Making Practice Count

Making Practice Count

Have you ever considered the process of practice as a technique? In simple terms, it is the way we all practice that determines our skill level and our ability to grasp new concepts and ideas. Just like we think of parts of our playing as techniques, practice is also a technique in itself and is one that forms the basis of all of our progress as a player.

With this in mind let’s take a look at an introduction to my mini-series of articles on this topic.

Snare drum, hi-hat and ride cymbal

Table of Contents

Setting Up A Practice Space

One of the largest difficulties of all is to dedicate to regular practice sessions. One way of helping with this is to set up a specific space with all the tools that you need to focus your attention on practicing. The area will obviously depend on how much space is available but here are some ideas of what to include:

  1.  Your drum kit
  2.  A metronome (with easy adjustment of tempos, subdivisions, and time signatures).
  3.  Pens, pencils, and erasers
  4.  Music manuscript and plain/lined paper
  5.  A suitably large, sturdy music stand
  6.  A CD/Minidisc/Tape/Mp3 player with both speakers and headphones
  7.  Any required soundproofing material
  8.  Earplugs

Earplugs and Taking Care Of Your Hearing

As listed above, earplugs are very important to remember whilst playing on an acoustic drum kit. Particularly in a small room where the sound will bounce off the walls and easily cause serious long-term hearing problems. 

One tip is to get hold of some protective headphones similar to those that construction workers use. These can be more comfortable to wear over long periods of time.

Room Layout

The layout is down to personal preference and the dimensions of the space. 

A couple of obvious points to remember are:

  1. Locate the audio controls and metronome close to you
  2. Ensure the music stand is within easy reach and does not obstruct the movement of any cymbals.

Choice Of Practice Kit

When it comes to choosing the type of kit to practice on there are 3 main choices:

  1.  Muffled acoustic kit / silent practice kit
  2.  Unmuffled acoustic kit
  3.  Electronic kits – such as the Roland TD series kits or the Yamaha DTX/DTXtremes.

Of course, the ideal solution would be to play a normal acoustic kit as you would in a live performance situation. However, for a lot of us, this is not a realistic option simply due to the noise. 

Practice kits, muffling pads and electronic kits are all options to consider. Prices vary considerably. When considering an investment into this kind of gear, remember the concept of considering your practice as an important technique. Investing time and money into practice will help form the basis of your ability to progress. 

If you need help choosing between an acoustic and an electronic kit you can find a barrage of views, opinions, and information all over drum forums on the web.

Dedicated Practice Space

Setting up a dedicated practice space can subconsciously increase our motivation to practice regularly. Bringing together all you need, around your kit will create an environment where you can concentrate on your playing.

Practice Makes Perfect

How Often Should Drummers Practice?

Remember the famous advice: It is so much better to practice regularly for short amounts of time rather than playing for long periods infrequently.

This is all due to our natural concentration spans. I will be looking further into these sorts of practice methods in my next article. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me, my website and email addresses are listed below.


Nick Polley

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