How to Build Drum Speed, Part 3: Hand Speed

According to the Drumming System (affiliate link), a drum pad is only one surface with one feel. It’s a bouncy type feel that’s great for practicing. On the other hand, a drum set has many surfaces with many types of feels. Speed will allow to move your ideas around the drums with much more ease.

  1. Your drums and cymbals should be within easy reach so that you can get to where you need to get really fast. This will constantly change with time, but you want to make as easy as possible.
  2. Practice moving around the kit as fast as you can with a single stroke roll. Do this until your arms are tired. Try to go for five minutes and you will be sweating. Try to keep an eye on where you’re going so you’re not hitting rims. Ask yourself questions, such as  “where am i hitting?” and  “where i am i going?”
  3. At midnight, when everyone is sleeping, air drum AS LOUD AS YOU CAN. This strengthens you wrists. Remember that if you hit your drums you will wake people up. This is a good warm up, too.
  4. Try to play a single stroke roll on you floor tom only holding the middle of the drum stick. Not only does it feel awkward but you have no convincing balance point. Also, practice using the lock grip in the middle of the floor tom. If you have a high pitched floor tom, detune it low (before it loses its tone) so its soggy.
  5. Finally, practice playing double stroke rolls on your floor tom.

The Drumming System (affiliate link) goes into much more depth about how to improve your speed. This is one subject that most drummers from around the world are very interested in. As with everything in drumming and in life, patience and perseverance go a long way.

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 5

To my knowledge, there is one drumming course out their that is similar to the Drumming System (affiliate link). It is called Learn and Master Drums (affiliate link). After trying both courses, I believe that the Drumming System (affiliate link) is a far better product. This course goes into much more detail than
Learn and Master Drums (affiliate link).

Click here to read my review of Learn and Master Drums (affiliate link). I also did a side by side comparison of both DVD drum set courses. Click here to see how the Drumming System (affiliate link) stacks up.

You might be wondering if the course functions well on it’s own, or if you’ll need the guidance of teacher, additional books, or additional videos? If you are good at self-study and want to learn at your own pace, this is an excellent investment. In fact, if you aren’t good at self-study, please don’t buy this course. You will end up frustrated. It requires an incredible amount of discipline.

Keep in mind that it has a money-back guarantee and offers unlimited lifetime support. If you have any follow up questions, they will do their best to help you out. As a plus, the support department has drummers on staff.

At some point the aid of a drum teacher (affiliate link) will be needed to take your drum skills to a higher level.  I believe that the real time feedback you can get to correct you is something that no video can replace.

In terms of the price of the course, you might be wondering if it’s worth it. After going through the entire course, I firmly believe that it’s priced too low. Initially, I was skeptical. I thought that it was going to be an over-priced, over-marketed product. After watching the first DVD, I was impressed and hooked! I sincerely believe that the Drumming System (affiliate link) is worth a lot more than what they are selling it for.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 4

As a drum teacher, I use the Drumming System (affiliate link) in conjunction with my lessons, but only with certain students. As I’ve said before, it’s not the right tool for everyone. This doesn’t mean that it’s a bad investment. In fact, I believe it was one of the best investments I have made in a drumming educational product.

As a drum teacher, I attempt to cover every aspect of playing the drums in great detail. I also customize the lessons for each student based on their goals and learning style. Regardless, most drum students benefit from supplementary learning material. The beauty of supplementary learning material is that a student might hear or see something I taught them, taught in a different way, and then they master it.  Therefore, with some students, I use the Drumming System (affiliate link) as a supplement to the lessons I teach them.

If I have a student who is very serious about taking their drumming to the highest level possible, I strongly recommend that they purchase it and work with it.  Students who are looking to major in music in college, play drums professionally, and/or teach drums have really benefited from this course. Since the majority of my drum students tend to be hobbyists, I only suggest it if it seemed like a good fit for them. Truthfully, this course is hardcore. If you are currently taking drum lessons, this might a great supplement for you.

On a side note, I gained a great respect for Mike Michalkow as a drummer and a teacher through watching the DVD’s and working out of the books. His approach to teaching drums has given me some fresh ideas for my students.  I was so impressed with him that I’ve actually ordered all of his other courses.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 3

As a professional drummer, I would totally use the Drumming System (affiliate link). In fact, watching it for the purpose of doing this review taught me so much.

It really refreshed me on some fundamentals that I take for granted. It also reminded me about some details that I had forgotten about. As a drum teacher,  it gave me a new ideas on how to approach certain material in my lessons.

I have incorporated the course’s Practice Routine Generator (affiliate link) into my practice routine. In fact, there is an entire DVD dedicated to practice. It emphasized the importance of practice in a fun way and how to go about structuring your practice routine.

The foot technique DVD really explained bass drum technique very well. For years, I have been curious about the slide technique and heel toe technique. Since watching that DVD, I have now incorporated both into my playing. The speed DVD gave me a few tips that have improved my overall speed.

