View Full Version : practice time management....

12-10-2003, 07:58 AM
this is for everyone to answer.....any input would be thouroughly appreciated :)

how do you guys split up your practice time.....like how much time do you spend on certain aspects (hand technique, double bass, rudiments, independence, grooving, different styles..etc. etc. so on and so on)? I ask this because I often think I spend too much time on technique and would like some opinions...

feel free to respond :D

also, what do you think Virgil spends the most time on...I've heard he plays piano quite extensively..just curious

12-10-2003, 09:12 AM
Hey there!
I practise regularly for appr. 4-5 hours a day.
My routine consists of playing through all odd time rhythms with a click and just improvising over it in a solo/groove, working on independence, technique, grooving, double bass all in one. I tend to use a lot of different subdivisions in this. I never really practised 'grooving' over a ex. straight 4 in sibdivisions of fives, but it has just come naturally, I guess and I'm happy for that
This would take maybe 2 hours to play through with a good concentration level, and 15 minutes/rhythm.
I practise hand technique a lot and have measured around 290-300 in clean double strokes and 260-280 in singles using traditional grip. With feet around 230 using singles.
For my own sake, I have a lot with rhythmical stuff etc and I think Virgil does that too.


12-10-2003, 11:57 AM
4 - 5 hours practice a day?? that's sick!! I play 15 - 30 min's a day hehe.. :S

12-10-2003, 12:35 PM
Naah ;) It cleans your soul from all other shit in school etc :)

12-10-2003, 02:19 PM
280 in singles? As in 16th notes at 280, meaning about 1120 total hits per minute?



I can do 180 =P

My practise session consists of firstly I work through exercises 2-11 of the 'Starters' in the Encylopedia of Double Bass Drumming. I play each exercise for a minute at the same tempo which is currently 120. Anyway, I increase that tempo by 3 every Monday (although this week was an exception - I went to 115 on Monday from 110, then went to 120 on Tuesday :)). Then I'll do double strokes with my feet for a minute as well at the same tempo.

I use a Noteworthy Composer file (ie. it uses the midi synthesiser) to create my tempo charts.

Anyway after that, I go through the 'next' quarter of a page that I'm up to in Stick Control (I'm currently doing quarters of pages in the 8th note section and the triplet section but I'm just about done with the 8th note section and will be going up to the section after triplets soon). So that is, I do a 'quarter' of a page in one set of exercises, and another quarter of a page in another set of exercises.

Anyway, this is my warm-up and it goes for around 50 minutes. Depending on the day, that leaves me with between -5 and 50 minutes to play other stuff :) -5 meaning some days I don't even have time to quite finish the warmup :)

Other stuff I'm working on is... Hmm... It's been a while since I had time to work on other stuff... Well I do want to start doing patterns between my left foot on the hats and my right hand on the ride and stuff like that. I can play the pattern for Ataraxia, just not fast enough and I can't do those little bell hits. My accents are also non-existant in it so far as well :)

12-10-2003, 02:35 PM

Well, the tempo tends to fall a little bit as the seconds go, but I could manage around 280 for appr. 30 seconds. I can try to record it soon if you'd like =)?

- Brobjer

12-10-2003, 02:57 PM
There's some young kids out there that can play at insane speeds.....Brobjer for one, Tony Royster, and there's another kid called Ilan Rubin who won the Modern Drummer best undiscovered drummer contest in the U-18 category when he was 12 years old.....he did that world's fastest drummer thing once and clocked somewhere between 1000-1100 singles strokes .....and he did this when he was 13 years old I think.....if you go to http://www.drummerworld.com there is a video clip of Ilan Rubin ripping it up at the Modern Drummer festival (he was 12 years old at the time)....

12-10-2003, 10:35 PM
WOW! I heard about that Rubin kid. Gotta see it to believe it though.

12-11-2003, 06:36 AM
wow... I love drummers that take it seriously. I try to manage about 3 hours a day. For about 10 minutes, I play triplets on my hands and feet together, all around the drums. Then I play paradiddles over a groove and solo over them for about 10 minutes. Then I start working on my lessons, which normally consist of sight reading and working on chart interpretation. I alwasy try to explore something that is somewhat odd, even if it's as simple as accented paradiddles as triplets. 3 days a week I do a hand work out, b/c it's best to give your hands a break. I turn on the metronome and play three random rudiments, out of the 40, as clean, fast, and relaxed as I can for 20 measures( the amount used in STICK CONTROL and ACCENTS AND REBOUNDS). Then I play singles for a little over one minute. Once I started this I notcied huge results. I like to take it slow. I know if I keep at it over a period of years I'll be playing well over 1000, which I'm pretty close to now. On days in between the hands I do the same with the feet, all heel down. I've found this workout is very effective if done correctly, and over time will produce incredible results. I also like to play to some really challenging stuff, like Coltrane's Love Supreme album. The point is, I think our generation of drummers is gonna be a whole new breed. We are gonna have to be pocket players, but we're also gonna have to have chops out the grand wazzoo to survive, and Virgil is definitely the "guiding light" to that. Keep up the good work. A lot of practice now, while a lot of people I know party and all, will pay off b/c my whole life I'll be playing drums and having fun for a living while they go to miserable desk jobs everyday!

12-11-2003, 07:30 AM
thanks everyone, I'll try to apply these to my playing!
for you practice freaks out there....how do you keep the motivation factor up....ideally I'd love to practice 8 hours a day, but that doesn't leave much in the way for other things....maybe I should listen to that Tony Robbins guy haha

also out of randomness, do any of you practice heel-down alot? I do but I play heel up when I'm not practicing technique...it actualy seems to make me faster (and it burns a hell of alot more)

12-11-2003, 07:33 AM
Do any of you ever study classical percussion (timpani, mallet percussion)?

