Today I want to continue on with habits and practice.
One item that I do religiously in my daily practice session is rudiments.
Rudiments are the drummer’s scales. They teach stick control, coordination and are the basics for all of your playing. Every rhythm you play, no matter if it’s on a single drum or some elaborate mega kit is built off of rudiments. So it makes sense to practice them every day.
They are also a great warm up tool.
When I returned to playing drums I knew rudiments were the place to start.
I had to go online to get some charts because after not practicing them for over 25 years I couldn’t remember them all. The last I remembered there were 26 standard rudiments and much to my surprise when I looked them up there are now 40 rudiments.
Me being old school like I am started with the original 26. After reacquainting myself with those I did move on and pick up most of the new ones as well.
I don’t run through all 40 in one practice session. I split them up half and half every other day of practice.
What’s funny is when I was younger and played full time I never really had made rudiments a part of my practice sessions. Rudiments were something you learned from your drum teacher. Once I stopped taking lessons I basically stopped practicing rudiments.
I lacked the discipline with no one looking over my shoulder reviewing my progress. Plus I felt I knew them very, very well. I had songs to learn and riffs to polish.
How stupid of me.
Now I feel that sometimes they are more important to my practice sessions than actually working on my kit.
When I started playing again it was a very difficult lesson for me to learn. I had to relearn some sticking and coordination that use to be an involuntary reaction.
My wrists were tight and sometimes would even start to ache but each day I practiced my rudiments. No practice starts without first running through my rudiments.
Now when I start my rudiments there is a bit of stiffness in my wrists. It’s not painful but there is a little bit of discomfort. For a while it took getting through 10 or so rudiments before the discomfort went away but now within about one of two it leaves and the muscles start to relax the joints feel fluid.
Seeing that this discomfort starts to dissipate faster each time I practice keeps me motivated to not miss time. It helps me to believe that I can get back to the flow I had when I played in my younger days. I know I’ll never get all the way back but I can get close.
Maybe I don’t want to get back to how I played in my youth. I think I like my style better with the input of age into the mix.
It does make me wonder what if I had had this kind of work ethic when I was young. How much better of a drummer would I have been.
I can’t do anything about that now. All I can do is keep working and be ready for when my moment comes along.
Rudiments are the foundation. They are the simple building blocks. I like simplicity in my older age.
I like practicing my rudiments.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.