I thought for a long time about what an old fart like me can tell all you young drummers out there. Here is one thing I know for sure: Practice makes the master! Or as we say in Germany, “Uebung macht den meister.” I always felt that part of any drummer’s talent is, of course, natural talent, but the rest is practice, practice, and practice! I used to practice every day for six to eight hours. That was long time ago; now I do one or two hours a day. I found that as long as you keep fit behind your drums, you feel good—and that is what daily practice does.
I also think it is great to play along to songs you like. Listen to the drums on the CD and copy it—an obviously fun way to learn how to play the drums. I used to listen to Led Zeppelin and copy John Bonham’s drum breaks. Another way to practice is just by doing simple rudiments over and over again—paradiddles, flams, and triplets, just to name a few. And don’t forget bass drum exercises! A lot of people ask me, “What is the best time to practice”? Well, for me, morning works best. Other people prefer nighttime. It’s important always to play “light”—meaning, don’t eat too much before, otherwise you’re going to feel like a stuffed potato.
When you practice things out on your kit, do them slowly at first. The speed comes day-by-day…just be patient. But the most important thing is to have fun. Without that, it becomes a boring routine, and you soon will lose interest. So pick a CD you like and play along with it, that way you have fun and enjoy the whole thing.
You can practice everywhere too. I used to practice in the hotels where we stayed. I put two chairs together and played drums on them, or on the edge of the sofa—whatever stood there and could be banged on! I played along to videos that were on MTV…whatever it was. So my message to all of you is simple: Play every day, and practice every day.
Check out my new CD, available on www.darkstarrecords.com. There are a few drum songs on there like “Wipeout,” “Drumdance,” and “Heya Heya.” Have fun practicing!
For more on Herman Rarebell, go to www.hermanrarebell.com.
To read Herman’s Update in Modern Drummer magazine, see the November, 2010 issue.