Percussion Practice Tips

Percussion Practice Tips 

1. (at least 5-10 min)

Begin by warming up your hands.  Stretch out the fingers, palms, and wrists, making sure everything is loose! Once loosened up, you can play some right and left hand exercises, making sure to always work for consistency between hands.  Finally, use some alternate sticking.

2. (at least 5-10 min) 

Put the instrument together.  If playing the snare drum, be sure to go over known rudiments.  Play each rudiment slow to fast, and then back to slow again.  Work for perfection!  If playing the bells, move to step three.

3. (at least 5-10 min) 

Now that you are warmed up, play through some music that you already know and enjoy.  Playing this music will help reinforce muscle memory.

4. Next go to the music you would like to practice. 

  •  If you are missing pitches, just spend time figuring them out.
  •  If you are having trouble keeping consistent rhythmic accuracy, a metronome can help  with this step.
  •  If you can not play it up to speed, start slow and steadily work it up to tempo… always counting and keeping the beat in your head.
  •  If you are playing the right notes but the wrong rhythm go back and make sure that you can count it slow. After that, finger and count it slow (speeding up each time you try it again). Finally go slow to fast playing it.
  • If the problems can be isolated and fixed slow to fast one at a time it will help greatly. For example, if rhythm is a problem, why throw in the fact that pitches are a problem as well? Divide and Conquer.


5. You can then warm down when done again using rudiments/scales. 

A Few general Practice Rules: 

  •  Never rush or skip a practice step. Good practice habits are important to becoming a good player.
  •  Tape record yourself and listen to how you play. You may be amazed at the difference.
  •   Practice regularly… 3 hours in one day is not nearly as effective as one half hour every night for 6 days.
  •  Do not try to tackle too much! Work a little bit at a time and get it PERFECT! Do not accept mistakes in the final result.
  •  Have fun and enjoy becoming a better musician!