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41 thoughts on “Discussion”

  1. Hi Niels, I was looking for a guide for effective drum practice online and your is surely the best and most detailed. I would still very much appreciate it if you gave me some tips on planning my practice routines. I am currently waiting for my electronic drums to arrive. First, I will give you a brief summary of my background and current situation.
    I have been playing drums for 5 years but have never owned a drumset or a practice pad in my life, only till the beginning of this year 2018 when I bought a practice pad. Since then I’ve been working on the basics of hand technique . So its safe to assume that my technique and musicality is at a beginner level since the total amount of time I’ve sat down to practice does not amount to much. However, just a couple days ago for the first time of my life I have bought an all mesh electric drums but its a cheap one not as good as the Roland ones.
    The end goal for me to would be to be an all around player because my taste in music is very broad. If I had to reduce it, it would be to be a good jazz drummer since I am a part of a jazz club in my university so the musicians that I interact with are people that play jazz mostly.
    The problem, in my point of view, is that the majority of my practice in the drumset is going to be in a electric kit and in order to play jazz, I believe that one needs an acoustic kit since it is not possible to get the same sound, feel, and touch in an electric one.
    So far the conclusion I have reached is to go through Tommy Igoe’s Groove Essentials since I still don’t have the fundamentals and can’t play well order genres of music that are “easier” than jazz. In addition, I plan to practice Tommy Igoe’s Hands for a Lifetime for my hand technique.
    Any comments, suggestions and/or tips from you would be helpful. I am extremely excited and motivated about practicing on my new kit and just want to make the most of my time.

    Seung Jae

    1. Hi Seung Jae,
      Thanks for your message! You can definitely get good practice on a pad or electric set. There will be some adjustment between electric and acoustic, but not too bad. I have lots of students who practice on electric sets at home and play on acoustic sets at school, etc.

      You’ve given me a pretty good overview of your experience and goals. I have a few questions for you—

      1. What music do you love to listen to? For example, what is on your most recent Spotify playlist, or wherever you listen to music. This can be anything. All that matters is that you really love to listen to it. Pop, hiphop, classical, jazz, rock, anything. You can list a few favorite songs if you want, or just tell me the genre.

      2. What music, specifically, will you be playing with your university jazz club? Maybe ask the club leader, or a friend in the club for the name of the songs they like to play.

      3. What is your ultimate goal as a drummer? Hobby, enjoyment, play with friends, paying gigs on the weekends, professional career, etc.?

      4. How much time will you be spending practicing? 1 hour/week, 1 hour/day, 30 mins/day, etc. What will your practice time look like? It’s OK if you don’t know yet, and just want to have fun. But having a rough idea of the time spent, goals, taste and context will help us get an idea of how you should focus your time.

      Talk to you soon!

      1. Hi Niels,

        1. To make it simple, as of late the 3 genres of music I listen to are Rnb, Metal/Math Rock, and Jazz. The song “Jazz Crimes” by Redman and “Its On” by George Duke Trio have been stuck in my mind.

        2. We mostly jam to Jazz Standards. Ex: Ornithology, Peri’s Scope, Blue Bossa, etc.

        3. To be completely honest I don’t know what is my goal as a drummer. I only got 1 year left of college ( I am not a music mayor ) so its to late I guess for me to change my major to music. However, I would like to reach a point where I get paid for playing and maybe do some recordings for fun.

        4. As of late I have been practicing at least 20-30 mins a day. I am currently serving in the Korean Army so I do not have much free time. However, on rest days I try to practice 1+hours.

        In a way I guess that I am scared to go all in on music, since I am already majoring in something else, I am starting kind of late ( Age 24 ) and I don’t know I have the “talent” or “skills” it takes . But I am sure that I do love both listening and playing music. For now, I just want to practice and see where it takes me.

        Your thoughts on how I should go about planning my practice would be helpful.

        Seung Jae

        1. Hi Seung Jae,

          OK. I’ve given this some thought. I actually wrote a reply twice but decided it was too complicated. For the long version, check out https://www.nkmdrums.com/design-an-effective-practice-plan/ Use that as a template and, for your goals and taste, you’ll want to include both rock and jazz.

          Now more specifically. I would start by taking one thing and making sure you can make it sound good. For that, given your taste, goals and practice time (and without actually seeing you play) I would choose Blue Bossa. That’s a song (from your university jazz club) that will allow you to blend your personal taste with the jazz tradition. It works well with a variety of RnB/rock/funk grooves, or a more traditional Bossa Nova groove.

          Record yourself playing that song, maybe with a drumless track from YouTube or similar, or with your band. Make observations about where improvement needs to happen. You can find a list of observations on the link above. (Plan your practice)

          I think this is the most effective start for focused self study. The danger is information overload. We don’t want you to base your practice plan on what you should know. Rather we want you to base your practice plan on where your playing is right now. Then from there, gradually introduce new concepts that will help you develop your personal style together with learning the jazz tradition and a more broad freelancer style skill set.

