From the May issue of Drum | BY JARED FALK
You have to have the proper foundation in order to get faster on drums, so the first thing you need to do is work on your technique. An important aspect of drumming is your stick control – the speed at which you can move your sticks and the amount of accuracy you can play with.
Developing good stick control is essential to speed drumming. Fortunately, we know how to get your speed up! In this article, we are going to provide you with some exercises that will improve your skills on the drums, and you will learn how to build speed in no time.
The Fastest Way to Get Faster: A 10-Day Plan To Bump Up Your BPMs
There are plenty of ways to improve your speed, and many are effective. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you find a plan that’s easy to follow, motivates you to practice and provides exercises that deliver results. That’s exactly what Mike Johnston did by creating a simplified process that has worked very well, very quickly, for him and thousands of drum students.
He originally created “The Fastest Way To Get Faster” as a 10-Day routine for himself. It worked so well for him that he started passing it along to his students and received similarly positive feedback. It continued to grow and be refined over the years, and now he is excited to introduce you to the new and improved lesson series that will help you rapidly improve your speed around the kit!
Unfortunately, this series isn’t a magic pill that will instantly increase your drumming velocity. It can’t “plug you in” and upload all of the knowledge and skills to your brain and make you instantly fast. But that’s a good thing! If it was that easy, then every drummer would be blazing fast, and developing your skills simply wouldn’t be as rewarding.
You will need to practice hard, stick with it, and possibly even push yourself more than you’re used to as you work through the following lessons and exercises. The easiest way for you to get faster is to practice regularly — every day if possible. It’s all about consistency. This series isn’t meant to require 100-percent of your practice time, but for the next ten days, We’d recommend using it to fill around 50-percent of your time on the kit.
Before jumping into the routine, please take a moment to think about why you want to play faster. If it’s for superficial reasons, you might never feel like you’ve reached your goal.
But if you’re looking to improve your speed to create better music or more interesting drumbeats, or to add more consistency to your playing, then you’re going to love the process of improving. In many ways, it’s not about speed. It’s all about the music. It’s about having full control over what you’re playing at any tempo or dynamic level, using any movement.
Check out Mike Johnston’s 10-Day Plan For Faster Hands for the fastest way to get faster on drums.
Video Lessons to get faster on drums
Jared Falk is the founder of Drumeo, an online drumming tutorial site offering video lessons with a number of instructors.
Stick control exercises to improve speed on drums
Mastering the drumming stick control is the best way to increase speed. It’s all about making your hands do exactly what you want when you want. As a drummer, it is so important to control the sticks at all times. You can improve the drums stick control and practice how to drum faster with some hand speed drills and exercises that will work on the essential elements for speed drumming.
Drumming hand speed exercises
If you want to create a personal routine to get faster on drums, you should start with drumming hand speed exercises. Here are some tips on how to get faster:
- Keep it simple! The more complex the exercise, the harder it will be to play at speed.
- Use a metronome! Nothing will give you a better sense of how fast you’re playing than a metronome, and nothing will help you play faster than using one. Start slowly and increase drum speed gradually, depending on how comfortable it feels for you.
- Play loud! When you’re just starting out, it can be easy to let your hands sink into the drum and get muffled. Try to let them bounce off the drum instead–this will give your practice time a double benefit, as it will both help your speed and develop your technique.
A fast single stroke roll is a great exercise to get your hands working together and to develop hand speed, and drums stick control. It is the building block of all other drum rudiments. In this exercise, you’ll play alternate hands on your practice pad or snare.
Start by playing a single stroke with your right hand, followed by a single stroke with your left hand. Next, play two strokes with your right hand, followed by two strokes with your left hand. Continue increasing at a steady pace until you reach the 16th notes.
To progress in single stroke roll speed, start at a slow tempo and gradually increase the tempo until you reach your desired speed.
Double stroke roll exercises are other ways to improve your speed. The ability to bounce the stick off the drum head or practice pad is the first requirement for playing a decent double stroke roll. Start with practicing quarter notes as half-strokes and full-strokes. Remember to keep your grip loose. After you manage to control the stick with all of your fingers and bounce it off the head, start practicing strokes as 8th notes at a wide range of dynamics. Using a metronome, gradually increase your speed and the number of strokes.
Practice the weak hand only
Your strong hand will have a tendency to dominate. For many drummers, the weak hand is usually the right hand. However, as you progress as a drummer and start playing advanced drum rudiments and learn how to play the drums faster, it’s important to develop both of your hands equally. To break this habit and train your weak hand, try practicing your weak hand only.
When playing hand-to-hand rudiments, try to always start with your weaker hand. That way, your weak hand gets more practice than your strong hand. You can start by playing a single stroke roll with your weak hand. This is basically just playing notes as evenly as possible.
Start slow and work on making the notes sound even, then gradually increase the tempo. You can also combine and play with both hands or only the stronger hand and then switch to playing the same rhythm pattern with only your weak hand. This way, you will know if your weak hand speed is improving and push yourself to reach the level of the strong hand.
Strengthening your weak hand will ultimately help you become a better drummer by giving you more flexibility and control over your playing. It will also help you avoid injury and discomfort when playing for long periods of time, so it’s worth the effort!
If you want to learn how to increase speed of the drumming, you should know that it’s not only about improving hand speed but also giving special attention to your fingers.
The first thing to understand is that speed comes from three things: coordination, muscle memory, and endurance. Coordination in drumming allows your fingers to go where you want them to go. Start working on your finger control and strength if you want to develop fast fingers for some speed drumming. Here are some finger drumming exercises to help you get faster on the drums.
- First, simply drumming the basic rock beat with your fingers on a desk or table should help.
- Second, make sure you’re stretching your fingers out as much as possible before and after playing to keep them limber. (And while you’re at it, stretch out all of your muscles!)
- Finally, practice drum accents and rudiments but instead of using your whole arm, use only your fingers to move your drumsticks.
Make sure that your grip is comfortable, so you can play without tension and build a proper technique. Maintain a firm hold while at the same time keeping your hand relaxed and squeeze the sticks as little as possible.
Almost every drummer wants to get faster on drums. It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but it’s possible with some exercises that will improve your drum stick control by improving hand speed. If you want to learn how to kick harder and faster, start with hand and finger drumming exercises.
Try some simple double and single stroke roll exercises with a metronome, and increase speed and complexity of rudiments over time. It’s important that you keep in mind that some of these exercises might be too difficult for you at first, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Just try them again when you feel more comfortable with your skills, and progress will come naturally.