Organized Practice Program

Given where I want to go with linear drumming, the amount of time I have to spend practicing on a drum set and the path I am currently on, I am going to prioritize spending time creating a program and define some guidelines for my linear drumming practice time.

Right now things are disorganized. I don’t keep track of what I am working on. I also don’t have a clear cut idea of the next step when I complete a step. I just practice whatever comes to mind. For me this is not going to work, so the intention of this post is to introduce the first draft of my personal linear drumming practice program.

Linear Drumming Practice Program:

Goal:

  • Comfort and ease of linear drumming in a song/solo. (Currently I tense up)
  • Be intentional of what I am playing. (Currently I just hit whatever is in the way)
  • Hear and execute new and different ideas. (Currently I feel like I play the same fills over and over. With this goal it requires exploring)

Before hitting any drums/cymbals:

  1. Decide if the practice time is a free flowing or a regimented routine.
  2. For regimented routine
    1. Pick any 3 patterns
    2. Pick a suitable tempo
      1. Keep a spreadsheet of all the patterns you are working on and monitor what speeds each pattern feels comfortable.
    3. Play through the four subdivisions using the time limit guide.
    4. If I am short on time put emphasis on playing with accents.
  3. For free flowing
    1. Find a track to play with and have fun with it.
    2. While having fun, try to communicate something.

Subdivisions to practice:

  • 32nd notes
  • 16th note triplets
  • 16th notes
  • 8th note triplets

Time limit:

  • Up to 1 minute per pattern per subdivision (no accents)
  • Up to 30 seconds per pattern per subdivision accenting one of the sub-divided notes in the beat the entire time, except 32nd notes subdivision.
  • 2 minutes per pattern for multiple subdivisions (with or without accents)
  • 2 minutes per pattern for multiple subdivisions (with accents)

Orchestration:

  • I do not have any thoughts in how to organize orchestration except to be intentional of which drums/cymbals to hit and be repetitive when something is discovered or uncomfortable.

Progression:

  1. Get comfortable with the pattern at a slow tempo. This means understand where each note lands in the beat and make sure you can clearly hear (accuracy) each note landing where it is supposed to land.
  2. Add accents to each note in the pattern. This introduces musicality into the linear drumming.
  3. Mix up the subdivisions without accents. This adds rhythmic musicality to linear drumming. This step can be swapped with the 2nd step.
  4. While mixing up the subdivisions of a pattern add accents.
  5. Combine patters within one subdivision. Pick any two patterns and go back and forth any number of times between the two patterns. No accents
  6. Repeat step 5 but add in the accents
  7. Repeat step 6 but do this across multiple subdivisions
  8. Repeat step 7 but add in the accents

Tips:

  • It is important to practice the patterns in a song/solo. It allows for me to develop the comfort aspect and to start hearing different ideas.
  • Use the patterns as fills, solos or grooves.
  • Find a tempo on the metronome and just play or find a backing track or song and play.

Update: This is the spreadsheet I will be using to monitor my linear drumming progress: Linear Drumming Google Sheet

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