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Building Muscle Memory and Neuro Pathways-For Drummers

When a drummer first starts playing the notes are very uneven, beats and fills are nearly impossible and the brain and limbs aren’t working together. This is because there is no existing muscle memory or neuro pathways in place. There is only one way to build these vital links and that is through repetition and practice. Any new endeavour can only be mastered through repetition. This explains why the more we practice, the better we become.

Think of neuro pathways as the link between brain and limbs and muscle memory as the hands and feet knowing what to do with the message from the brain. As a drummer becomes more accomplished he or she will think of a beat or fill and the body will automatically perform it. This is because the links have been established through repetition and practice. Even an advanced drummer will have to go through this process when learning a new skill.

Here are some tips to building muscle memory and neuro pathways:

  1. Set a goal of what you want to accomplish.
  2. Practice the skill every day for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  3. Record yourself so you can determine what requires more work and also to track your progress.
  4. Be patient- the more complex the skill, the more practice will be required to master it.
  5. Once you’ve mastered it, refine it by adding speed, making it more precise, etc.
  6. As you become better at building these links you will discover techniques which you can apply to all areas of your drumming.
  7. Once you have built these links, they will be easier to recall even if you take a break from drumming, similar to riding a bike.

Power Drumming Canada coaches beginner, intermediate and advanced drummers to be the best they can be.

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Showmanship and Tricks

When performing live or shooting videos being able to add visuals to your drumming can have a significant impact on your overall performance. These can include pyrotechnics, stick twirling, lighting effects, etc.

A few suggestions…

  1. Focus on becoming a solid drummer before adding tricks to your arsenal.
  2. Don’t over do it. A few well placed and well executed visuals have a much stronger impact than too many.
  3. Make sure you’re not distracting from your drumming performance.
  4. Great visuals aren’t necessarily the most difficult.
  5. Keep the audience in mind when designing your performance as opposed to a workout for your own ego.
  6. Practice as much as you can to be able to execute the tricks flawlessly.
  7. Research as much as you can to uncover as many tricks as possible.
  8. One of the hallmarks of a great drummer is to come up with original ideas. This also applies to showmanship and tricks. (Eg. an idea I had many years ago was to individually light each drum with a trigger. Playing in the dark each drum would light up as it was hit. You can imagine the visual impact this would create, especially when playing fast.
  9. Showmanship and tricks are great but if you don’t have the chops to go along with them, they are pointless. I’ve seen some great drummers who didn’t do any tricks but delivered a superb performance.

My suggestion is to become a great drummer, then consider adding showmanship and tricks.

Power Drumming Canada coaches beginner, intermediate and advanced drummers to be the best they can be.