Speed and Endurance for drummers is critical to good playing. Here is a short, basic practice routine you can use to improve your hand speed and endurance. In it’s shortest form it only takes about 18 minutes making it a great routine to use when you are short of time or as a warm up to a longer practice session. Try to do a short set at least once per day just to keep your hands moving. Like all music exercises, this one can be varied greatly and I encourage that. In the beginning though, try it as written here because it contains what I consider to be three of the most important exercises to a drummer. The Single Stroke Roll, the Parradiddle and the Double Stroke Roll. Again, you can substitute any three rudiments or sticking patterns here but start with the basic three at first till you get the idea.
You will need a snare drum or practice pad, a metronome to keep a steady beat, and a clock to time the exercise.
For those are not familiar with them here is a brief explanation of the three exercises.
- Single Stroke Roll. The most basic of all techniques. Simply start with the right hand and make one stroke with each hand. EG. RLRLRLRL etc.
- Double Stroke Roll. Two strokes with each hand. EG. RRLLRRLL etc.
- Parradiddle. There are four different variations of the Parradiddle which I will explain further in a future article. We are using the first one which goes. RLRRLRLL etc.
What we are going to do is 2 minutes of each exercise beginning at a moderate tempo. I usually play 16th notes or four beats or strokes to the metronome click. This is counted 1 e and a, 2 e and a, 3 e and a, 4 e and a. etc.
Start with a moderate to slow tempo and do 2 minutes of single strokes, 2 minutes of parradiddles and 2 minutes of double stroke rolls without stopping. Pay special attention to making each note sound even and smooth no matter what hand or what exercise. Basically, they should all sound the same.
Once you have done each of the three exercises for two minutes stop and set the tempo on your metronome to a slightly faster tempo. Keep repeating this pattern until you get to a tempo where it becomes difficult to keep up.
That’s about it really. Simple eh? But very effective. Just doing this routine 3 or 4 times through each day will show you a dramatic improvement very quickly. Of course, if you have more time, do more repetitions and make the tempo increase smaller each time.
Once you have your basic three exercises down pat, try substituting them with something a bit more complicated.