The biggest priority for a drummer is time-keeping. Although it is everyone’s responsibility in the band to get a good sense of timing, the load of it often falls on a drummer who gets blamed in a slip-up in the timekeeping department. Keeping time is especially challenging for a student drummer. We suggest 3 tips to develop timing as a new drummer.
Many beginner drummers tend to start and play too fast. If you are learning drums and find that you are speeding up, slow your breath and intentionally slow down. Slowing down will help you think about the process of your drumming and take note of your speed. This will also help you become more confident as you speed up. Once you manage to be mindful of slowing down and more aware of the process, you can start counting as you drum.
Counting The Beats
For a beginning new drummer, counting is something most neglect to do. But counting the beats out loud while drumming can help you develop good timing. Counting out loud helps you become aware of your timing and in time develop good timekeeping. It also helps you improve your coordination. Counting in your head is not as dependable as counting out loud. This method of counting while you drum helps you develop an “inner-clock” over time. When your confidence grows, you will also rely less on counting to help you time-keep.
Using The Metronome to Develop Timing
A metronome is a device that sets the tempo of the beat and it is generally recommended for new drummers once you are confident in playing basic drum beats. Here are the steps to practising with the metronome:
Set your metronome to a comfortable 100 bpm pulse and practise with single strokes.
Continue with the same simple exercise and increase the temp by 5 bpm after one minute (105 bpm).
After another minute decrease the metronome by 10 bpm (now at 95 bpm).
Increase the tempo again by 15 bpm (110 bpm).
Decrease by 20 bpm (down to 90 bpm).
Increase by 25 bpm (up to 115 bpm).
Keep at the suggested pattern of the tempo and this will help you develop a solid feel for the click - or the pulse which is an imaginary click track that runs throughout a piece of music. If you don’t have a metronome you can purchase a digital metronome or simply use an app version from your smartphone.
Play Along With Music
One of the best ways to develop timing on the drum set is to play along to some of your favourite songs. Most recorded tracks in the music studio use a metronome to keep the band in time during the recording process and this keeps the timing of the track accurate. This should help you with the practice of keeping to time with the drums. Pick a slower piece of music to play along within the 50 to 70 bpm temp range to help you build confidence and improve your timing.
Timekeeping is the foundation of a drummer. By focusing on developing good timing you are setting yourself towards success as a great drummer.
Want to pick up drumming? Ritmo Music Studio in Singapore offers drumming lessons for students, adults and seniors.