          I hope that helps! Feel free to send me an audio/video recording.


          1. I very much appreciate your help. Getting a recording done is going to take a bit of time but when I have it done I will try sending it to you.

            Thanks again for your time and talk to you soon.
            Seung Jae

            1. Sounds great Seung Jae!
              A practice recording can be done with a phone or any primitive device. The idea isn’t to get a high quality recording, it’s just to be able to hear what’s happening with your playing from another perspective. It should be rough and ideally it should showcase the things you need to work on rather than your best performance. For self study, recordings/videos are your best tool. Even just recording a practice session. The big benefit from working with a teacher is that they can listen to you and create a plan based on what they hear + all the information you provided above. I hope that helps!

  2. just thanks
    I bought that book a year ago because it was suggested to me and I never really used it. I found your reading section and discovered a wonderful surprise. My book all explained with such clarity. Now, and only now I got why I was recommended this masterpiece of must have knowledge! I am enjoying the book and, because of your videos, know how to use it and how useful (mandatory) it is. I can now practice the real stuff.
    Super job.
    Thanks again,
    David (Quebec, Canada)

      1. Absolutely!
        And in the meantime I did the fills and polyrhythms that I really enjoyed.
        I have a question. Could you do (in Syncopation) page 46 exercise nine. Before that and after that, all the exercises target one or two concept to work on. But this one invites everybody to the party out of the blue! Interesting but I cannot see the fit in the whole idea of the book. And it is for sure the hardest one!

        Also, you said in one of the first video of Syncopation that we should not take care of the last row of quarter note (for now). But you never come back on that. I suppose it is a four on the floor base drum (or hi-hat foot). Could you confirm and add any suggestion for practice. Personally, I practice once with the bass drum every quarter and I use my snare for beat 1, my toms for 2 and 3, and my floor tom for the last quarter beat. I do the same with the hi-hat…

        Again, thank you so much for all your helpful and terrific work. It really rocks!

        1. Hey David,
          Syncopation Exercise 9 on p46 is a challenging piece. As you mentioned, it incorporates everything you’ve learned thus far AND introduces accents from exercises in the next section of the book. There are even a few 16th note triplets thrown in.

          Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, I can’t post the whole book online. I would recommend working on p46 without accents first. Skip the 16th note triplets. Add accents back in after you’ve done the next section of the book. Ted Reed had a way of showing you what you can’t do before teaching you how to do it. Foreshadowing. Maybe it was his sense of humor or a technique designed to give you an idea of how you can apply what you’re learning in the next section of the book. TLDR If you hit a roadblock, go ahead and come back to it later. 😉

          You can play the bottom line of 1/4 notes on the bass drum, as written. This brings up the strength of the book, which is in the many ways it can be applied on the drum set. I like the way you’ve chosen to apply the exercises!

          Syncopation just has a snare drum line and a bass drum line. In practice, the way the book is used by teachers and the reason it is so popular is because you can apply it in an infinite number of ways to develop different techniques. For example, you can play the bottom line on the hi-hat with your right hand and the top line on the bass drum with your right foot to develop bass drum independence in the context of rock/pop beats. Add the snare drum on beats 2 and 4 and you’ll get some very cool beats. If you’re into jazz, Alan Dawson’s 11 ways of interpreting the 8 exercises on p38-45 are a classic skill builder that could take a couple of years to complete if you’re just starting out. The way you choose to apply the exercises will depend on your goals and areas for improvement.

          I hope that helps! Thanks for communicating and asking questions. It’s always a pleasure to hear from people working the lessons here.

          1. thanks for the helpful (and enlightening) answer! I just wanna add that I now use your timing section. It is amazing when you are on the clic in the 4 on 4 section at 60 BPM a couple of time in a row! Like it! This was new to me and I found it very useful. It made me realize that counting at the proper timing is not so an easy thing… The silence speaks it in those exercises.

            1. I agree! That’s one of my favorite exercises… especially as a warm up/reconnection/focus exercise. Probably my second favorite is the table of time. Those two are great for setting the clock.

  3. Hi Niels Ived been following you many times ,but please I am young drummer with a vision of sharing drum licks,fills and lessons ,
    Can you pls help me to make it a world wide pls ,will be happy to hear from you

    1. Hey Randy, You could start by making video and audio recordings of your performances. Share them online and interact on a variety of social media platforms. I’ve found that the more helpful I am, the more responsive the online community is. So if you can find out what people need help with, that’s a good start. Feel free to send me a direct message from the contact page if I can answer any other questions. Good luck!

  4. Hi Niels,
    having been playing drums for around 12 years but not to seriously, over the past 6 months I have been having lessons with a fantastic tutor, mostly on jazz, but recently have started using Stick Control and Ted Reeds Syncopation, I was so pleased to find your site and the section on reading music relating to Ted Reeds book is absolutely amazing, it has helped e so much to really get to grips with the book, and your other videos on jazz are fantastic, so helpful please keep this excellent site going, and thanks, have been telling everyone how good your teaching methods are.

