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Old 01-23-2004, 06:58 PM   #1
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Practice routine

I need some advice for my practice routine. I currently work out of/want to work out of the following books/exercises, but I want to condense practice to under 2 hours, and I'm not sure how long to spend on each one, and how often to work out of them:

Sticking Patterns
Technique Patterns
Time-Functioning Patterns
Linear Patterns
Rhythm & Meter Patterns
Double Bass Workout
Adv. Techniques for the Modern Drummer
Oddball exercises/grooves
"World" percussion (Latin, Middle-Eastern, etc)

What do you guys do for practice and how do you manage to work on everything without spending an inordinate amount of time at the set?
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Old 01-23-2004, 09:38 PM   #2
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as long as you can see what you are playing (like you can see the notes in your head), thats what my drum teacher has always told me. and i think its true i used to be horrible are reading, my teacher new i wasnt doing my practicing b/c i was playing every dream theater song haha. but i learnding and tought myself to practice.

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Old 01-24-2004, 07:33 AM   #3
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Whatever you, I would put together a
routine that incorporates as much of
the above, without having to isolate
any one of the parts for too long.

It moves me to suggest that you find
music to work with, that pulls all of
that out. Chances are you know what
I am going to say now in that I believe
Latin music is the best for this and the
reason is because it allows for much of
these points to be worked on, WITHOUT
it interfering with the music, if you are
sensitive to it. Think about it.

After playing closed, for many years, I
have switched to open, leading left,
which is helping to develop that whole
area of my playing, contributing to the
music in that the many horn-kicks that
are present, can be hit by the right-
hand, as well as the left; not to ment-
ion the opportunity to change stickings,
emphasizing the left or the weak hand.

I see double-kicking being more of a
challenge in Latin because it's just not
as called for. I search for spots to add
it and it's hard. This is the best spot I
found for it so far, besides during drum-
solos and it was a very small section
towards the end of this (@5:15):


Aside from that, though, the music allows
you to insert all types of rudimentary ap-
plications that wind up contributing to the
music and that's because there really is
a lot of poly-rhythm going on, if you listen
closely. Some of the horn lines are ice!

Well, those are my thoughts. Good luck.
I know that you can do it.
To Virgil,
A Drummer Who is Changing the World

Last edited by peter : 01-24-2004 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 02-09-2004, 06:34 PM   #4
Donny Dee
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Practice Direction suggestions....

Practicing is a misunderstood concept. Learning to play drums, or any instrument for that matter, is largely misunderstood by many, and there is no one thing more important about playing drums than learning how to practice.

Practicing is the process we use to become more and more proficient on our instrument. It helps us to understand and play intricate patterns and exercises that help us to become the ďgroove mastersĒ we long to be. Learning to practice properly is a skill that will be the most valuable tool in your drummers tool box and will remain the most valuable one through out your entire career. Over the years as a teacher and as a player it became clear to me that developing an effective and correct practice routine is imperative to becoming a well rounded player.

The problem is most musicians, including drummers; do not know how to practice. Proper practice direction is something that most teachers do not teach clear enough, if even at all. To most new drummers, and even some drummers that have been playing a long time, practicing for them means a session of aimless flailing on their kit with no real direction or purpose. They sit down and play mostly only what they already know how to play and do not devote anywhere near enough time to learning new ideas or concepts.

With a clear objective and developing goals you could make your valuable practice time pay off. If you ever attended a clinic or a concert and left in a trance because the drummer you saw was playing things you cannot even comprehend itís because that drummer made his or her practice time pay off and his/her reward was what you saw and heard as he/she was performing.

As a general rule after you ďwarm upĒ playing through things that are fairly easy to play you then move on to those areas of patterns and exercises that you canít play. If you arenít striving to play things that are hard for you to play you are not learning and as a result you are not moving forward in your craft.

