The most important thing to remember when learning anything new is that practice makes perfect. A drumming novice needs to especially keep this in mind. Actually, practice should be the first thing on a drummer’s agenda, no matter how long the person has been banging out beats. When considering how to practice drums, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, set up a routine. It is best to get in a few minutes of practice every day. Research has shown that five to twenty minutes of daily practice is better, in the long-run, than an hour or two of drumming every few days. Since drumming is a physical as well as mental endeavor, this makes sense. If a person wants to improve physical skills, the person needs to do the necessary exercises as often as possible so the body gets used to the motions. This is definitely true for drumming, as the body has to get used to various movements and working for long periods of time.
Another thing to consider when figuring out how to practice drums is that every drummer has weaknesses. This is true no matter how long a person has been drumming. Make sure that when you are doing your daily practice, you set aside a specific amount of time to work on skills that you find challenging. Even if you only give yourself five minutes a day to practice one of your weaknesses, eventually you will find that you have improved. Five minutes is not that long to work on something, but that kind of discipline and focus always pays off.
Something many teachers stress when discussing how to practice drums is using a metronome. However, few drummers seem to take the advice to heart. The metronome is vital to good practice habits, though, because it helps develop a drummer’s sense of timing. Since timing is one of the most important jobs of a drummer, it is crucial to have it as a part of your daily practice regimen. The ability to keep great timing is one of the best accomplishments a drummer can have.
Finally, the most obvious and fun aspect of how to practice drums: play along to recorded music. It is likely that this is how many drummers practice intuitively and it is important to be disciplined about it. This practice technique, too, helps a drummer develop a sense of timing. It is a good idea to broaden one’s horizons with regard to this, so find music from various genres to drum along to. The more various rhythms and genres of music a drummer can play with, the more valuable that drummer will become when looking for gigs. Becoming a better drummer is only part of practicing drums. The commitment, motivation and creative expression involved in developing a musical talent has lifelong benefits that are priceless.