Tuesday, 3 March 2020

4 Ways to Practice Drumming without Drums

It is always exaggerated that you won’t progress until you practice it in a real thing. Although it is mostly true for most instruments, it is a different story for drums. But first, why should you practice without a drum kit, will that even help you improve? The answer is Yes, because you should practice keeping in mind that you do it to improve your muscle memory and your timing which are essential parts for any instrument. So how do you make sure that you practice something that is gonna help you apply it in the real kit. Here are some examples:

1. Pillow Practice for Your Hands
Start with a pillow because that is the most readily available practice pad you can find. Sticks are important in this practice because then you can play the exact finger and hand motions that you would perform when playing a drum set too. Another advantage of this is that since the pillows are soft, it doesn’t offer you much rebound and you end up strengthening your muscles doing the lifting. This will be difficult in the beginning, but that’s why you are practicing, to get better. As you adapt and return to your drum set with considerably more rebound, you’ll notice that you have developed speed in your playing. 

2. Air Drumming for Your Arms
Here is a strange one but one every one of us is familiar with. Everyone had that one air drumming moment that releases you from all the stress. However for a drummer, it can be more than just an imaginative play. You can practice your movement and practice being conscious about your limbs. You can choose to have sticks or can practice even without it. All you have to do is take a groove or a piece of sheet music, visualize your kit in front of you and play it as it is required. You will be surprised to see the awareness it needs to be perfectly executed. You have to make sure that your hands move and play the parts as it should be played, otherwise the whole point of practicing through air drumming is a waste. For example, if in a section you have to hit the cymbals, your arm has to reach approximately at the same point in air as if there was a cymbal.

3. Ground Drumming for Your Legs & Feet
Ground Drumming is for your legs and feet. One of the best ways to practice your feet is to get a foot pedal and arrange it in a way that the beater hits the wall. Since the wall provides no rebound, you will start feeling some pull in your thighs and it will strengthen your muscle. You can play along with a music piece and practice the bass drum part in a way that you build coordination along with some necessary muscle so that you can play it on a drum kit for a long period. You can also do this practice without any pedal and just tap the parts on the ground. Once you shift to a real drum set you will able to recognise the increase in speed and lack of fatigue in your playing.

4. Clap for Your Timing
Keeping rhythm is one the fundamental skill a drummer should have as they are the metronome for any band they are playing for. So, you would not want to let your bandmates down. So this is to improve your timing and one of the best ways is a clapping exercise. Download a metronome and and clap along with it. Make sure that your clap purely and completely synchronises with the beat. Once you can do that, here is one fun exercise. On your metronome there are different time signatures, make it 8/8. Now, let the first four beat be heard but mute the last four beat. Now clap along with it. Your aim is to be on time and that will be determined by your 9th clap which will come after your 8th clap which was muted. If it completely synchronises with the beat, you are on time but if it is ahead or behind, then you have to start over again. You can also vary your clapping exercise by leaving some claps in between beats and start being more adventurous with the metronome.

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