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How can a drummer learn to play without a drum kit?

Novice drummers are not always ready to invest substantial funds in the purchase of a drum kit. However, the lack of a set at your disposal should not interfere with your progress. The main thing is to use a creative approach! In this material, we have collected 5 ways to rehearse almost anywhere.

You may have a question: will these classes be effective? Isn’t this contrary to common sense?

Not contradict. The fact is that learning to play the drums consists of two main elements:

Development of coordination and muscle memory. This means that you must learn to move your four limbs at different times, with different speed and intensity.
Developing a sense of rhythm, that is, the ability to make the right movements at the right time.
Neither your brain nor your muscles really care if you hit real drums and cymbals, or, say, pillows. They will find this movement in any way.

There are many different ways to replace a drum kit, and each of them is aimed at developing a specific skill. We have collected only the most effective ones for you.

Take a pillow and a pair of drumsticks and start practicing rudiments the same way you do on a pad in music school. The presence of real sticks is important here, since you must hold them strictly in the same grip that you will use when playing the drum kit.

In addition to being 100 percent portable, this method gives you an advantage over drummers who only practice on the drum kit. The fact is that the pillow is much softer than the surface of the drum and, therefore, it gives a much smaller rebound. That is, after each blow, your muscles will also have to lift the wand. At first, doing this exercise will be difficult, but that’s what it’s called practice. But then, returning to the drum kit with a much greater rebound force, it will be easier for you to develop the speed of the game.
To learn how to do more exercises on the pillows, watching this video from Hiroki Niebla.

Imaginary drums
Every drummer, beginner or experienced, has moments when he begins to “drum” on the air in time with the song he likes. In fact, this activity is not just a stupid game. As mentioned above, your muscles do not know what object the movement is directed at. The main thing is the movement itself. So just take any excerpt from the part you are learning, visualize where the parts of your set are located, and … play!

The key point in training on imaginary reels is that you should try to repeat the movements clearly, as when playing on a real setup. That is, if you want to hit, for example, a high hat, then your hand at this moment should be at the same point in the air where the real plate is.

If you still doubt the effectiveness of this method, take a look at the musician in the video below. He achieved amazing skill in playing imaginary reels.

In the previous paragraph, we talked about playing by air, and this method is related to playing on the ground (or rather on the floor or any other solid surface under your feet). However, with regard to the direction of action, it is more similar to the method with pillows described above. Playing on the floor develops muscle memory, and also gives an advantage when switching to a drum kit. The floor doesn’t have as much bounce as the pedals on the installation, so you will start to feel the muscles of your lower leg after a few minutes of training. Such rehearsals will help you significantly increase the speed of performance.

Here are simple exercises for the development of muscle memory of the lower extremities.

Clapping your hands
Unlike previous methods, this one is aimed at developing accuracy and a sense of rhythm rather than muscle memory. Clapping your hands is a simple task that allows you to fully focus on hitting the target. In some music schools, children practice this way for up to six months before sitting down for the first time to play at least a small drum, not to mention the entire setup.

Training pad
If you are determined to continue learning to play the drums, it makes sense to purchase a training pad. As a rule, this device simulates a small, working drum, so it is most convenient to work out the main drawings on it. The pad can be purchased at any music store. there are hundreds of models and configurations: with a built-in metronome, with a stand or a special mount. Talk to your drum teacher at Jam’s cool and they will help you find the right one.

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