TURN YOUR WEAKNESSES INTO STRENGTHS AS A DRUMMER
If you’re like most drummers, playing with your non-dominant hand is the first thing to be considered as a weak point. Or, maybe you struggle with speed or timing consistency. No matter what your weakness is, the key to strengthening your playing skills, is intentionality.
Be intentional with your time and devise a plan. If you’ve been playing for two months or five years, there is always something to work on. Thus, putting your weaknesses onto paper in a list form, will help you see what areas really need attention, and those that can wait.
If you’re spending an hour on drums every day, that is awesome. But, if you’re spending that hour playing to the same soundtrack or hitting a groove with the beats you’re most comfortable with, then you’re merely practicing what you’re already good at – literally playing to your strengths.
What would help you grow significantly with the practice time you have, is to take the first 15 minutes and play rudiments. If you’re currently wincing at the idea of revisiting 6th grade band, then take a look at this video to refresh your rudiment thought process and inspiration:
If rudiments are still an old hat to you, then consider switching hands. Meaning, consider forcing your non-dominant hand to start all your rhythms, to be the accent beat, to lead on the fills. This can be an issue if you have your drum set ordered in a traditional, snare and hi-hat on the left, kind of way.
Take the challenge and flip your drum set. Put everything in reverse order – snare, hi-hat, cymbals, front toms, floor toms, even your cowbell. This way, you won’t be able to fall back into your dominant hand patterns when you get tired, or have the urge to fall back into habits you’re trying to break.
Alongside rudiments, are paradiddles. Before you decide against incorporating them in your daily practice routine, check out how they can greatly improve your drum fills:
Again, if these are below your level of skill, then try switching hands. It’s great practice for turning that non-dominant hand into versatile tool!
Another non-traditional way to help you with timing or speed, is to simply plug in some music that you would otherwise never listen to. If you’re strictly a rock drummer, then turn on some bluegrass or folk music like The Civil Wars or The Lumineers. If you play nothing but jazz, turn on some old school Kansas or Marshall Tucker Band to get a better feel for a more straight-forward style.
Simply put, diligently reaching outside of your comfort zone and being intentional with your time and effort, is going to help you turn those weaknesses of yours, into strengths.