The folk drumming videos really helped me and I felt the rock section was a great review for me. I play rock a lot and it reminded me about the subtle nuances that you need to play in each style. For example, grunge, alternative, heavy metal, and speed metal all require different types of details.

For weeks I had these DVD’s playing on my television. And then one day I actually called Jared Falk, the producer of course. I congratulated him on such an excellent product, but I mentioned it was LONG! He laughed and said, “You didn’t realize what you signed up for when you ordered it, huh?”

In the future, I plan on reviewing it every so often, just to stay on top of the basics. I’ve learned the hard way that as you excel in your drumming, it’s easy to forget certain fundamentals.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 2

I get many emails from people asking me if the Drumming System (affiliate link) would be a good product for someone who is new to the drums. I truly believe that it depends on the person learning.

Knowing what I know now, as a professional drummer and a drum teacher, I had to think about whether or I not this course would lay a strong foundation for me if I were starting drums all over again.

For someone like myself, this would be the perfect course to learn drums with. It would be great for me because I am a self-starter and self-disciplined. I stick with things until I get them.

In reality, not everyone is like this. Therefore, starting out with a course like this could be overwhelming to a beginner. It might even turn them off of playing drums because it’s an incredible amount of material.

If you’re not self-disciplined, I would suggest NOT buying it. It doesn’t mean that I think it is a bad product. Again, it’s meant for someone who is self-disciplined.

Fortunately, the Drumming System (affiliate link) comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee. Most people know whether or not this program is right for them within the first 30 days. Regardless, that guarantee takes away all the risk from you.

The material in the Drumming System (affiliate link) will give a beginner a very well-rounded and solid foundation in drumming. For most people, the pace that Mike Michalkow teaches at is be perfect for learning drums. He discusses the most complex techniques so calmly. thoroughly, and in great detail.

As I remember my early days of learning how to drum, I really struggled with fills. Mike Micahlkow has a very smooth step by step approach to fills. His approach would have helped me so much if I were starting drums all over.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 1

After days of viewing the Drumming System (affiliate link) videos, analyzing what Mike Michalkow was teaching, and trying most of the exercises, I had a lot to say about it. Overall, it’s extremely thorough drum course. The drum course is incredibly detailed. My biggest complaints were that it’s not widely available at local musical stores and it’s not meant for certain types of learners.

No course, class, school, or teacher can cover everything. Regardless, this really covers the fundamentals of playing the drums in great detail. Mike Michalkow is a phenomenal teacher and the way he goes about teaching keeps you engaged. He teaches in a way that creates a relaxed and fun learning atmosphere. If you’ve played drums for any length of time, you know the importance of playing the drums in a relaxed manner. Mike Michalkow naturally helps facilitate this.

Although I didn’t think that any one DVD or subject was better than another, the DVD on drum fills really stands out in my mind. It was really organized. One of things that really impressed me about the drum fills DVD was the fact that you get 150 fills and it covers every skill level.

When it comes to grooves, he goes into very in-depth explanations of how to execute each one. This is extremely important for any student. Being able to play the notes of a beat is one thing, but being able to execute the feel correctly is something else. The rock drumming DVD’s were really well done because they went into the specifics of each style of rock. Learning basic rock beats are great, but it I haven’t found a drumming course that covers folk, alternative, grunge, punk, etc.

For many people, this a perfect course. Although it seems to be advertised as a course for beginners, there is a ton of material for drummers at every skill level. For the price, you can’t beat it.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Become a Studio Drummer and Make Money

Many drummers set the goal of becoming full-time studio drummers. It’s very rare that someone has a full-time job as a professional studio drummer these days. Back in the 1970’s drummers, such as John “JR” Robinson, Steve Gadd, and Jim Keltner were busy drumming for television commercials, television soundtracks, movie soundtracks, and top artists. Studio drumming work is still available, but not nearly as much as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

Nowadays, many professional studio drummers, such as myself, do recording sessions with local artists. Making a good sounding recording is very affordable for a singer/songwriter.

Here are some tips that I picked up from the Drumming System (affiliate link) and mistakes I have made:

  1. Live drumming and studio drumming are two completely different animals. With recording, you can listen back to what you did. There is a final product forever.
  2. Unlike live playing, you’re alone in a silent room.The microphones are highly sensitive (even to an air conditioner in the room or garbage truck outside). If other people are with you, it’s important for them to stay quiet when the microphones are on.
  3. Recording sessions can be full of stress and pressure. There is no time to waste in a studio. Most studios charge by the hour.
  4. It’s important for you to relax. You don’t want to sound rigid and tight. Also, you have to be able to comfortably play along with a click track at a variety of tempos.
  5. Be prepared with your music.
  6. Whether or not you have a top of the line drum set, get brand new heads (top and bottom). If not, it will be a waste of time. Tune your heads perfectly to the style you are playing.
  7. Set up your equipment so microphones can be placed on your drums.
  8. Bring extra muffling, tape, extra drum heads, towels, and drum keys.
  9. Bring an extra snare drum or two. You have no clue what your snare drum will sound like in the studio. Many of the top studios have a whole library of snare drums for you to choose from that include wood, steel, brass, copper, and snare drums of different depths.
  10. Strive for perfection, but be patient with yourself.
  11. Cooperate with the engineer. The engineer is trying to get the best possible drum sound.
  12. Have great attitude and give it your best. A job well done in the studio may lead to you getting more live work from the person that hired you.
  13. Know that as time goes on, you will get better and better at studio drumming.

