Improving speed

sarahhow

New member
I play snare drum in my high school’s marching band.

I have pretty decent speed when I don’t have to think about what i’m playing, but pattern speed is really what is getting to me right now (specifically paradiddles.)

Any tips?
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I play snare drum in my high school’s marching band.

I have pretty decent speed when I don’t have to think about what i’m playing, but pattern speed is really what is getting to me right now (specifically paradiddles.)

Any tips?
Honestly there are no short cuts.. best advice i got is. play it at the highest temp you can play it PERFECT.. if it's not perfect slow down til it is perfect. And practice practice practice.. If you get it perfect and practice, the speed will come.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I have pretty decent speed when I don’t have to think about what i’m playing
This is "muscle memory", or fully formed neurological pathways in the brain.
pattern speed is really what is getting to me right now (specifically paradiddles.)
These pathways are not fully formed yet. If thinking about what you are doing is hindering you, you need to do it more until you can do it without thought. Only then can you build speed and endurance.

It's the whole crawl before you walk thing. Cant walk until you learn to stand. Cant run until you learn to walk.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
To gain speed, I find it better for me to mentally focus on control. I feel a good and efficient technique is a vital part of control. Once control is established, speed is much more easily obtained, almost a piece of cake IMO. It's easier mentally for me to focus on control. For me it's way more effective that just skipping over that part and going right to the speed. I've done it that way too.
Going right for speed I find to be a slog. But going for control is not a slog. It's focused.

I concur with what Icetech said. Focus on "perfection" of control. Control is the very foundation of speed. Yes speed is very important, just not to the detriment of control. Metronomes help me practice clean subdivisions. Especially with triplets and straight time mixed, as in David Stanoch's "Tables of Time" I find most people who don't focus on, or study time speed up their triplets, which was my tendency as well. Vigilance.
 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
First learn to play one paradiddle, fast, one time, with a release-- RLRR-L, and LRLL-R. Extend that to two, three, and so on. If you can do eight in a row at the speed want you'll be in good shape for most practical applications.

Immediate goal tempos might be quarter note = 105, 120, 132, 150. Playing the paradiddles as 16th notes.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
BTW... here is a trick that i wish i had known many years ago.. i used to practice rudiments for hours at a time on 1 rudiment.. at some point i switched to doing like 1 pattern for 10 mins.. then other things.. come back to that first pattern 20 mins later and it's like it solidified more in my brain and was MUCH easier.. do that a few times and it's locked in. This worked so much better than just hammering away on 1 thing for long periods.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
BTW... here is a trick that i wish i had known many years ago.. i used to practice rudiments for hours at a time on 1 rudiment.. at some point i switched to doing like 1 pattern for 10 mins.. then other things.. come back to that first pattern 20 mins later and it's like it solidified more in my brain and was MUCH easier.. do that a few times and it's locked in. This worked so much better than just hammering away on 1 thing for long periods.
Again, I concur. When I was teaching my son a few things on drums that were just outside his abilities, I'd drill him hard for 10 minutes and then take a break to do other stuff or just talk. I always told him that the mind still works on the "problem" after the drumming stops. So coming back 20 minutes later to the same lesson, there was a definite jump in comprehension as well as execution and relaxation.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I don't really want to play faster notes, but I do want to improve faster. I guess these are appropriate advices for that too. ( ;
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Again, I concur. When I was teaching my son a few things on drums that were just outside his abilities, I'd drill him hard for 10 minutes and then take a break to do other stuff or just talk. I always told him that the mind still works on the "problem" after the drumming stops. So coming back 20 minutes later to the same lesson, there was a definite jump in comprehension as well as execution and relaxation.

yeah.. i played for like 6 years before i figured that out... I would be WAY better by now if i had known :(
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Having someone tell me a trick pales in comparison to figuring that trick out for myself. Takes a lot longer though.

6 years isn't that shabby. It took me a lot longer than 6 years
well.. not to hijack this thread more but :) When i started playing i noticed that patterns i would do the night before and struggle with, the next day i would sit down and go right through them... i should have figured it out back then.. but i r dumb :)
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I play snare drum in my high school’s marching band.

I have pretty decent speed when I don’t have to think about what i’m playing, but pattern speed is really what is getting to me right now (specifically paradiddles.)

Any tips?

Practice a lot of paradiddle variations, like flamadiddles (all 4 kinds, with the beat in all 4 positions), dragadiddles (same thing), and Book Reports. Switch between variations every 2-3 minutes, practice all of them very clean and slowly.
 

Sebenza

Member
BTW... here is a trick that i wish i had known many years ago.. i used to practice rudiments for hours at a time on 1 rudiment.. at some point i switched to doing like 1 pattern for 10 mins.. then other things.. come back to that first pattern 20 mins later and it's like it solidified more in my brain and was MUCH easier.. do that a few times and it's locked in. This worked so much better than just hammering away on 1 thing for long periods.
A variation on that trick is to work a difficult exercise or new technique for a very short time, but multiple times throughout the day. Play through it once at breakfast, once at your 10am break, again at lunch, etc...all the way up and through the evening. It will feel as though you hardly spent any time at all with those 3-5 minute spurts, but at the end of the day it'll be a solid half hour spent on that one thing.

The benefit is because you've confronted your brain again and again to the coordination or the foreign movement of the new technique, it really hardwires itself a lot faster in your muscle memory.

