Students often ask what is the best way to practice. The easy answer is a little and often. Drumming is definitely one of those skills that benefits from repetition. This is because most of the time that we are working on something new it involves some form of muscle memory or to put it slightly more scientifically... we need to create and strengthen neural pathways in our brain. A couple of good examples of this are walking and riding a bike. At first, when you start trying to do either of these things they seem impossible but after time and patience they become second nature.
I usually recommend 10 minutes or so of drumming practice per day, every day. This is so much better than trying to cram an hour in once a week before your lesson. Also people are so busy these days that just 10 minutes is not only easier to schedule into a busy day but it can also be your reward for getting something done or a nice way to relieve stress.
So that brings us to... What, should we practice? This depends on circumstance and where you are. If you are away from home, or you don’t have access to a drum kit, then doing 10 minutes of rudiments and sticking exercises on a practice pad can work wonders. You will genuinely be surprised at your improvement if you spend 10 minutes a day on paradiddles for example. If you are lucky enough to get behind a kit, then you can play rudiments, practice whatever you are working on during your lesson and also just play to some music, as this helps develop your musical ear and exposes you to different sounds and techniques.
Whatever you do remember... Drumming is FUN! So go, enjoy yourself and stop treating practice like a chore.
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