Most drummers have a constant need and want for extra out of this world speed. Don’t get me wrong, speed is impressive and it’s showy, so I get it. But one thing that always worries me with students is sacrificing technique over speed. In the short term some people with sloppy technique might be able to get small gains, but using the correct technique will reduce injury and maintain efficiency which means long term speed gains.
Let’s talk about movement in general. Any movement we do, we had to learn how to do it slowly at first. To be fully competant in any movement we should be able to execute it slowly and smoothly just like you would if you were going fast.
A good analogy of this is learning to drive a car. I remember learning to drive in an empty carpark when no one was around and I think the first few tries I never got out of 2nd gear. This was in a controlled environment where I could learn to brake, steer and handle the car.
We have to master movement with control as that gives the brain the time to process information and allow the muscle memory to absorb the movement. Once that “software” is installed, then you can add speed and update the “software.” However, if you go with speed first then you never get the efficent software from the beginning.
The main reasons to practice slowly are:
- Enhance muscle memory and motor learning
- Expose movement flaws and faults in a slow and controlled environment
So when you’re practicing drums or any musical instrument for that matter – start off slow and controlled. Focus on the correct technique and if you have a reputable teacher they should be emphasising this in lessons.
Speed is a direct side affect of control NOT the other way around.