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  • Writer's pictureJustin Moore

Speed

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Every musician, especially beginners, all want the same thing in their playing...Speed. How does one gain speed? Let me tell you.



It Takes Time

One thing we have to understand about developing speed in our playing, is that it requires us to strengthen our muscle memory, which takes a long time. Muscle memory is built by repeatedly performing the same motion with any specific muscle, over and over. If you want to be faster, you must consistently perform these repetitions, which takes patience. An important thing to remember when developing muscle memory, is to start as slow as possible, ensuring your technique is solid, before increasing speed. Remember, it's better to play slow and clean, than fast and sloppy.


Walk Then Run

The fastest way to get faster, is to start slow. This may sound counterintuitive, but I assure you this works. Imagine a child who's never walked before is attempting to sprint. How do you imagine this goes for the child? Not well. They trip and fall, of course. Now imagine a beginner drummer is attempting to play "Barracuda" by Heart, without first learning to play double strokes on the kick drum. This beginner drummer is going to immediately trip and fall, just like the previously mentioned child. Start slow, developing solid technique first, then gradually ramp up the tempo. Once the technique is good, the speed will come naturally.


Be Loose With a Tight Setup

The greatest drummers (and for this example, the fastest drummers) all have one thing in common... They are relaxed when they play. Being relaxed is absolutely crucial to playing fast. There are several ways we can become more relaxed in our playing.


The first way is to develop consistent calm breathing while we drum. This can be done by simply focusing on your breathing while playing the drums. Start by playing a very simple beat, while focusing on breathing evenly and consistently. Avoid shallow or held breaths. Once you're breathing properly while playing an easy groove, repeat this exercise playing a slightly more complex beat.


Another way to develop relaxed playing, is to work on proper drumming posture. Sit up tall, with your shoulders relaxed. Be sure to move the sticks using the wrists and fingers, not the arms. The arms are there as a vehicle to transport the wrists and fingers around the kit.


The last thing I'll mention here, is that your kit should be set up ergonomically, so that you can play comfortably, easily reaching every drum and cymbal. If your kit is already at this point, great! If not, all you need to do is experiment with the height and angles of each piece of your kit. You'll know when you find the preferred placement for everything.



Developing speed is going to take time, and lots of it, so be patient and enjoy the journey!



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