will find that your practice times naturally get longer. This is a good thing. Nevertheless, you need to be consistent. You need to practice every single day. There are not many valid excuses for missing a day when you are taking drumming seriously.
However, with dedication you can make your drumming practice successful. It is not an overly difficult process, but one that requires your attention.