And once you get something to where it becomes instinctive and natural to play, getting it up to speed can be relatively easy.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
A variation on that trick is to work a difficult exercise or new technique for a very short time, but multiple times throughout the day. Play through it once at breakfast, once at your 10am break, again at lunch, etc...all the way up and through the evening. It will feel as though you hardly spent any time at all with those 3-5 minute spurts, but at the end of the day it'll be a solid half hour spent on that one thing.

The benefit is because you've confronted your brain again and again to the coordination or the foreign movement of the new technique, it really hardwires itself a lot faster in your muscle memory.

And once you get something to where it becomes instinctive and natural to play, getting it up to speed can be relatively easy.
well.. shit like that should come in the "Drummers first day" handbook :) better late than never for me :)
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I eventually realized the main reason my paradiddles were not getting faster was because there was a certain part of the paradiddle that needed more work than the rest of the rudiment.
Emmanuelle Caplette uploaded a brilliant "paradiddle builder" exercise on her youtube channel which is what got me to recognize my weak point.

 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Your paradiddle is only as fast as your weakest hand. I recommend practicing singles and doubles but leading with your weaker hand…other than that follow the great advice above and keep smashing it!! 😀 (y)

Try this 16ths exercise featuring a repeating bar of singles followed by a bar of doubles (if you’re left handed lead with the right):
LRLRLRLRLRLRLRLR LLRRLLRRLLRRLLRR
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
What an inspiring thread!..the responses are all hugely motivating. I can't tell you how many times I've been totally inspired by feedback from members of this forum. You guys all THINK you are just putting up a fleeting response but it is SO much more than that...i dont just read responses..i internalize words that go with me throughout my day!. Ya....we have our food fights and you sometimes think damn..but then you read threads like this and feel blessed to be able to reach out to helping hands. I'm just thankful and hope this isn't overly sappy. Carry on.
 

mata

Junior Member
I'm going to go against the grain here. I would advise to go past the speed that you can do it perfectly, and make some mistakes.

I've been reading a lot about how learning occurs in the brain, particularly physical skills learning. The best approach would be to make mistakes, lots of them, but still getting it right a few times. Those few times trigger some chemicals that signal to your brain that he has to take care of it during your sleep.

That, and focusing on one thing, and even deeper, on one aspect of that thing, makes learning possible.

So in short, you want to get better at paradiddles? Focus on one particular aspect, like stick heights, or sound, or the rebound of the doubles. It doesn't matter what, as long as you focus. Then practice paradiddles, focusing on the chosen particular aspect, at a speed where you make mistakes, but you also get it right sometimes. Stay there for a while, at least 15 minutes. It will be frustrating. In fact, if you become frustrated then you are in fact learning. Try to reframe that frustration into excitement, because tomorrow you will be better!
After the 15-20 minutes (set a timer so you can focus on the exercise) just close your eyes and rest. You're done for today!

Trust me, try this for a little while and you will see results.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I'm going to go against the grain here. I would advise to go past the speed that you can do it perfectly, and make some mistakes.

I've been reading a lot about how learning occurs in the brain, particularly physical skills learning. The best approach would be to make mistakes, lots of them, but still getting it right a few times. Those few times trigger some chemicals that signal to your brain that he has to take care of it during your sleep.

That, and focusing on one thing, and even deeper, on one aspect of that thing, makes learning possible.

So in short, you want to get better at paradiddles? Focus on one particular aspect, like stick heights, or sound, or the rebound of the doubles. It doesn't matter what, as long as you focus. Then practice paradiddles, focusing on the chosen particular aspect, at a speed where you make mistakes, but you also get it right sometimes. Stay there for a while, at least 15 minutes. It will be frustrating. In fact, if you become frustrated then you are in fact learning. Try to reframe that frustration into excitement, because tomorrow you will be better!
After the 15-20 minutes (set a timer so you can focus on the exercise) just close your eyes and rest. You're done for today!

Trust me, try this for a little while and you will see results.

I sort of would say to marry the two concepts together...

i have my students start slower to make sure they are not compromising technique, and then they slowly speed up to a point where technique is compromised, and then slow back down again...to me it is like weight lifting.

so say for instance, that you are doing @Al Strange 's skeleton and double exercise from the post above:
1. start that as 16th notes at 80bpm
- do that for a minute
2. speed the met up to 90bpm
- do that for a minute
3. speed met up to 100bpm
- do that for a minute

etc. etc. until you find the tempo where you can not play with good, relaxed technique ***

for me, with that exercise, 190bpm is my trouble tempo...that is where I feel my left hand tensing up, so then I would do that exercise around 190bpm for a smaller amount of time - like 30 seconds - but do more reps of it. So like 10 reps of 30seconds at 190, with rest in between

the next day, i will do the speed up process again ,adn see if I can play wiht a bit less tension around 190

BUT

though all of this, remember that speed building takes time...it is NOT gonna happen in just a week, ESPECIALLY if you are compromising technique!!!

***this process is easier if you have a met that you can program to speed up on it's own. I use he met called Tempo, and has a function that allows me to program it to speed up x amount of beats every y amount of bars. I usually use 4 beats every 7 bars just to give it a random feel...and I feel like I get better results if I don't increase the tempo too quickly <--- t hat way each speed sort of "sinks in" to my muscles
 
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