Following, are some practical ideas to consider in your practice routine.
1. Accuracy vs. Speed
The most important thing to do when you are learning something that you canít play is slow it down to a tempo that enables you to play the pattern accurately. If youíre still having a hard time playing the pattern then you are not playing it slow enough to learn it. Slow it down again until you find a speed that works for you. Once youíve found a speed that enables you to accurately play the figure, play it repetitively for a number of minutes. This will enable you to memorize the sound and feel of the pattern. Then gradually increase the speed until you are able to play it at higher speeds. Remember accuracy is more important than speed. Without accuracy you will never gain speed.
Almost all my students have a hard time getting used to COUNTING as they practice. Learning to count the rhythms as you play them aids you in the learning process. I have a small drum studio I build in my garage. Itís a good practicing environment because itís a quiet place with privacy and few interruptions. If you donít have a quiet place to practice it will impair your capacity to concentrate. Good lighting and comfortable temperatures are important also.
In the world of exercise and weight lifting for example, cross training is a very effective way to get in shape and keep in shape. Serious body builders work out every day. They form a routine where they work different parts of the body on different days. You, likewise have to form a routine that you follow daily. For example I Work on my rudimentary drumming on Mondayís. I also work on Learning new groove patterns that day also. Tuesdays I work on double bass patterns and also musical tracking. I keep alternating different routines on different days. Missing a day or two hurts and sets you back. Make sure your mind is alert and uncluttered with other things. Donít practice when youíre tired, if you could avoid it. Don't keep going over what you can already play accurately and repetitively. Work on areas that youíre having difficulty with. Isolate problems and concentrate on that rather than always repeating the parts you can play. If you don't get it the first time, don't fret. Try it again the following day. Seldom will you not get it on the second or third day and have it fairly mastered in 7 days.
Following these simple steps will help make you a better, more rounded drummer and it will make you solid and yes Ö faster!

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:44 PM   #5
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I agree with everything Donny Dee said....you have to identify SPECFIC goals....this will keep your practice sessions focussed and on track....it easier to get good at something when you know exactly what it is you want to get good at.....secondly, practice slowly (this is something stressed in Mike Mangini's RK books)....you have to practice accurately and slowly....strive for accuaracy and control first, and speed will follow naturally....also, count when you practice...learning to count is vital, especially if you are going to be sight reading charts....Imagine this, playing a 12 bar blues form twice through, trading 4's eight times through the form and then playing the form again twice to finish of the song....if you don't know how to count, it'll be impossible to get through that....

If you want some really good advice on HOW to practice and how to organize a practice schedule and routine, i highly recommend buying Mike Mangini's first Rhythm Knowledge book (the red one)....it is a must have!!!!
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips everyone.

I already know how to practice.. I just needed to devise what/when to practice. I was hoping that by hearing what others of you work on, I would be able to work something out.
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Old 02-12-2004, 06:36 AM   #7
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Ok Reaven,
Here is what I do. This routine was taken from a series of lessons that I had with a guy called Neil Huxtable in London. Its a rudimental routine that covers an awful lot of ground in one hit.
You have the book Syncopation by Ted Reed?
Ok so I use a page called Exercise 1 (about 2 thirds throught the book). I read the page as is, then as triplets then in cut time. In play single strokes in 16th 32nd and triplets, using the reading as accents (youve probably come across something like this before i would think). Then I do the same for doubles (doubling the 16 singles to make them 32nds etc) still using the accents. Then flams, then paradiddles (these take a while to figure out)
While doing this I play doublestrokes on my pedals in 32nds and 16th triplets.(ie if im doing 16ths on the hands ill usually play 32nds on the feet to start then play the feet in triplets to make it hard for myself )
I use a locked grip and weighted sticks to build the arm muscle.
Then I play all the above exercises on the bass drums while keeping time on the hi hat and snare. I lead with my weaker hand all the time.
I always count the quarter note. Sometimes i will count in odd times over the patterns, allowing me freedom in odd meter and the ability to play over the barline.
The idea is similar to that espoused in Marco minnemans Extreme Interdependance. I works a little better for me because its more melodically based.
Can you see where this is going??
By practising in this fashion I practice
1) Rudiments in a melodic and musical fashion, making them easier to apply in a musical context. The accents on the page make a tune (which you can sing to yourself whilst playing these exercises). I also learn to take phrases and apply them to the drumset (translate music phrases into "drumming" phrases if you will). I learn to play music and improve my technique all at once.
2) Interdependance. Because my feet and hands are playing all at once I build interdependance and strength between the limbs.
3) Counting and timing.
4) Reading and Interpretation skills.

