5 Essential Tips For Playing Drums
1 – Listen To And Learn To Love Tons Of Music
One of the best tips for playing drums is to learn to appreciate as many different types of music as you can. This will allow you to incorporate a wider variety of techniques and styles into your playing. It’s been said that some of the best bands of old mashed up their favorite 9 or 10 influences, whereas those that retain a more middling level of success are only showcasing 2 or 3.
Having a wider variety of influences is nothing but a good thing. For instance, if all you listen to is full on metal, you’ll be missing out on your jazz chops, and your ability to suddenly lean into a swing or waltz feel will greatly suffer. Listening to even more experimental drumming like the twisted and chopped up breakbeats from artists like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher can also provide unique inspiration to draw from. The more you open up to different types of music, the better a drummer you’ll become. If you are looking for help, checkout http://www.thedrumlessons.com – online lessons to learn more.
2 – Remember That Sometimes Less Is More
When you’re aspiring to play any instrument, there’s a lot of pressure to master it on a technical level. It’s entirely admirable to hope to play on the level of the likes of Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, or Gene Hoglan, but you don’t have to play with all that flash. Look at a band like AC DC for example! There’s almost no drum fills at all, and the tempos are moderate at best. Even so, the drums are pounding. Countless millions of heads and feet have bounced along to those simplistic beats. Sometimes hanging back to support and push forward the music is all you need to do as a drummer.
3 – Play Along To Other Music And A Metronome
You can get away with a somewhat off the rails approach to drumming, but one of the most important tools to have is rock solid timing and feel. The best way to secure both of those is to play along with as much music as you can. Try making your beats along to songs that might have a different style of percussion altogether. Good examples of this exist on Youtube thanks to the videos of Travis Barker playing along to Soulja Boy and Vadrum’s Super Mario medleys. Playing along with music will help you develop a feel for groove, and using a metronome while playing alone will help your timing get right in the pocket and stay there.
4 – Protect Your Ears
Drums are incredibly loud instruments by nature. Having your head right in the middle of all the noise can be immense fun, but it’s going to do permanent damage to your ears sooner than you realize. Use o-rings and mute pads on your snares, toms, and cymbals, and a pillow to muffle your kick to give your ears a break.
This will make life a lot easier for those around you as well, especially if you’re living in a busy residential area. An electronic drum kit is also a good idea for keeping noise to a minimum. Finally, make sure to wear strong ear plugs any time you’re playing without any piece of your kit muted.
5 – Practice & Study All You Can
A lot of successful musicians play only by feel, but if you do have knowledge of music theory and can easily play in a multitude of time signatures and are also capable of throwing in numerous different techniques, you’ll be capable of so much more behind the kit. Blending the two approaches of the studied musician and the one that plays what they feel is a beautiful place to be in. Chad Smith and Dave Lombardo are two guys to check out that show off the benefits of this in spades.