A drummer can practice without a drum set in many ways. Knowing
how is the key to further one’s musical development. Here are a few ways you can keep up that practice routine without a drum set.
Building Chops with a Pillow
One great way to strengthen your wrists while working on your rudiments is to use a pillow as a practice pad. Unlike a snare drum, a pillow has no rebound. This means that when your drumstick hits the pillow’s surface, it will stay there instead of bouncing back towards you. This forces you to use your wrist in a full up and down motion, which will strengthen them. You can practice many rudiments in this fashion, like the single stroke roll, the double stroke, or even the para-diddle. You will notice once you sit behind a snare drum, the rebound will make it much easier to play them, and because you’ve been working on them using a pillow, your wrists will be stronger, helping you execute rudiments efficiently and smoothly.
You could also practice on a pillow using thicker and heavier drumsticks. Remember not to overdue it though; once your wrists begin to feel tired take a small break before continuing.
Working with a Drum Pad
A drum pad is very affordable and quiet. It takes very little place in the house and is a great way to practice without a drum set. Different from using a pillow, a drum pad actually has rebound. It is important as drummers to work with rebound and learn how to use it to your benefit. By having a drum pad, you can work each day with rebound as well as develop other techniques. For example, you can work at developing and understanding finger technique. Learning how to manipulate your sticks with your fingers gives you a new tool in which you can use to play the drums. In combination with practicing on a pillow, you will become a rudiment master in no time. Just put in the practice time and you’ll see, feel, and hear the progress you’re making.
If you usually play the bass drum pedal with your heel-up, and want to work on playing it heel-down, you can do so without having a drum set near. Just sit at the edge of a chair as if you were sitting on a drum-stool, and place your feet flat on the ground. Imagining there is a pedal under your foot, bring your foot up and down while keeping your heel on the ground. This will strengthen the muscles needed for heel-down technique, helping you a little for when you start practicing on a bass drum pedal.
Always remember, even without a drum set you can still practice drum beats and independence exercises by playing on your knees, and pressing down on the floor with your feet. It is a decent substitute to help you memorize and learn beats.
Keep in mind that it is important to find time to play on a real drum set. These tricks help for those who can’t find the time to play on a set, or do not own one. Even if you are a drum set owner, some of these exercises such as practicing on a pillow, or focusing with a drum pad for those quiet hours in the day, are good things to try if you want more practice time.
Thanks for Reading!
From everyone here at WIMA, keep practicing, and have fun!