What's the Next Step?

top drummer

New member
Recently I've come to a point in my drumming where I'm feeling stuck in a rut. I believe that I've achieved some level above beginner through regular daily excersises including things like technique, independance and grooving - I'm not saying that I've mastered drums like the great drummers.
The problem is that whereas some time ago I've always felt that I am improving now I don't feel that anymore, I feel more like I've reached a plateau and don't know what to do to develep further.
I've been thinking about seeing some private teachers but the problem is that I don't know about any teachers in my areas.
Any ideas what to do besides giving up would be great :)


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Why not develop as a musician not a drummer? you can be the best drummer technique wise n all that, but if you are always in your own lil world (and i'm not saying you ever are or were, don't get me wrong). What i'm trying to say is, be a drummer that everyone would die to play with you all different kind of styles.

I hope that helped you in whatever way.


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Try learning a new style like jazz or something. it will open up a whole new world of creativity. trust me :lol:


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i agree with "smooth"

maybe you should try developing your skills in other areas of drumming...say your just a punk drummer...you might want to branch out into like funk drumming or jazz drumming. and when you have branched out and become comfortable with the other styles...if you go back to your orignal style you will see a big improvement. it really helped me get the creative juices goin!!


New member
Same as the other guys said, cross train in different music styles.
If you're not in a band, join one and get involved in the songwriting.
Heck, even watching videos of stuff you don't/didn't do can help (I watch marching/drumline stuff since I never had the opportunity in school).
Check out some tribal stuff, maybe the Japanese Taiko drumming would be something new for you.

Once you do those two things then you will start to find other things you want to learn. Learn those things and incorporate it all into your playing. Eventually you'll get in another rut and you can do the same thing all over and you'll find even more things to learn. The more you learn, the more you'll find new stuff to learn...trust me.

top drummer

New member
I don't see myself not being able to perform various types of music because I jam with a lot of my friends - I'll play blues/funk with one group and jazz/latino standarts with another :)
I think that my problem is that I don't know what to practice to develop my skills further... maybe I should write myself some kind of practice plan?


New member
I agree with the other guys playing other style are a big part of learning new fills and sounds on a kit. If you dont see yourself sitting down to practice another style. Why not take songs you already know or songs you jam on and find new fills or a different beat that could go along with it. Not only will it just give your creative side a new way to make a whole new sound but it will go further in your playing.


New member
Practice all your rudiments, get a rudimentry sheet from guitar center and get them 100% solid, make it so you can read music perfectly, you know, expand your ideas. :roll:


I think I understand what you are saying, you've hit that point that you aren't really playing anything new when you drum and the soul of your playing seems to be lacking. I think if you want to take lessons if you go around your local music shops they should be able to direct you towards teachers that have the experiance of getting poeple like yourself out of the rut they are in. If this isn't possible you might want to take a lesson from many of the great drummers of the world and start by thinking about where you want to take your drumming, if you start practicing without a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve you'll just be wandering around without ever feeling like you've accomplished something and you'll also experiance a much slower rate of improvement. By reaching these goals its likely that with your new abilities you'll more easily stumble across more ideas and encounter less trouble with figuring out where you want to take your drumming.


New member
two things you can do

1. trying playing every thing to a click. youll have more than enough to keep u occupied if u dont already.

2. hybrid your kit and start thinking more melodic. watch some akira jimbo videos and become your own one man band.

the future of drumming lies in hybrid kits, as much as i hate to say it.


New member
top drummer":26qu1aoc said:
The problem is that whereas some time ago I've always felt that I am improving now I don't feel that anymore, I feel more like I've reached a plateau and don't know what to do to develep further.
I think congratulations are in order here, because you're at a really important turning point, and it's a point MANY musicians reach, but relatively few get past it.

You're at the point where you should realize that the next differences will be the subtle ones. Now that you have the basics nailed down, you can focus on the fine points. This is the point where you can take drumming from the level of being just OK, and hone your craft to the point of being exceptional.

The first step was the just that... The FIRST step. So... what comes next?

Dynamics. REALLY study them. I mean REALLY REALLY study them. This is more than just being in balance with the other players around you... this is about getting them to follow you dynamically.

Try this:
The next time you jam with other players, force yourself to play quieter than the rest of them... almost to the point where they drown you out.... BUT, Play with the same feel and intensity that you would play at if you were playing louder. This is REALLY hard to do. No matter what the other players do, be below them in volume, but keep the same feel. (if you can) In essence, FORCE them to come down to your level. You'll make an important discovery here, and I'm not going to reveal what it is... but do try this... you'll be amazed at what you discover. (I repeat... this is a difficult and advanced technique, and do this at practice, not a gig)

There are things you can explore as well... While you're working with dynamics, you can also explore "feel". Experiment with keeping good time with a slightly late snare. Keep the time up, just make that snare a hair late without slowing down the tempo. It's very hard, you'll need a metronome. Then... Make the snare early without speeding up. That's really really hard. And last but not least, as you explore, drop that snare dead-nutz ON the beat. Work on being able to change the feel at will.

Now take your discoveries in Dynamics and Feel, and work on making a pocket out of it. Set up a groove and work on recognizing how a late snare opens the pocket and an early one closes it. Wide and Narrow Pockets that you can control, at will, are going to result in making you a drummer that's in demand.

The point of all this, is that you should realize the importance of a command of the instrument beyond just playing a beat, and yes, there's much more to this than just having flashy chops. In fact, this is a simplistic approach to the instrument. This is about learning how to do more than just play the parts, this is about setting up a pocket and laying down a groove that's a mile wide if you want!

So now that you're grooving in the pocket, add the dynamics you worked on and really command the band. Drive that sucker wherever you want to take it, once you're in command of these concepts, they WILL follow, and you'll be at the first rung of the next level!

These are invisible things that you can't see, or touch, though you can certainly feel them when they're right! I've known a LOT of drummers that have chops galore, and they just feel awful to play with. Too rigid, too mechanical and too contrived are a good way of describing a player that doesn't dig in and learn these concepts, and the drummers that get the work in every town I've been in are rarely the ones with the best chops. The working drummers are the ones with the best feel. Chops are pretty easy, feel is a whole different deal.

So congratulations, you're potentially standing at the edge of greatness. Work on these concepts and you're halfway to the point where faster chops or more independence will actually matter!

top drummer

New member
Flatliner: that is exactly what I'm talking about! :)

Zen_drummer: thank you so much for your advice!! I'm going to work on that (+ I'll still work on my technique).


New member
top drummer":3sf7k22g said:
thank you so much for your advice!! I'm going to work on that (+ I'll still work on my technique).
You're very welcome! Just remember, all the chops in the world won't save you if it feels bad... BUT... if you've got feel AND chops, you're gonna be a monster!


New member
I've recently also tried to work on different thing because I felt that I wasn't developing anymore and one thing that really helped me is to try and work on basic polyrhytms