Mysterious Results of Drum Exercises

  • Posted on: 22 November 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Have you ever worked on a set of exercises from a drum book without having any idea of how they are going to affect your playing?

Recently, I decided to explore different approaches to my drum practice. In the past, I have chosen books with a specific goal in mind. For example, I would aim to improve my swing feel, or to learn some hip hop beats. However, this time around, I'm intentionally choosing to learn how to do something without having any expectation for what it will do to my playing. Because I'm satisfied with my ability to play most styles of music, I now have the luxury of enjoying the drums without having to focus on an urgent weak spot in my playing. This is due to several years of focused effort and time spent behind the drum set.

Without any specific goal in mind, I've taken up multi-pedal orchestrations. Specifically, I've chosen to tackle Thomas Lang's Coordination Matrix. This is a mathematical approach to creating unison coordination between the hands and feet. However, it's not clear to me how this kind of skill will make me a better musician. In fact, I don't even consider the relevance of my routines to be oriented around improving my musical capacity right now. With this system, I'm only focusing on the sensation of improving my coordination and technique. Of course, there are some general skills involved here (technique, consistency, timing, and dynamics). Regardless, the impact this may have on my playing - with music - is a complete mystery to me.

I'm OK with that. In fact, it's exciting to me.

Have you ever taken up a drill without being concerned about how it would change your drumming?

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