I’m currently writing a blog post with a guide to buying your first drum kit, however I felt compelled to pause that and write this first.
Enter the Practice Pad…
Any aspiring drummer NEEDS one of these. I find it is often overlooked by younger students (by ‘young’ I mean in terms of drumming years) and sometimes not even thought about at all. A practice pad is the key that unlocks the door to mastery of your sticks. Here are the benefits:
- It’s mobile. Take it on holiday, to school, to college. Take it in the car for when you’re stuck on that morning commute. Take it anywhere that you find you have time to practice but don’t have the opportunity to play a full kit. It is your ‘drum away from your drum kit’.
- It’s quiet. All you can here is stick hitting rubber. Hours of practice will do no harm to your ears, and any innocent bystanders will not be irritated by the usual ‘crash and bang’ they associate with a full kit.
- It’s focussed. No distractions with lots of toms and cymbals in front of you. You get to concentrate on the fundamentals, the building blocks of everything you’ll play on a kit. Technique, sticking patterns and rudiments are our weapons of choice.
- It’s unforgiving. When practicing with a metronome, you will be able to hear every flaw in your playing. With every one of these flaws comes an opportunity to learn. Take it!
- Ranging from anywhere between £5 to £100, although I wouldn’t recommend spending anything over £30. I bought my first and only practice pad in 2001. It has survived countless practice sessions, drum lessons, international tours and holidays… it’s still going strong today.
- Easily integrated into your practice. Simply pop it on top of your snare drum and start warming up. Once the blood is flowing nicely crack on with your drum kit work for a well rounded practice session.
As a final point I’d like to clarify that the practice pad is a tool. It will enable you to develop your control, speed and endurance (among other things). It is not there to replace the drum kit; it is there so you can improve regardless of whether you have access to one. So go get one!