Also, have any of you been in school band programs?

12-11-2003, 09:26 AM
I am basically entirely a heel down player....I go heel up for certain things but 95% of the time it's heel down....it's just the way my first teacher taught me so I got comfortable with it....heel up is definitely alot less comfortable than heel down for me, but I try to play like that at least for a little bit every so often.

12-13-2003, 09:57 AM
first i warm up for about 5 or 10 minutes with rudimentals or soft jazzing it, u know what i mean. after that, for about 30 minutes to an hour, ill practice on things i have written or what my set teacher wants me to practice. then for about an hour, ill just play some stuff, anything i feel like playing, just having fun. then for about another hour, ill maybe do some soloing and some cymbal work. last half an hour, ill work on some more rudimentals. then ill solo out for about 5 minutes and make a big hardcore drum ending just so when i get off my set ill feel really good about myself. well, that's about it. keep drummin, rock on!:D

12-13-2003, 09:59 AM
yes, i am currently in the school band. snare! and i do enjoy it.

12-14-2003, 04:10 PM
I'm big into the philosophy of drums, so maybe I can give you some words of inspiration that I use to keep on truckin. We create our own reality. The best time to learn is the present. The mind is the only obstacle. If Tony Royster is only 2 years older than me, and he can do what he does, there's no reason why I can't do the same or be better at my age. I know a lot of great musicians... some of the best I'll ever know, but they totally wasted their talents, and never reached their dreams. How often do people get to make their dreams come true??? If playin is your dream, take control! While all your friends (assuming you're in school) are partying and going on dates and such, you could be practicing. And while they spend the rest of their lives in some desk all stressed out because they have tons of work to do and hate their job,and their dreaming of a perfect life, you'll be living one my friend, just playing music for a living (if that's what you wanna do) and doing something for the drum community. My eight years (high school and college) of extremely intense work on drums will make my dream come true, and I'll be having fun for the rest of my life, playing for all the big acts and practicing to push the limits of my art. Now after you think about that... the blood, sweat, and tears seems worth it, doesnt it? I hope that helps!

Mack N Drum
12-14-2003, 07:27 PM
I prescribe to the "Roy Burns" theory of practicing: consistent and moderate practice over longer periods of time produces better results. That's great if you practice 5 hours a day, but, for me at least, I'm able to attain most of my technical goals with 2 hours at 4 days a week. This leaves room for live performance, band rehearsals, and, most importantly, the creative process.

I also spend a lot of time writing and practicing piano (this makes me more than just a drummer; it makes me a complete musician), so it's important that I strike a good balance. I also try to make sure that I have time to work out for music and have a social life. Being in good physical condition will help with execution and give you a great asthetic confidence for facing an audience.

In short, life is a balance, and, therefore, I think that drumming should be as well.

12-15-2003, 05:40 AM
Originally posted by Mack N Drum
I also spend a lot of time writing and practicing piano (this makes me more than just a drummer; it makes me a complete musician), so it's important that I strike a good balance. I also try to make sure that I have time to work out for music and have a social life. Being in good physical condition will help with execution and give you a great asthetic confidence for facing an audience.

In short, life is a balance, and, therefore, I think that drumming should be as well.

You are so right Mack N Drum. Just practising drums wonīt make you a great musician, you gotta know whatīs happening around you in melody, harmony and so on. Thatīs is really important to me too!!!
And like you say about social life...you can sit down in your basement and become the best drummer in the world...but it wonīt do any good if you donīt know any good folks and people around that will get you to gig with them.
Itīs a really hard balance and everything must come togheter to become a really great and hardworking musician, practise, musicianship, social life etc..

12-16-2003, 08:12 AM
I gotta tell you guys something..
When Virgil was in Sweden on the annual Sabian festival in 1998 I believe, my endorsment "dealer" Juan, from Turkish Cymbals, met Virgil and had dinner and so on. Virgil told hom that he'd skipped the whole family thing (wife & kids), just because he could be able to play whenever and wherever. I'm totally into the drums and it's the most important thing in my life. My drumming is much more important than school, for example.
I feel that I have what I need to have a normal life, and I think most people are born to have a normal social ability and that you don't loose it because you are an obsessive drummer. I have an easy time talking and being around people, but I also feel that, if I would have a wife later on, she has to know that playing drums is very important for me and to respect that.
But as you said, the social life is important. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't play drums as much as you want, though.


12-16-2003, 11:44 AM
Music is only a part of my life. I believe having more life experiences can enhance my drumming skills way more than being locked in my practice room all day. It's good to be able to express what you feel in your drumming via a good technique, but technique alone will express the same feel as a beatbox. It's sad that Virgil skipped some of the greatest experiences life has to offer to perfect his technique. I'm not saying he doesn't have style, but that less technique and more feel would freak us out even more. I can say I learned as much from Keith Moon as from Virgil. You can get the highest of highs in music, but I couldn't feel whole being only a drummer.

12-16-2003, 05:20 PM
I'm kinda with Brobjer on this one....at the moment my main focus in life is drumming and getting to the point where I can make a living by playing the drums.....everything else is secondary at the moment (except of course for my health and my immediate family like parents and bro and sis)....but even my family is the most supportive group of people in the world, and they basically let me sit at home all day practicing......this isn't to say that I don't go out and have fun with friends sometimes (maybe like once a week or something), but 95% of my time is spent practing and playing.....I know what I want, and everything else is not as important at the moment....just my opinion though (I also spend a bit of time everyday playing the piano as well.....it's that whole being a complete musician idea)