…or guitar lessons, or bass lessons or anything else. These are really a few tips to just help you learn how to practice better. It can really apply to any instrument because these principles are universal.
- Slow down before you speed up:
Most people when learning a song want to play it as close to at tempo as possible. After years of teaching guitar lessons, sitting in on drum lessons and being in ensembles I can tell you faster is NEVER the answer. Slow down get the piece (or even just the riff, drum fill whatever) under fingers. Once it’s there start slowly building speed. But how do you slowly and consistently get faster?
- Use a metronome:
…or a beat, but COUNT. I am a firm advocate of a metronome. However, I really like to use beats and drum machines as well. Both are excellent and serve different purposes. A metronome is just simple and forces you to learn to properly divide the beat without a whole lot of clutter. However, as musicians we play together. Which means if you are getting together with a drummer later working with a drum beat is a good idea and more life like or realistic than just the metronome.
This is a big one, which is why it is last. If you are constantly just trying to play the lick faster you miss the nuances. I love having students play David Gilmore solos in their guitar lessons, because he understands these little things that make it sound so good. A small touch of vibrato can make a world of difference, but what kind of vibrato? Is it fast, slow, close together or far apart, big or small. Ask yourself if you are a drum student “how hard does he play that?”, or better yet, “how light?” Invest yourself in the sustain of the note and the careful articulation, even of your exervises and you will open a whole new world of sound to yourself and those who play music with you. For drummers dynamics are a massive part of any thing you are doing. Concentrate on where you put the emphasis of those eighth notes on the hi-hat. How quiet can you play that floor tom. That’s right how quiet. Because from there you can build it into something massive. Consider the tone of where you hit your ride. The more you listen the more you learn about your instrument.
Taking these simple ideas into your lessons and practice routine may seem like a small idea but it can change your entire approach.