How long or how much should you practice drumming every day? The simple answer would be: whatever makes you feel good about yourself and your drumming. But this is a matter of setting goals and ambition as well. Ideally you would be able to play and practice as long as you want but that’s not the case for most of us. So we will narrow it down. Future updates will include specific goals and how to reach them. For now we’ll just concentrate on a basic schedule.
Practicing and playing
First let’s get something straight. Drum practice or is NOT the same as playing the drums. Drum practice is where you learn to play and/or understand new things rhythmically. Playing the drums is where you play your instrument to (learn how to) implement the things you’ve practiced.
It’s not that one is better than the other, you need both. You should make time in your schedule to include both.
How long can you practice and play drums?
This seems like an easy to answer question as well. You take 24 hours and subtract sleep, work/school, other obligations/appointments, things like eating, showering, brushing teeth, and some leisure time sitting on the couch, watching t.v. from it.
But there are quite a few more factors.
1. Level of energy – How much time and focus can you spend on a daily basis?
2. Ambition – What level of expertise do you aspire to? Have you defined what it is you want to accomplish?
3. Surroundings – Do you have neighbors with babies who sleep during the day? This matters most to HOW you can practice, not so much to HOW LONG or how much. If you’re not allowed to make noise for whatever reason, you simply find ways to practice without making a lot of noise.
My workbook/encyclopedia Level 1 is filled with subjects which need to be practiced mostly without a set of drums, so check it out if you can.
Daily Drum Diet – Time management
Here’s a basic schedule for beginners.
As you can see there’s a strong emphasis on Grooves and Audio/MIDI. This is because playing grooves is our core business as drummers.
All the technique in the world isn’t going to help you if your time sucks. So first make sure you understand groove and time (tempo and timing) a little before starting to focus heavily on fills, solos and technique overall. There’s plenty of time to do that later on, first things first.
Considerations about the Daily Drum Diet
Here are some things to consider about this little Drum Practice Plan:
1. These numbers are averages. If you have an average of 20 minutes per day to practice you don’t spend 2.5 minutes on Fills and then 2.5 minutes on Tips etc. You should acculminated spend about 15 to 20 minutes per week on Fills and 30 to 40 on Grooves and an equal amount on Audio and/or MIDI.
2. This doesn’t mean you have to practice grooves only from G in the book. On the contrary, you should also attempt to come up with your own grooves. Think of a subdivision (chapter in G), pick a melody and take it from there.
3. These are guide lines, don’t take them too literally. No musician should ever become that binary. Music is all about them beautiful shades of grey.
4. If you have more time to spend you can emphasize whatever you want tor what you feel you need most.
5. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! If you don’t make it every day, so what? If you can honestly say to yourself you’ve done your best but you couldn’t make it today then feel fine about yourself, your input and your progress. But if you can’t make at least 10 minutrs a day to practice you have to be realistic and ask yourself if you really want this. Maybe sitting on the couch and watching tv is kinda more your thing…
The Secret to Success
There is no secret. It’s plain and simple. The key to having success with any schedule depends greatly on having the discipline to maintain this schedule.
This is why as a student of Skillz Drum Lessons you won’t see many 15 minute clips called ‘Drum Lessons’. We try to make sure you actually practice playing drums instead of looking at me playing things you want to learn.
This is why we introduced “Ultra Short Video“. You only see what you absolutely need to in order to be able to study effectively. No more distraction, focus is the name of the game!
We also include time indicators for every lesson.
There are a few things you need to understand about this.
1. This is not meant to be interpreted as a sum.
Everything is based on a beginner’s schedule of 20 minutes per day.
So if you’re in G3.2 and you’ve already done G1.1, G2.2, G3.1, G1.2 and G2.2 you don’t have to play the grooves in G3.2 for 10 minutes per day and then add 10 minutes for each chapter and paragraph you’ve done so far.
Your ten minutes Grooves per day should be divided between practicing new material (G3.2) and playing the grooves already mastered.
2. This is not a guarantee for success.
a. You may be very talented on the coordinational side while your tempo control needs more emphasis. This means you’ll want to work more on playing along to Audio and/or MIDI.
If this is the other way around you may need to work a lot on part E (Exercises).
b. Your level of focus and determination is way more important than the minutes you spend on drumming and rhythm daily. Quality over quantity. So make sure you get the most out of every practice session by being 100% focused.
This is a decent starting point. But you have to determine for yourself what would be your optimized schedule.
If you have trouble getting a good idea about time management and knowing what to play and practice for how long, I suggest seeking out an excellent teacher nearby to help you with this. Or you can send me a private message so I can try to help you with that remotely.
As a general guideline: work on your weak points when practicing and on your strong points when playing.
What’s your prefered way of practicing and implementing time management? Or do you like to just wing it and see what happens? If so I would be curious to see if you are satisfied with the progress being made and if your goals have been met so far.