        1. Sure thing! All of the lessons posted here are free and open to the public. I make my living as a local private music teacher, although I teach privately online through Skype/Google Hangouts. Happy to answer questions any time. Enjoy!

  5. Hey Niels! i see you’ve updated your website hmmmmm:) cant wait ’till the Super Bowl. see you on Thursday!-Lucas aka the best drummer evaa
    P.S. who are you rooting for

  6. Niels, thanks so much for your efforts, the website, blog and reference materials noted are fantastic. I am just returning to drumming and this jazz material is perfect for my re entry. I love the clear explanation and variety of info provided. Really appreciate your work. Thanks again for inspiring my return! I look forward to continuing my training and please keep the info coming! Kudos, Mark Hip

    1. Hey Mark,
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the lessons! Let me know if I can answer any questions. One tip for when you get to part four (comping phrases) of the jazz series—there are really six lessons in this one video/transcription so take your time. I use these lessons while teaching privately and we spend a few weeks just on that lesson. Good luck and thanks for leaving a comment.

    1. Hey Nelmar! Thanks for asking. A classic foot control exercise is to play pages 5-7 of Stick Control by George Stone between your feet. 1 column per day, 20 times each. You can find a copy of this book by googling “Stick Control PDF” So your first day would be #1-12, 20 times each, then #13-24 the next day, #25-36, #37-48, #49-60 and finally #61-72. This is very effective! There are two things missing from this exercise. First, fun. This is not a musically exciting exercise. It is effective like doing push-ups. Second, it is not directed at any specific musical application. It would be better if we could design an exercise that fits the type of music you will enjoy playing with your friends. Do you like to listen to popular music? If that’s the case, have you learned basic pop beats and the paradiddle beat? These are great for musical coordination. Also, starting to learn songs you love to listen to that have challenging bass drum parts, then isolating and drilling the parts of the song you find difficult. If you want to tell me some songs you like, maybe I can find an example. I am open to everything. All music is welcome. I hope that helps!

      1. How Good it is Niels Thankyou for Your tips that was a BIG BIG HELP! Its been 3 years since I chat with you and watching your videos in youtube. I watch your tutorials on youtube also a fills developments and thats why I am improve. Im from Philippines. Again. THANKYOU SO MUCH!

    1. Hey Rick,
      All Blues by Miles Davis is a great start. The quarter note pulse is driving here and you’ll hear less of the “ah’s” on the ride. Footprints and Night Dreamer by Wayne Shorter are great. You’ll here a fuller triplet ride pattern here as with Favorite Things, John Coltrane version, for something a little more uptempo. I really like starting students with All Blues but the way Jimmy Cob plays quarter notes on the ride can make it difficult to hear where the “ah’s” fall in time. Listen to all four of those tracks for contrasting approaches to playing time.

  7. Hi Niels,
    First of all I would thank you for great videos on youtube. I started play drums four months ago. I practice mostly paradiddIes and I try to practice every day, sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 2-3 hours. My question is how can I get more speed when I play paradiddles especially in the left hand? Thank you

    1. Hey Daors,
      Nice to meet you! Most likely your left hand simply needs more work to catch up to your right. If your right hand is developing good technique, your left can mirror that technique to accelerate the process. Adjust daily tasks like using your computer mouse, opening doors, etc. to your left hand to build coordination. A balanced routine will include left hand lead exercises. You mentioned that you were practicing mostly paradiddles? Would you like to talk about your routine? If so, tell me your goals. I will give you an overview of what that might include.

      1. Thank you for answer Niels and thank you for a good advice.
        I’m trying to use my left hand as much as possible now .
        My goals is to get a good hands technique. I started playing paradiddles whit accents last week but it not so easy. I have must focus on hand coordination, and we don’t need talking about speed, its going realy slow :). I’ m playing only single paraddidles with accent on R l r r and L r l l. I also want to say that your drum fill lessons on youtube help a lot.
        Thank you again !

        1. Hey again Daors! Playing single strokes will help iron out the wobbles in your left hand. Paradiddles are great practice, but it helps to isolate one hand at a time and work out the mechanics. Try setting a metronome at 60BPM and playing 8th notes (2 hits per click) RR RR RR RR, LL LL LL LL at an even steady pace. Then move up to triplets (3 hits per click) RRR RRR RRR RRR, LLL LLL LLL LLL. Then up to 16th notes (4 hits per click) RRRR, RRRR, RRRR, RRRR, LLLL, LLLL, LLLL, LLLL. And then back down. Spending time playing singles on each hand alone from slow to medium to slow will help! Let me know how it goes.

          1. Hi Niels
            I want to say that your way to practice helped me a lot. There is a huge difference now than before. Thank you so much Niels.

              1. Hi Niels, you are already helping me every day. Im watching your videos and it helps me a lot. For now im focusing on rudiments. Im trying to practice as says in your ” Sample Practice Routine”. Thanks to you Niels my dream alive. Thank you so much Niels !!!

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