Master the basics
Did you find your first drum kit neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree and looking for a few pointers? Or perhaps you’re an old hand keen to hone your skills in 2014?
For both camps, going back to basics is not a bad idea at all. Sometimes even experienced players can benefit from revisiting the rudimentals. Drummers new, old, young and ancient may well confuse some basic drumming terms, so why not take a look at a video run through of drum essentials? That’ll help you tell your cross stick from your rim shot.
And while you’re at it, why not take a basic lesson or two? Then you’ll have no excuse for not nailing a perfect rock, jazz, funk and shuffle beat.
Become studio savvy
With home studios and recording set-ups becoming all the more affordable and in reach for drummers of all budgets, it’s worth taking some time this year to get your head around miking up your kit and getting a killer drum sound.
Well, who better to lend a hand in that respect than production wizard/moustachioed genius/Garbage drummer Butch Vig? The Nirvana/Smashing Pumpkins/Green Day producer has plenty of knowledge to impart on panning kits, finding the right overheads and a ton more.
Talk to any pro drummer and they will tell you that while much of the money may have fallen out of the music industry, there is still a living to be made from packing out venues and playing live.
If you’re going to fill your local pub, your live playing needs to be up to scratch. And, if you’re going to brush up on your live performance skills, you might want to take some advice from a handful of pop session drumming’s biggest stars.
And for those of you considering starting a new covers band in 2014, you should check these handy tips.
Play like the master
If you want to play drums in a rock band, you’re going to more than likely want to get a John Bonham beat in your arsenal.
After all, talk to any of rock’s big name drummers to emerge in the last 30 years or so and we’d bet our hat that most would cite the Led Zeppelin man as a huge inspiration and influence. Oh, and if you’re going to learn a Bonham beat, why not take a lesson from a modern drumming great?
Take tips from the stars
Those of you looking to build your chops in 2014, worry not, we have some A-list experts to help you whatever the genre.
Want some help with your metal playing? Look no further than a video lesson from Lamb of God’s metal maestro Chris Adler. Is funk more your persuasion? Have a little Stanton Moore. Is it intricate technical playing that you’re into? Meet Jojo Mayer.
For many drummers, the endorsement is the golden ticket to more free gear than they could ever know what to do with.
Is it your goal to get endorsed this year? Well, the first thing you need to do is realise that an endorsement doesn’t mean a ton of free gear. Yes, for a select few lending their name to a particular brand will bring with it their dream rig, but many big name players are still paying for their gear (albeit at a reduced rate).
No, endorsements are all about relationships and support. Don’t believe us? See what these guys have to say before you go banging on the door of your favourite gear company
Become a double bass demon
Double kick skills aren’t just for playing blistering blast beats (although they can be used for that, of course). No, there’s a ton of technical applications that open up for drummers once they (excuse the pun) find their feet with double bass.
Want to kick it all off by picking up some tasty tips on constructing fills packed with paradiddles between your hands and feet? Thank us (and Periphery’s Matt Halpern) later.
Click, click, click
If you are looking to work on your studio skills this year, then you will certainly want to become acquainted with the click.
Playing to a click track is a huge skill for drummers of all ages and abilities, after all if you can’t keep time you’re not going to be very popular with the rest of your band, right? Nailing perfect time will be a huge help in making sure you make the most of your studio time and lay down perfect takes, and will also stand you in good stead when it comes time to hit the stage. Read some handy advice here.
Get yourself noticed
If up to now you’re only using YouTube for searching for funny clips of cats, you’ve gone wrong somewhere along the way.
Drummers can use YouTube to their advantage, by recording clips of themselves playing and uploading them for the world to see. Whether it be a drum cover, a mini lesson, some playing advice, anything at all, getting yourself out there can help you get noticed.
In fact, there’s plenty of drummers that have made a name for themselves that way. How about the Drummer At The Wrong Gig? Or Cobus? Or the fantastically bizarre Adventure Drums?
Oh, and even if your skin isn’t quite thick enough to hit the upload button, recording yourself playing and watching it back is great for picking out any faults in your style or areas to work on.
Get fit for the kit
Why not kill two birds with one stone and get yourself fit for the road? That way you can get in shape and improve your stamina, something that is vital for a gruelling set in a sweat-drenched club.
To help you along, here’s some tips from two of modern rock drumming’s biggest stars. You Me At Six’s Dan Flint has ten handy titbits and Blink 182’s Travis Barker also has plenty to say about how he keeps in tip top shape while packing arenas with the pop punk threesome.
Whatever you decide to work on in 2014, good luck!