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Home Practice Set Up - Part 1

If you spend about 5 minutes searching YouTube for drummers playing licks and cyphers, you’ll quickly notice one thing;  almost everyone is approaching their set-up differently.  Some practice with a pad on their lap, while others have their stand too high. The players who practice on drums stand too far away.  In marching percussion the goal is to eliminate variables and be as consistent as possible.   Below are 3 tips for your home practice set-up:

1. Practice standing up.

  • How many drumline auditions or rehearsals have you gone to in your lifetime where you sat down to play?  Unless you're a drumset player or timpanist, I would guess very few. Standing up also allows you to mark time and reinforce good posture. We always emphasize the idea of making practice sessions as close to the game as possible in many aspects. Plain and simple... standing up while practicing is a closer simulation to wearing a drum than sitting is.  

2. Be aware of your distance from the drum

  • The muscle memory and efficiencies you developed are altered if you're standing at a different distance than when you wear the drum on a carrier.  By standing too close or too far from the drum, a chain reaction beings.  Each joint (elbow, wrist, etc) needs to be slightly manipulated in order to adapt to the “new” set up.

  • What’s a way to do this?  Measure the distance your carrier is from the drum and ensure your practice set- up is able to replicate the exact distance.  You can do this with a ruler, water bottle, or cardboard cut out.  

3. Use as many tools as possible to increase the amount of feedback you receive.  Try to collect data on your tendencies and deficiencies to ensure you can make calculated improvements.

  • A mirror is a great tool for this.  Check out Matt’s blog to learn more: Mirror Practice - Part 1

  • Always drum with a metronome 

  • Practice with a video recording device

  • Take an IQ Test

These are just a few tips designed to get you better, faster.  Check out our archive for more blogs like this!

Author: John McClean

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