Be sure to read these additional studio drumming tips.

How to Become a Professional Drummer and Find Jobs, Part 6

The Drumming System (affiliate link) has an entire section dedicated to dealing with drum sound checks. Whether you are performing with your band for the first or 500th time, you’ll have to do a this before you perform. The sound person will meet you hours before your performance to make sure everything sounds good for you, your band members, and the audience.

Here are some tips:

  1. This can take a while and requires patience. In fact, it’s tedious and boring.
  2. Once the sound person arrives, you want to become his or her friend. It’s important to break the ice.
    Sometimes they can be incredibly cool. Sometimes they can be incredibly cruel.
  3. Remember that this person is in control of how you sound.
  4. When your asked to hit a drum, play slow quarter notes until you are told to stop. Don’t show off your chops. Sound checking one drum can take up to 45 minutes. Most good sound people can get a good sound in less than 5 minutes.
  5. Hit the drums as hard as you will in the show.
  6. After finishing one drum, you will be asked to do the same on the next drum.
  7. If there is a problem with the sound of a drum, be prepared to tune it and/or muffle it. Therefore it’s important to have a drum key and muffling on you.
  8. Play as many sounds as possible with your hi hat.
  9. When asked to play the whole kit, play the whole kit! Many drummers play the snare bass and hi hat. Also, keep it simple.
  10. When your sound check is done, you might not be needed for a while.
    This is a good time to warm up on a drum pad.
  11. After the other band members get sound checked, you will have to play as entire band. This is the time to make sure sound levels are good and you can hear everyone. If you need something, ask for it.
  12. In most cases, sound check won’t take that long, but sometimes it will. Again, be patient.

How to Become a Professional Drummer and Find Jobs, Part 5

The Drumming System (affiliate link) has some great tips on working with a band. Working with other people can be a challenge for everyone, regardless of your profession.

When you begin working with a band, realize that this is your new immediate family and group of business partners. Obviously, you want to all get along. Go into any new situation with an open mind.

You are there for one purpose: to play music.

  1. Egos are problem and this can put a halt on things. Leave your ego at the door.
  2. Make sure you have common music and business goals in mind. Don’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do.
  3. If you’re in a band, you don’t have to be friends with the band. Think of it like coworkers. You might not be friends, but work together as a team to get the job done.
  4. Get to rehearsals on time. If you have to bring your own gear, show up early. For me, early is on time. This is a way to show respect for everyone else’s time.
  5. When you’re rehearsing, make sure everyone can hear each other. I make it a point to make sure the bass player and I can hear and see each other clearly. This important on stage as well as in rehearsal.

To sum things up, it’s all about respect (don’t start playing while your guitar player is tuning up). Most importantly, expect to be respected.

I am so grateful that I am a working drummer. As a personal rule, I only work with people I feel good about. I’ve turned down high-paying and high-profile work because of people. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t feel good about the people you are working with, things will end badly in one way or another.

How to Become a Professional Drummer and Find Jobs, Part 4

The Drumming System (affiliate link) has an entire section dedicated to reading drum charts. Your ability to read drum charts is so important. You will become a better musician, get better work, and play better performances if you can read drum charts, you will lay an excellent foundation for becoming a great live musician and great studio musician.

Here are some tips:

  1. Before you can read a drum chart, you have to understand basic drumming notation. The Reading Drummer (affiliate link) by Dave Vose is a great book to help you master drumming notation.
  2. Reading drum music can be challenging and frustrating. The more you do read drum charts, the better you get. (The unwritten rule for anything in life).
  3. Transcribing drum parts will help you read better. Write out drum parts from music that you like, note for note. Not only will this help your reading, but you will get into the mind of great drummers.
  4. Understand that some auditions REQUIRE that you know how to read.
  5. A chart doesn’t always tell you everything that you have to play. It might just indicate a tempo, style, and some dynamic markings.
  6. When you read a drum chart, the first thing you have to do is figure out the roadmap. Where do you start? Where do you end? Is there a coda? Having the ability to understand all of this will improve your reading.
  7. Shows on Broadway and in Las Vegas require reading. If you look in a Broadway pit, you will see music stands in front of every musicians.
  8. Practice with materials such as the Drumming System (affiliate link).  The Drumming System (affiliate link) has over 100 songs in a variety of styles. Each one can be played with or without drums on the track. This allows you to be the drummer in the band and practice reading drum charts.