Then after this routine I get stuck into something cool like Paradiddle between Left hand and foot and the melody on the bass drum with the right hand filling the gaps. All musical exercises. All applicable to any situation BECAUSE they are musical.
Using this method has eliminated the need for me to study from books (I still buy drum books...but for a little inspiration and some new ideas) Most of the things I have learned (Jazz, linear etc have come from using this page.
Neil Huxtable was REALLY against the idea of regurgitating licks, and so am I Using this method I am able to improvise pretty comfortably by singing melodies and interpreting them in hundreds of different ways...
Hope this helps!
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Old 02-12-2004, 06:39 AM   #8
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By the way Reaven, the routine takes about an hour ok?
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:43 AM   #9
Donny Dee
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Practice Routine

Hey Revan....I hear ya.....here's what I do....I cross train in a sense

I warm up every day by going through the first thirteen exercises in the Stick Control Book by Stone...I've been doing this warm up on both my hands and feet for over 20 years now....it just limbers me up then I proceed...

Mondays: I work on new sticking techniques and pretty much rudimentary patterns. I also work on left handed leading on that day.

Tuesdays: I work on my double bass patterns..always patterns I cannot play so I'm constantly learning new ones. I also work on music tracks using a click with the drum track ommited on this day.

Wednesdays: I work on sticking techniques again but this time I study polyrthyms doing what seems impossible to do. I also sit on my hands on this day, so to speak, and practice all kinds of patterns with my double bass drums. I then play only grooves with my double bass drums.

Thrusday: I'm back to what I did on Monday.

Friday: I'm back to what I did on tuesday.

Saturday: I do what I did on Wednesday with some variations.

Sunday...I do a combo the entire week first thing right after I do my daily exercise routine....which I do every day right before I practice...I pretty much developed my practice routine based on the cross training I do in my exercise routines....which I might add id just as important in keeping you in shape as the years go by.

Bottom line is to cross train as a drummer..if you're working in books.... work in say two of them on one day then two other the second day etc etc.

For example maybe do the Rudiments - Sticking Patterns - Technique Patterns ... say on a Monday....

Then do Time-Functioning Patterns - Linear Patterns - Rhythm & Meter Patterns say on a Tuesday.....

Then your Double Bass Workout - Adv. Techniques for the Modern Drummer
Oddball exercises/grooves - "World" percussion (Latin, Middle-Eastern, etc) on a Wednesday......

then start at the top again on Thursday.....I personally think you need a day to touch on them all ....doing patterns you can play with no problems...I do that on Sundays....I run thru it all and I do sort of a free form solo on that day utilzing all I learned that week...

My practice time, in it's length, varies depending on my performing schedule... but one thing is...I practice every day even if only for 45 minutes...My average time in practice is about 2 hours on the days I do not perform out....

Hope this helps.....

Last edited by Donny Dee : 02-12-2004 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 02-13-2004, 03:34 PM   #10
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Even though you "know how to practice," I'd just like to state I agree with the foreign practice thing. Set up a left-handed configured kit, and go through books reversed. Grab a pillow and a pair of sticks and wear yourself out. Fool with modulation/superimposition, displacement, and more 'rare' odd time (usually something with a 16th note value). Attempt four-way polyrhythms. Spend time away from the kit, but keeping that creative mindset. You can come up with some F'ed up grooves/patterns that way. I came up with an absurd groove that travelled through three different time sigs, had 32nd note and 8th note triplet accents, and ended with an ostinato. All that while being away at the kit (at work), but putting myself in that 'mindset.'
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Old 03-18-2004, 02:23 PM   #11
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I'm new on this message board, so hello to everyone.....I'm from the Netherlands and I'm a drummer for 4 years now....

I practice every day, with no exeptions. Before I begin with my daily exercises, I always tend to use some of Virgil's or Terry's licks just to warm up myself a little bit. I start for example with a four-stroke on bass drums, and above that a double-stroke, which is actually one of the power-stroke exercises of Virgil during the video "Power Drumming".
After that I begin with my daily schedule, that I'd created a while ago to make sure that I don't forget something that I want to improve or redevelope. I'm not sure if you mention this is your very first post on the top of this topic, but thought that you was afraid to forget something you want to practice everyday, or that want to improve all the point you enlisted before. I think I know what you mean with that, because a little while ago I've had a little direction crisis going on in my head, because I felt that I lost some technique on some points because I wasn't quiet efficient.

that's the reason that I made this schedule to make sure that I don't forget anything that I want to learn. But, and this is very important, don't take the list that serious that you force yourself to practice something you don't want to. To postpone some things a little while isn't that bad. But I thought it's already mentioned in this topic; you have to strive your goals and determine your own 'commitments' and rules to practice the best. Good luck!!!
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