Although this article is written for drummers, it is also a good advisory for any good musicians wanting to hone their musical skills.
A famous concert pianist Vladimir Horowitz once said, "If I miss practicing 1 day, I know it. If I miss practicing 2 days, my wife knows it. If I miss it for three days, my audience knows it." What a wise saying regarding practicing on any musical instruments including the drum set.
The hours we all put into practicing drum techniques are very important to become an accomplished drummer. We all do it to maintain or improve our playing styles. However, do you know that very often, much of the time spent practicing on the drums is not at its most effective?
The above question brings up the old issue of quality versus quantity of practice sessions. If the drummer's focus is right, much more can be accomplished in half an hour rather than two hours practicing on the drums.
Many drummers do not really practice but "play" their instruments. That will mean that they sit down behind the drum set and simply play what they already know. This can be good for the maintenance or perfecting of certain drum techniques but, with the exceptions mentioned, these drummers are not progressing at all.
The essence of every drum practice session is to striving for perfection and improvement. Perfection, improvement and musicality should be the goals for a productive practice session. Every technique should be executed as perfectly as possible.
This will include hand positions, stickings, stick height, wrist movements, and touch amongst others. Practicing wrong technique will develop incorrect skills. To strive for perfection is the first step in practicing on the drums
Every drum practice session should create a challenge for the drummer to accomplish something never previously done. I repeat – something NEVER previously done, unless you want to perfect some earlier learnt skills.
Each practice session could include a new rudiment, a piece of music, or a new exercise. It could also be a new tempo for an old exercise and the tempo does not necessarily have to be faster, just something different will do. The main point is that new accomplishment should be attempted at every practice session.
The purpose of playing any musical instrument is to play music and thus, music should be kept foremost in mind whenever you are practicing. Even when playing a rudiment or technical exercise it should be thought of musically and how it can be applied to music.
How Long Should Each Practice Session Last?
The amount of practice time will vary with each individual drummer and also you are a beginner or an accomplished drummer. A beginner may need to practice for half an hour to an hour a day and increase that to two hours per day as he progresses.