It isn’t enough to simply want to be a famous drummer – you have to put in the work and practice! Even if you do have a regular drum practice routine, you may be wondering how you can make the most out of your time and actually improve on your skills.
When you take the time and focus on specific drumming exercises, you’ll be able to strengthen your weaknesses, while improving your technique.
Drum exercises aren’t like playing regular songs because the exercises were designed to develop your coordination and independence while drumming.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the best drumming exercises that all beginners should know.
Practice Holding Your Sticks
There are a lot of drumming exercises out there, to be sure, but part of learning how to play the drums is knowing how to hold your sticks. The way you hold your sticks will have a significant impact on how you play.
There are a few different ways you could hold your sticks:
French Matched Grip
The fulcrum sits between your thumb and index finger. Your thumb nails should be facing the ceiling and the palms of your hands will be gripping the stick, facing toward each other.
German Matched Grip
Grip the sticks with your palms facing downward. You’re going to use your wrists to drive the stick down. This is a powerful grip that is great for creating lots of sound.
American Matched Grip
With this grip, you’re going to turn your hands to a 45-degree angle. Holding your sticks this way will give you both power and control.
With a traditional grip, pretend you’re extending your left hand for someone to shake it. The stick should be sitting on the webbing between your thumb and index finger, with the stick itself is resting on the cuticle of your ring finger.
2/3 of the stick should be facing the front. Then rest the top of the thumb on the first knuckle of your index finger. Next, you’re going to turn your forearm as though you were turning a door knob. With the right hand, you’re going to hold the stick like an American Matched Grip.
Warm Up Drum Exercises
Drumming is like any other physical activity – you have to warm your muscles up to avoid cramping and so you’re at peak performance level. It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for a huge show or if you’re sitting down to bang on the drums to kill some time, you still have to warm up.
We recommend dedicating at 5 to 10 minutes solely toward warming up. Here are 3 warm up exercises we like to do before we play.
With this warm up, you’re going to be working on your speed, but it will also improve how you play as well.
To start, hold your drumstick in your left hand. Play in counts of 8, meaning you are going to hit the drum 8 times with your left hand (L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L). You’re going to do these sets 100 times, equally 800 strokes. While it sounds like a lot, time goes a lot quicker than you’d expect.
After doing your 800 strokes with the left, repeat this with the right hand (R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R). Then once you’ve done 800 strokes with the right hand, next you’ll want to alternate with both hands (L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R).
Rudiment Warm Ups
Practicing your rudiments are another great way to warm up, but they also help you hone your focus, timing, and dexterity as you play.
In this timing exercise, we’re going to go over the five basic rudiments. We’re going to go from quarter notes all the way to sixteenth notes without pausing in between. This is what it’ll look like:
1. Single Stroke With A Right Hand Leading
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
1 e t a 2 e t a 3 e t a 4 e t a 1 e t a 2 e t a 3 e t a 4 e t a
r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l
2. Single Stroke With Left Hand Leading
3. Double Stroke With Right Hand Leading
4. Double Stroke With Left Hand Leading
Use a metronome to keep time and use your bass drum to play the quarter note. You’ll want to slowly build up speed as you practice.
Speed Warm Ups
With a speed warm up, you’ll want to first choose a beat that you regularly play. Start off playing slowly and quietly, then after a few minutes of maintaining this you’ll want to increase your volume.
Once you reached maximum volume, then you’ll want to increase the tempo. After reaching your maximum tempo and volume, slowly work your way back to the starting levels.
Anyone can tell you that drumming isn’t just about banging some sticks on a stretched piece of material. If you want to be a good drummer, you have to practice a lot and work on your techniques.
Whether you’re self-taught or if you’re taking formal education, you never want to stop practicing because there’s always room to grow and perfect your skill.
What are your favorite drum exercises? Leave us a comment below and share your favorite tips, tricks, and techniques! We want to hear from you!