Everyone loves when the drummer goes off during a solo or fill that is blazingly fast. Some drummers are just so fast it boggles the mind as to how they achieve those speeds.
The good news is anyone can learn how to drum faster and achieve intense speed by putting in the proper practice time.
In this article we’ll give you some tips and some exercises that will make you a faster drummer.
If you’re brand new to drumming, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide on how to play the drums first.
Now, let’s talk speed…
Tips for Drumming Fast
Before we get into some exercises you can do to improve your drumming speed, it’s important to talk about how to approach things.
These may seem unimportant, but they’re really the cheat codes to quicker movements on the drum set, so don’t sleep on these tips.
If you boil it down, speed isn’t really about moving faster. It’s about building control. That means you have to use everything available to you in the exact way you want.
You need to have control over your movement, your stick technique, your sense of rhythm and the patterns you’re trying to play.
How do you build control? Paradoxically, in the context of speed it’s about slowing everything down to a crawl and paying special attention to everything regarding proper technique.
Start Slow, Be Gradual
That leads directly into the idea of starting off slow – turtle speed slow and gradually increasing your speed as you develop more control over the thing you’re practicing.
When you’re first practicing a section you want to practice it annoyingly slow – even counting out loud as you do it.
Once you think you’ve done it as slow as possible with total control and precision you slowly increase the speed at which you’re playing.
You can use a metronome to help with this – raising it as little as 1-2bpm per increase.
Focus on Precision and Movement Efficiency
While you’re playing slowly and building up your control you want to focus on the precision of your movements.
You want to make all of your movements – from your wrist/finger movement and stick technique to where you strike the drumhead and beyond – precise and exact. And you want to be able to do that without thinking about it.
That’s why it’s important to start slow and increase speed gradually. The more reps you put in, the more control and precision you’ll develop.
Movement efficiency means you’re not moving around nay more than you absolutely need to. That means everything from how high you let the stick bounce to how far you move your arms – you want to only move as much as necessary.
Keep things tight, precise and controlled. Focus on building that and speed will become easier to achieve naturally.
Relax Your Muscles
If you’re holding any tension in your body or limbs when you’re drumming, you’re hampering your ability to play as fast as you can.
That’s why it’s important to stay loose – relax your muscles through stretching and periodically shaking out the tension you’re holding.
Do this while you’re drumming, but also in between drumming sets/sessions with things like massage and yoga.
The more you can relax, the more fluid your movements can be and the more control you’re able to have.
Practice Small Sections
When you’re practicing a song or a fill and want to build up your drumming speed you need to break things into small sections.
Don’t practice everything at once. Break out a small passage/section of the overall piece, and practice that over and over until you’re happy with it.
Then you can take the next small section and get really good at that. Keep doing that until you’ve practiced the entire piece and stringing them together while maintaining speed will be much easier.
Practice With Heavier Sticks
If you regularly play and practice with heavier sticks, lighter drum sticks will feel much different to you when you play with them.
So, when you’re about to play a song that requires speed you can switch to lighter sticks. The feeling of the lighter sticks in itself will probably allow you to increase your speed a little more.
Hand Speed Exercises for Faster Drumming
Here are a couple of exercises you can do to help you master the art of speed drumming.
They may seem basic and boring, but if you put in the effort the payoff will be there.
Remember to start slow, and gradually speed up.
Deviant Noise TOP PICK Recommendation:
Single and Double Stroke Rolls
All you’re doing here is playing a quarter note in each hand over and over again, gradually increasing your speed.
Start at something very slow like 50-60bpm and increase the speed every 4 or 8 bars by 3-5bpm.
For a single stroke roll, alternate the quarter notes in each hand.
For a double stroke roll, play two strokes in each hand before moving to the other hand.
You’ll notice yourself changing how much your arms move and sticks bounce depending on the speed you’re playing at.
Endurance is a huge part of building speed as a drummer. If you can sprint drum for a couple of seconds, but you can’t last through an entire song your speed won’t help you.
So do the following exercise over and over for as long as you can – this one’s not about getting faster, but lasting longer. Remember to gradually increase the speed over time.
- 2 bars of 8th notes in right hand
- 2 bars of 8th notes in left hand
- 2 bars of 16th notes, alternating hands
You just want to repeat that for a long time and build your endurance while still maintaining control and precision.
OK, now comes the “fun” exercise.
In this drum speed exercise you are going to go ALL OUT. You’re going to be drumming 16th notes as fast as you possibly can.
But remember, you need to maintain total control and precision. If you lose control and precision when drumming you’re not able to drum at that speed, so slow it down until you regain total control/precision.
Set a metronome at the speed you think you can handle.
Set a timer for 20 seconds. Hit start and play those fast 16th notes, alternating your hands.
Take a 10 second break, then repeat.
Do this exercise 5-10 times. Tough, right?
Make sure you use a metronome, so you can track your progress in terms of being able to drum faster.
Getting faster at drumming is a skill that requires time and effort. It’s not something that will happen immediately.
You need to build up that speed over time. And it will take a lot of repetition. Repetition builds muscle memory, and speed is a direct result of muscle memory.
Remember you need to focus on your control and your precision. Your technique needs to be on point. Don’t slack here.
If you put in the work you can become a faster drummer than you ever thought possible. Just put in the work.
If you really want to level up your drumming, I highly recommend you use a drum practice/training app like Melodics – you’ll improve your rhythm and groove whether you use electronic/acoustic drums or want to finger drum.
Thanks for reading this post on how to drum faster. I hope it was helpful.