Warming Up


27 Mar
27Mar

It seems common knowledge that the drums are one of the most demanding instruments physically to play. And yet as a kid i would always step up to play completely cold, by which i mean cold hands, muscles not stretched, not mentally or physically prepared.
I didn't really worry too much about warming up thinking i was too young for it to matter. Until i started warming up before i played i didn't realise how much of a difference it makes.

Human muscles contract and relax in different combinations to allow us to move in the direction we desire. In the same way an engine turns the wheels on a car to gain speed while the steering wheel turns the axle to change the direction the vehicle is traveling in.
All mechanical systems work better when they have warmed up, like a car becoming more efficient after it has had a chance to warm all of the components up, or a kettle will be quicker at boiling water after it has had a chance to warm up.

No one would go for a run or dance or swim without warming up your muscles first. This is effectively because heat is a type of energy, the more energy each mechanism has the better it will be at its function.
Warming up before i play allows me to play faster, for longer and with better control over what i am playing.
It also has the added benefit that my internal clock has a better basis for what song tempos i should be playing, meaning I'm not so likely to start a song too fast or too slow.

There are a few warm up options that i use depending on what i am to be playing. Some of these my be helpful to you others maybe not, it does depend a little on how you work best.

The first one i use a lot because it improves your co-ordination as well as being a very good warm up is a sextuplet and i change the sticking as I'm playing.

 

All of the exercises i do below are demonstrated in this video. 

Sextuplet Sticking Exercise  

A sextuplet is a group of six notes within each quarter note and are best counted: 

1                            2                         3                         4

1      -   trip      -   let      -  2       -    trip      -   let      -  3      -   trip     -   let      -   4      -      trip     -      let      -

1-a-trip-a-let-a- 2  -a-trip-a-let-a- 3-a-trip-a-let-a-  4-a-trip-a-let-a-

 As I'm playing these sextuplets, every quarter note i change the sticking I'm playing, first doubles then singles then doubles then singles. 

1.    R - R - L - L - R - R -

2.    L - R - L - R - L - R - 

3.    L - L - R - R - L - L - 

4.    R - L - R - L - R - L - 

Set a metronome to 60bpm to start with and get used to it first. 

16th Note sticking Exercise 

Another exercise i use is setting a metronome to 70bpm and first playing two bars of single strokes, two bars of doubles and then two bars of paradiddles, then back to the start.

R- L -R- L -R- L- R- L- R- L- R- L- R- L- R- L-      X2

R-R-  L-L-  R-R-  L-L-  R-R-  L-L-  R-R  -L-L-      X2

R-L-R-R-  L-R-L-L-  R-L-R-R-  L-R-L-L-      X2

After I've played around with that, i then use the clicks as if they are beats two and four (so I'm actually playing at 140bpm) and repeat the stickings. 

Brushes Exercise 

If I'm to be playing slower laid back tempos i will generally get out a book set a metronome to between 60 and 80bpm and practice doubles followed by some 5 stroke rolls with brushes on the book.

The Sticking is: 

R-R-  L-L - R-R-  L-L - R-R-  L-L - R-R  -L-L 

R-R- L-L- R  -  L-L-R-R-L  -  R-R-L-L-R  -  L-L-R-R-L  -  R-R-L-L-R  -  R-L

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