4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Speed as a Drummer

jonmanna Beat, Developing 12 Comments

Let’s face it, everyone is impressed with a drummer who is lightning fast. Even though most of us play in church (and we all know that we’re not there to draw attention to our playing), improving in our craft, talents and gifting should always be a priority. Here are four simple ways to improve your speed as a drummer.

Photo by  Michelangelo MI

1. Practice Rudiments

Rudiments, by definition, are a basic pattern of drum strokes that can be combined in many ways. The simplest and most common rudiments that I recommend for building up your speed are singles, doubles, and paradiddles.

Start off slowly with each exercise and then gradually work your way up to faster speeds. Using a metronome throughout this process may also prove helpful. For example, you can start off at 80 bpm and aim to be up to 250 bpm by the end of the month. Set a goal and stick to it!

A book that has helped me in this area is Podemski’s Standard Snare Drum Method.

2. Practice Without Rebound

Now that you have some simple rudiments to practice with, you need to ditch your drums! What??? Are you crazy? No, I’m not crazy. On the drums or a practice pad, the sticks want to bounce freely. You will want to use a surface where they won’t rebound.  Your pillow, bed or couch (without Homer) will be perfect for this.

As you hit every stroke, the pillow will absorb the shock and will force you to lift up the stick. There’s no bounce here! This simple trick will help you to develop speed really quickly because it kills all the laziness in you!

3. Use Heavier Sticks While Practicing

Photo by tallguy64

In the long run, practicing with heavier sticks will help you build up your speed because switching to your regular (lighter) sticks during performance will make it feel like you are playing with feather-weight sticks. Your arms, wrists, hands and fingers will definitely notice the difference and you will be able to execute your playing with ease.

4. Stay Flexible by Stretching

This is probably the most neglected of the four, but it’s important nonetheless. Drumming is a work out and any drummer knows that playing requires you to use your entire body and core muscles. You need to properly stretch out your arms, ankles, wrists and shoulders. This loosens up your body from the stiffness and tightness, and helps you to relax as you build up your speed. Here’s a  link to three important stretches that I do all the time!

Ultimately, these are some simple techniques but they require work! If we stop working on them, we stop improving and we plateau.

Whose Up For a Challenge?

I challenge you to record yourself today doing any of the three rudiments mentioned in this post. After one month of diligently practicing, record yourself again doing the same rudiment(s) as fast as you can. I bet you will be surprised by the improvement!

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Ready.. set.. go!