As a beginner drummer, you might wonder what you’re supposed to do when you first sit down on the kit (click here to read our ‘how to play drums’ mega-guide). Before you get into your practice routine, you should get the blood pumping and the joints and muscles moving.
Why do drummers warm up? Well, if you’re about to play something that requires a high level of physicality (like speed on the bass drum or smooth movement around the drums), your body should be loose and comfortable behind the kit.
Some people call these rudiment burns – and no matter what name you give them, here are four warmups that any beginner drummer should add to their practice routine.
Set your metronome to 60 BPM and start by playing 16th notes on the snare drum. Then move these single strokes around the drums in groups of 4 (on the snare, on the hi-hat, on the different toms) in whatever order you like. Once you’re comfortable with this, add in alternating bass drum (right foot) and hi-hat (left foot).
The goal is to eventually get faster while making sure each note is clear and even. If 60 BPM is too slow (metal drummers, we’re looking at you), you can increase the tempo. If 60 BPM is too fast, reduce the tempo.
With your metronome going, play double strokes on the snare drum. Use the rebound from the drum as much as you can. Start moving the doubles around the kit in groups of two (RR LL RR LL) and in any order (toms, hi-hat, ride, etc.). Finally, add in the alternating feet like you did in the first warmup.
You know the drill now! Start with paradiddles on the snare (RLRR LRLL), then move around the drums before adding in the alternating feet.
Time to mix and match. Play singles, doubles, and single paradiddles around the kit. Whether you do 1 bar or 2 bars of each – or something else – it’s your call.
These are good exercises to set the foundation for improving your speed and endurance. Learning these basic rudiments will help you in any style of drumming!
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