Drum Tip Number 1
DON’T STOP when you make a MISTAKE
While reading, don’t stop counting or reading, just because you make a mistake. You need to read a little slower, so you can actually see the notes visually before playing. Stopping while practicing is a habit you should try to break. If you are reading a chart or score, with a band, stopping for an error will not help your performance. The band will end before you do, and you will have “EGG” on your face. Its okay to make errors, just don’t stop playing and counting. Pick up on the next measure. If you break this habit while practicing, you will be glad you did.
Drum Tip Number 2
DIFFERENT RHYTHMS WHEN SUPPORTING A BAND
When playing with a group of Musicians, it is a nice idea to give each soloist a different background sound. It doesn’t matter if you are playing Swing, Jazz, Rock or Latin. On the opening or starting Chorus, you can start on your Hi Hats with your Rhythm. The next Chorus, you might be backing up a Keyboard soloist, back him up with a closed Hi Hat and a Cross stick on snare. Next soloist is a Trumpet, play another background, change rhythm if you like but play on bell of cymbal, and snare on “two” and on “4 and” on tom. The last Chorus you can play the same way you did for the opening chorus, on Hi Hats. This kind of gives you an organized or Structured sound. Don’t jump around on different cymbals, when backing up a soloist, this takes the spotlight off him. You will get your chance when its your time to solo.
Drum Tip Number 3
HOW TO READ YOUR MUSIC AT THE KIT
Don’t wait until you get that first job, reading a chart with the band. Set up a music stand, over your Hi- Hats. I find this the best spot, You can turn pages, and still play time on your cymbals. Put up a drum book, read and play on your set. It may take you a little time to get adjusted to the idea of playing on your drums, with out looking at them, but I will pay off later on.
Drum Tip Number 4
Don’t Choke your Hi Hats
Top cymbal of the set should be fairly loose, so you move it freely between the felt washers. Keeping the washers too tight just chokes the sound of your cymbals. Keeping it loose also gives a good “chick” sound to your after beats. I find that many musicians listen for this after beat. Your hi Hats should be in the center of the band. Try setting up with the Hi Hats in the center of the group.
Drum Tip Number 5
That sums it up for a good drummer! Rolls, Accents, Independence, and Dynamics. A drummer should develop a good closed or buzz roll, play accents on the beat and syncopated, along with developing Independence, and using Dynamics. This is the mainstay of a good well rounded Drummer.
Drum Tip Number 6
TIPS TO HELP YOU FOLLOW THE CONDUCTOR
Following the Conductor, and reading and playing should not be a problem. Keep your music stand, between you and your conductor. High enough so when reading your music, you can see his hand moving through Peripheral vision. If your stand is too high, or too low you will not see him. Playing on a Drum set for a show is a little different. Still keep stand between you and him, and you must be able to see stage and performers. The best place I find is to the Conductors right, as he is facing the stage. Your set will face towards the stage also, with your back to the audience. Music stand will be above your Hi Hats, between you and conductor.
Drum Tip Number 7
TEMPOS – PRACTICE THIS!!
Practice at various tempos, both on the pad, and drum set. Working on technique, it is a good idea! to work slow, medium, and fast. Try playing just, single or double strokes, at different tempos. Keep one tempo going for at least 2 min. then move to a faster tempo, and so on. But keep it going for at least 2 min. Working on the set, play various rhythms, like single( eight notes) then sixteenth notes, and then thirty-second notes. Keep a steady tempo, for at least 2 min. Traveling from drum to drum, is the easiest way for this, first study.
Drum Tip Number 8
BE CAREFUL ADDING MORE CYMBALS TO YOUR PRESENT SET-UP
Adding cymbals to you present cymbal set-up, could be a problem. When you purchase a cymbal at a store, it sound great, you take it home and add to your other cymbals, and it doesn’t sound the same as it did in the store. Acoustics!! is the culprit. Your, room your set is in is not the same situation as the store. The best scenario, is to take your cymbals to the store, mount on stands, and fill in the sound you are looking for. That way the sounds are relative to the other cymbals sounds.
Drum Tip Number 9
HOW TO BE AWARE OF THE BMP WITHOUT A METRONOME.
How to get close to Metronome markings on a chart of music. The easiest way is to start with 60 beats per minute. counting 1001,1002,1003 etc. gives approximately 1 beat a second, or 60 BPM. Double that tempo and, you have 120 BPM. Count triples, to 60 BPM, and you come up with 180 BPM, divide in half and you get 90 BPM.
Drum Tip Number 10
LEARN DIFFERNT STYLES OF DRUMMING!
Yes! There are different styles. Each style is an Art in itself. There are fine Jazz drummers, and they don’t play Scotch drumming. There are fine Rudimental drummers, and they don’t know how to play on a set of drums. I think that is the way it should be, The best way to look at it is to treat each style as a separate instrument. You should study and learn each style, before you play. I know many rudimental drummers, who think that knowing the snare drum rudiments, make them able to play on a set of drums. More than, snare drum rudiments are required to play a good set of drums. Most school band and set players, who try to play rudimental drumming, find that they have to change their grip, and handling of the sticks, and their technique, Seek a teacher, who is knowledgeable in different styles.
Drum Tip Number 11
LEARN TO PLAY YOUR BASS DRUM PEDAL CORRECTLY
Playing a bass pedal for set work! Toe playing in the center of the footboard, seems to work for some players. I feel that keeping the heal on the heal plate, works for me. I play many different style of drumming. I have developed my control and technique, with my heal down. This way I can control my volume, and also, play accents and kicks.
Drum Tip Number 12
MATCHED GRIP VS CONVENTIONAL GRIP!!!
Matched grip is not new. All mallet and tympani players used matched grip. Most music colleges used both grips till around the 60’s. I, understand that it is easier to stick to a uniform system. I learned the conventional grip, and have used it since 1948. I play matched grip when I play mallets, tympani, Rock and Latin on the set. Some musical groups like Drum Corps, or marching bands. require traditional or matched grip. Thier main reason, is to have unison within the group. For an individual, any grip is okay. Learning both grips is an asset.
Drum Tip Number 13
TEACHING STUDIO SET-UP!!!
This will vary from teacher to teacher. I feel that a fully equipped studio is important. Two, good solid Gum rubber, practice pads, one for student and one for teacher. A complete set of drums. A good CD or tape player, with good speakers. All types of music, Rock, Latin. Jazz, Dixie and commercial, etc. Different weight drumsticks, Wood , metal, plastic, Brushes, mallets, and bundle sticks. Many different drum method books. Reference materials and drum catalogs. Music and drum publications. Latin instruments, like Congas, Bongos, Timbales, and sound effects. This would be a well rounded studio.
Drum Tip Number 14
READING MANY BOOKS ON DIFFERENT SUBJECTS!
The reading of different books can be your best teaching aid. There are a variety of subjects, concerning drum set or marching drums, depending on your particular style. The same as the books you encounter in school, for any particular subject. History, Math, English, Science, etc. On the drum set, you need Coordination, Soloing, Rhythms, Dynamics, Hand studies, Syncopation, etc. In Marching drums, you need, Rudiments, Hand studies, Syncopation, Technique studies, etc. They all should be studied.
Drum Tip Number 15
PRACICE ON PADS AND A DRUM SET!
You can practice on your practice pad, and think you have it down. Try practicing the same material on the set, because of the different sound, it is a different study. Always, play material on pad and set, for best results