In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the secret to learn drums fast. I’d like to start off by asking you a question. When you practice drums, do you begin with a warmup or two and then get into the really hard stuff you want to learn?
Do you try to play that hard stuff a couple of times like your drum teacher or someone else played it on YouTube, and you mess it up? Do you then start noodling around, jamming on the drums and five minutes later you refocus and try again? Maybe you’re thinking, “Let’s get back to it. I’m learning this. I’m going to nail it!”
From here, You try it again, but you still can’t do it. So what do you do? You start noodling again, playing all the stuff you already know how to play. Before you know it, 30 minutes has gone. Maybe an hour has passed and you still didn’t learn the new thing you set out to learn! Is that you? That sure as heck was me before I learned the secret to learn drums fast. So why was it so hard to nail that new thing you were working on?…..Speed.
Play drums slow to learn drums fast
You were playing it too fast. I should write you a speeding ticket! My drum practice time now, is much different than it used to be. I wasted so much time practicing the other way. Now, I start off with a warmup and then I get right into the hard stuff. The difference between the old days and today is, I take it really, really slow. The other difference is, I can learn drums FAST!
When I’m learning something new, I play so slow, I would be embarrassed in the past if anyone heard me. I sound just like a beginner. Oh no! But here’s the thing. Every time we learn something new, we are a beginner! So the mantra I share with all of my students is, “You have to play drums slow to learn drums fast.”
Help your brain learn drums fast
Now, let me explain why you have to play things slowly when learning something new on the drums. Your brain is elastic and it’s going to learn whatever you teach it. It learns the sound, muscle movement and the coordination of anything you’re trying to do.
If you are, for example, working on a new hand pattern and you try it five times in a row at a speed that’s too fast for your brain to learn, you’re going to mess it up every time. If you’re going too fast, it ain’t going to happen.
Congratulations! You learned the wrong way
Guess what you’ve also done by practicing that way? You’ve taught your brain how you don’t want to do it and that’s exactly how you’re going to play it! Now you’ve got to undo all that you’ve learned to learn the thing you actually want to learn. It’s crazy. It’s nuts! You might as well just bang your head against a wall! That’s going to be more effective!
I want you to try playing new things really slow, I mean really, really, really slow with no tempo and no metronome. As drummers we’re always focused on time, but for this, I’ll give you your get out of jail free card, okay? You don’t have to focus on time.
I just want you to focus on the movement, the coordination, and the sound of what you’re trying to achieve. Just play things really slow focusing on every little motion. Concentrate on every sound that you’re making.
It seems slow but now you can learn drums fast
If you do that, guess what? You’re going to play it correctly every time! You’ll be teaching your brain and your body what you actually want to learn with each stroke of your drumstick. In the beginning, it may seem like it’s taking a lot of time to play things slowly. It does seem kind of tedious When you’re you’re starting off.
The reality, however, is that you’re going to achieve greater speed and solid muscle memory faster. Your muscles will remember the motions that you’re performing so much faster than if you tried to play things fast from the beginning. Trust me on this. Try it. You’re going to see that it works. It’s absolutely incredible! This is how you learn drums fast!
Small changes also need to be learned
Another interesting thing, is that if you’re working on drum set grooves and change the position of your hands, your brain is going to have to encode that change. For example, let’s say you’re nailing a groove with the right hand on the right ride cymbal. You then also want to try playing the groove with your left hand on the left ride cymbal.
In the beginning, your brain may think that it’s a totally different groove because your body movement, hand position and the sound have all changed. It’s kind of like having to relearn the whole pattern again just because of the changes in your body movement and the changes in the sound. So again, you want to go very, very slow.
It’s amazing to me that most drummers don’t know these basic facts about how our brain works and how to learn drums fast. This is why I wanted to share this with you. I have one more really important bonus I want to share with you today. Before I get to that, I want you to know about an incredible practice tool that I’ve created for you.
Learn with drumless tracks
I want you to have every way possible way to enjoy productive practice sessions. Playing with recorded music is one really great way to reinforce the things that you’re practicing and learn to play new things. It’s always a good idea to get yourself some really great professionally produced drumless tracks. I’m talking about really good sounding tracks that inspire you to play.
I also create drumless practice tracks for drummers. I know they’re going to help you out a lot in your practice and you’re going to have a lot of fun. You’ll be playing with real musicians too! They’re now at VONBARONSTORE.COM. Go check ’em out!
A relaxed brain is a learning brain
Let’s get back to the bonus thing I want to share. I want you to know that when you are relaxed and you’re not under any kind of stress or pressure from yourself or your teacher to learn something new, you’re going to also retain so much more information.
This is because when we are relaxed, our brain is not in that fight or flight mode. There’s no stress disrupting the thought function in our brain. All of the learning receptors in the brain are wide open for business and ready to learn drums fast. This is why I always make my YouTube videos on drumming4life.com and my private drum lessons really fun and relaxed.
Take a break to learn faster
So what if you’re going slow and you’re nailing your drum parts but you’re a little frustrated because you really want things to go faster? Take a break. Even a 5-minute break will relax your brain. Focus on something completely different like watching TV, listening to some music or talking to somebody about something unrelated to drumming. Just get your mind off of the drums.
Your brain and body will then relax. Your brain is also going to marinate on what you’ve been teaching it. It’s going to do that for a while. I’ve read studies that this can happen for up to 48 hours after you’ve been learning something! I’m not sure it’s that long, but it’s definitely a long time.
Your brain is always learning
Your brain really is incredible. It will process information and keep processing information to help you learn what you need to learn. If you think about it from a survival perspective, it’s important for the brain to learn. It keeps us out of danger and helps us acquire knowledge that is important for us to know.
So take that 5-minute break and when you return to your practicing, you’re going to be able to do it. I’m not kidding you. Almost 100% of the time my students can do it!
I distract them for a few minutes when I can see that they’re getting a little frustrated. We usually talk about something unrelated to drumming and they think I’m going off topic. Many times they’ve told me they were thinking, “What’s he doing? We’re wasting drum lesson time.” 5 minutes later we return to the lesson material and they nail it! They look at me incredulously like, “I can’t believe I played it!!”
Final thoughts about how to learn drums fast
Pretty amazing yeah? Your brain is ready to help you learn drums. You’ve just got to give it a chance. Knowing how it works will help you partner with your brain to learn drums fast!
I hope this blog post has been helpful for you. If you like what you’ve read, please share! It will help me immensely in reaching more enthusiastic drummers like you! KEEP ON DRUMMIN’!
PREPARE FOR YOUR JAZZ GIGS. Download high-quality, effective DRUMLESS TRACKS. Improve your time, feel, comping and soloing. Learn to play better with real musicians.
For fun and free YouTube JAZZ DRUM LESSONS.
Also check out my BEYOND DRUM BEATS PODCAST. If you are pursuing a career in music and drumming, this podcast is a valuable resource.