How Do I Get Better At The Drums?

This is a question every drummer asks but must take a different approach to attain. Everyone learns at a different pace so before you figure out how you will get better, you need to locate your weaknesses and set goals. For example, my left hand has been a huge obstacle for me over the years. No matter how fast and coordinated my right hand gets, its only as strong as its weaker link when Im using both hands together around the kit. By realizing I wanted to improve my speed, comfort, stamina, and control on my left hand, I began focusing on exercises to get myself there. I reached into the bank of exercises I had learned from my teachers over the years and spoke with contemporaries who I admired in this department. The end result has me focusing on The Moeller Technique, Stone Killer, mixed sticking exercises, and weak hand independence drills. Once you see the initial results, you know it has potential. Its amazing how I can confidently say my left hand has improved to levels I thought werent possible. I will continue to work with these things forever, reassured that my left hand will continue to improve.

I also recall a time where I felt my beats werent very creative. I wanted to develop interesting ideas around the drum set, but I was so comfortable just putting eighth notes on the hi-hats over comping ideas. I wanted to play like Carter Beauford, Dennis Chambers, and Dave Weckl, so I listened to their music almost religiously. When something went over my head, I pushed the rewind button (sometimes 20 to 30 times). I listened to their tutorials on youtube, I watched their hand technique, I went to their clinics, I took their advice on things they were teaching, and I paid attention when they mentioned lessons they learned from their idols. To this day, I work with the tools I got from these guys and my creativity never stops. This helped me realize that infinite possibilities exist, its just a matter of searching for them and utilizing them to your advantage.

To sum it up, getting “better” is subjective. It is largely dependent on the time you put into practicing, the steps you take to reach your goals, and the lessons you learn from those ahead of you in your craft. This is actually a question that needs to be divided into sub-questions. You know you want to get better, now ask “How can I become more comfortable playing jazz?” “How can I improve my dynamics?” “How can I stay on the beat at slower tempos?” Hone in on specifics. “How do I get better?” is also a question we must constantly ask ourselves to dive deeper. Once you feel you have learned everything there is to know, you flat line. Ive spoken with some of the most impressive drummers in Philadelphia about this topic. Its sort of unfortunate for these guys that they are constantly told how great they are. Although its a huge compliment, there is a smaller pool of teachers around to help them get better. Drum lessons in Philadelphia are few and far between as it is. Just remember if one thing is not working, a million other things might.

One thought on “How Do I Get Better At The Drums?

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