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I've been a self taught drummer for the past 18 years and only a few months ago started getting into drum notation and actually practicing rudiments.

I'm realizing how important these both are to developing great (not only good) drumming skills, however I still believe that if you are not able to transmit your passion and excitement (through confident and relaxed, dynamic playing) to an audience, you will never go far in your drumming career, even if you are a monster in technique.

So I'm curious on what do you practice to develop confidence, relaxation, flow, groove etc?

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    Practice. Then I practice some more. Followed by daily practice. Also, karaoke. When you get on stage (sober!) to do karaoke in front of a bunch of drunk strangers who will often be super judgemental about your singing, it becomes a real good stage fright learning experience. Sitting behind a drum kit after that will feel much more manageable, emotionally speaking. I'm assuming you practice with a click/metronome at least part of the time you practice. If not, definitely do that. – Todd Wilcox Apr 2 '16 at 15:34
  • @ToddWilcox - where did the OP as a vocalist appear from? – Tim Apr 2 '16 at 15:56
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    @Tim As a guitarist, karaoke helped me a huge amount with confidence, stage presence, stage fright, etc. It's like practicing everything about being on stage without having to do load-in, sound check, tuning your guitar, etc. It's focused practice on an important aspect of the gig. Even (or maybe especially) if you can't sing. Again, if you can brave doing the bad singing in front of a bunch of strangers several times in a night, sitting behind the drums at the back of the stage and playing really well will seem easy. – Todd Wilcox Apr 2 '16 at 16:00
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Apart from the obvious practice for and by yourself; get out and play with as many different musos as possible - different instruments, different genres, different styles, different experiences (beginners to seasoned players), different venues (from small cosy clubs to arenas- if you make the chance). You maybe only play one or two styles, so doing these things will broaden the outlook and experience. O.k., you may be the best muso on one gig, the worst on another, but you'll learn a heck of a lot from both ends. And if you're part of quite a rare breed - drummers who can read - the opportunity for gigs other drummers get passed by on will start to come to you. Good luck!

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I play the violin an piano (no drums), but I find that the better I know a piece, the easier it is to play it well in front of people.

If I have practised a piece a great amount, I will generally be less stressed when playing in front of audiences as I know that it probably won't go wrong; there is no reason for it to do so since I have already played it through successfully so many times. Another confidence booster is playing in front of people more often, at small concerts, in front of family etc.

So, first be confident about the piece, both in terms of knowing it well and in terms of feeling good about it. This will allow you to play it well on the day, and once you are over the stress of there being an audience and the chance of it going wrong, you will be able to relax and show your passion for the music itself.

  • I feel it's somewhat different for drummers. They ought to be able to fit in more easily with people playing songs they are unfamiliar with, mainly as they don't have to worry about notes, chords and keys. So any particular piece should be easier for a drummer to perform than other musicians, unless of course, it's rather complex, but that goes for any piece on any instrument. Keeping time and playing sympathetically would be enough to start with. – Tim Apr 3 '16 at 17:17
  • Yep, you're probably right - I have done no drumming – Zac S Apr 4 '16 at 20:20
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Sorry for the late answer - I hope you don't mind. I wholeheartedly agree with Tim's answer; playing with other musicians is undoubtedly the best way to improve. Since you mentioned you are expanding your technical repertoire, I would advice practising the rudiments in a musical context. Try playing beats around the rudiments (for example a simple paradiddle with one hand on ride or hi hat and the other on the snare). I know a lot of drummers who can play great rudiments, but until you are comfortable with getting in and out of a rudiment it has no real use. Ultimately your aim is to incorporate anything new you learn into your musical vocabulary so that you play it as naturally as you play singles etc.

The best way to do this is of course to practice with other musicians as Tim said!

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Practice often and with click-track! Familiarity with the song it's general pattern, fill spots...helps confidence immensly. With confidence anxieties disappear. don't drink to relax, beside all that goes with bad habits I found it destroyed my memory on stage over the ages.

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