The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

Drilling Down to the Good Stuff

Drills are the practice of working on getting a particular tone, or working on a hand position, or focusing on a counting drill of some sort.

When I am doing Drills I focus on these three ideas:

 

1) Stay Relaxed.
It is very important to focus on proper technique. That includes posture, hand position, and breathing. But I try to not get so focused that I become tense. Relaxed drills are good drills. Drumming is not a competition.

2) Tone Is More Important Than Speed.
The goal of drills are to develop good tone. Do not rush. Drills are much more productive if you play slow, but with good tone, rather than playing quickly, but with poor tone. It seems strange, but it is true: The slower you go the faster you learn.

3) Less is More.
Never drill too much. I recommend doing drills no more than ten minutes at a time for new drummers. You will get far more out of your practice if you focus on good tone for ten minutes, rather than flailing for thirty minutes and getting tired and sloppy. Even now, I tend to drill for ten minutes at a time, two or three times a day.

 

I have a few Drills that are my “Go To”.

 

Drill 1 (Switching)

(First Half)

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

T

K

T

(Second Half)

5

&

6

&

7

&

8

&

D

K

T

K

 
Go nice and slow. Drill this at about 60 BPM to begin with, and work your way up in speed only if you can do it without error, both vocalization and tones, four times in a row.

But the most important aspect of this Drill is to do it out loud.

OUT LOUD. Irritate the cat. Make the roommates roll their eyes at you. You are a drummer, which means you are a geek. Embrace it.

Drummers are not allowed to be timid or shy.

If you didn’t want to have everyone paying attention to you, you have selected the wrong instrument. You hit a drum and people will notice. Doing drills means they will notice how good you sound.

I go through the first time with counting the numbers;

“One and Two and Three and Four and Five and Six and Sev and Eight and”

My next time through I speak the tones I am using;

“Doum and Tek and Ka and Tek and Doum and Ka and Tek and Ka and”
I also use a double version, with no rests.

 

Drill 2 (Doubled Switching)

(First Half)

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

D

T

T

K

K

T

T

(Second Half)

5

&

6

&

7

&

8

&

D

D

K

K

T

T

K

K

Again, go nice and slow to start. Work your way up. Speed comes from slow repetition, not flapping your hands and fingers and hoping it all works out.

And, yes, count this out loud as well.

First time with counting the numbers;

“One and Two and Three and Four and Five and Six and Sev and Eight and”

Next time through speaking the tones;

“Doum Doum Tek Tek Ka Ka Tek Tek Doum Doum Ka Ka Tek Tek Ka Ka”

And, one last note: Say, “Sev”, not “Seven”. The word seven has two syllables, which will throw your count and tempo off. Get in the habit of Sev, and life will be smoother.

 

These are basic Drills with basic tones, but you can substitute any tone for any other tone in the Drill. Swap out all Teks for Mutes. Use Rizz instead of Ka. The possiblities are endless, and the more variation you put into your Drills the better you will sound.

Enjoy, and Happy Drilling!

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Drilling Down to the Good Stuff”

  1. Beautiful basic drills! Thank you! >


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