Playing since the tender age of 8, Ian Bee is now a Faculty Tutor at the renowned Echo Factory Music Academy in Leicester. An endorsee for Evans heads, Impression Cymbals, ProMark sticks, CymboMute & Tunerfish, Ian also has a monthly column in Drumhead magazine, and we are delighted that he's written a blog post for us...
As we all know, practice is the key to success (in pretty much all things), but sometimes we hit a rut, or just don't seem to be improving. It happens to the best of us! And that's when the passion for our drumming, the motivation, can sometimes dwindle. Frustration sets in and the idea of practice, because we feel it isn't working, just doesn't appeal.
So how about this for a morale booster when you find yourself in this situation? It's all about the difference between what your limbs might be feeling, and the sound your limbs are actually producing (well, the drums, if you get my drift!).
Here's the rub: always keep upper most in your mind that how your hands, for example, might FEEL when you play, say, a paradiddle, will not necessarily reflect the actual SOUND you are producing.
A good example is the weaker hand. You are playing this paradiddle, and your strong hand feels fine, but your weak hand feels as if it is making more effort today, just to keep up. So, quite naturally, you think what you are playing is sounding awkward, or uneven, simply because the feedback from your weak hand is FEELING stiff, or slow.
Now here's the motivational part, and so many of my students have tried this and been spurred on by its results - record that paradiddle and listen back to it. Almost every time, you will find that the SOUND you produced is much more even or better executed than you FELT at the time. Listening back, without the physical feedback from your hands or feet etc, gives you the chance to assess your performance objectively, audibly - not subjectively.
Not only will you find your playing is better than you thought, but from a practice point of view, when you are in that rut, if you listened, say at the end of each week, even though your limbs might say 'I'm not improving', the playback will be a clear indication that you ARE improving.
Try it. It really does help - but don't expect changes all the time. Give yourself intervals to improve, then use this assessment idea - you will find it motivates you when you HEAR even the smallest improvement that you missed whilst ACTUALLY PLAYING it.
We are always more than happy to give personalised advice about which heads to choose, either via email or over the phone, but here's a handy infographic about Code's snare drum heads that might help you to make your decision...
At One Day Drum Shop on 5th May, we had the pleasure of welcoming Dave Longman, creator of the Skins Drum Performance Method to demonstrate his book & tell us about the reasons behind him writing it.
Not only is Dave an all-round good egg, he's come up with something to fill a gap in teaching books, and we think it's great! Have you ever had a pupil who just can't seem to make the leap from the very basics to grade 1? It can be demoralising and frustrating, but Skins DPM helps to fill that gap...
The book contains 18 tracks of real music (backing tracks are available for download from his website) building on more basic rhythms and becoming progressively more challenging. It's designed to work through with a teacher, rather than being self-taught.
By the end of the book, a student will be roughly grade 1-2 standard, and ready to progress onto a traditional graded book if they want to (until Dave writes Skins DPM book 2, that is!)
The tracks are "spiced up" with humerous (and track-appropriate) count-ins, which have had my pupils giggling and engaged. The tracks are fairly short and very manageable, also helping with reading. I've found the book massively helpful with some pupils who had been struggling to progress.
How's your drum kit looking?
Drummer, drum geek, reluctant blogger and eater of cheese!