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How to drum faster in 4 easy steps

how to drum faster

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At some stage in your drumming journey, you are going to wonder about how to drum faster. Even if speed isn’t your game, it is likely something you’ll think about. 

It is understandable, as you practice your rudiments, beats, fills etc you work on playing them faster to make playing them at a controlled tempo simpler. 

Sometimes you need to be able to play the drums faster. Genres like metal, extreme metal and black metal demand a higher speed and these parts are built into the songs.

No matter what your reasoning, here is our guide to being able to play the drums faster.

What is included in this guide to playing the drums faster?

This post contains the exercises and advice for you to learn how to drums faster.

These steps are designed to help you improve your limbs at your chosen techniques. In this post, we are going to talk about the pros and cons of particular techniques and which ones we think you should be learning. Ankle vs heel-toe or wrists vs push-pull etc.

This is a structure of how and what you should practice to become a faster drummer. 

Before you get started…

Before you skip ahead to the guide of how to drums faster, make sure you check the following!

What do I need for this how to drum faster guide?

To do the steps below you will need:

  • A surface to play on (pads or kit)
  • Metronome 
  • Stopwatch 
  • Sticks or bass pedal (depending on hands or feet)
  • Approx 15 minutes per limb workout

What should I have decided before I get started?

You need to know:

  • What limb you want to work on (hands or feet)
  • What technique for that limb you are going to use. (Example, wrist technique on the hands)

Final bits

These exercises are designed to burn out the muscles you are wanting to work on. Either do these at the end of your practice session or after warming up.

You can also do this for your hands and then repeat for your feet. We wouldn’t recommend doing one wrist technique followed by another wrist technique.

4 steps to playing the drums faster

1. Endurance exercise (10 minutes)

To gain drumming speed you also need to gain endurance. They go hand in hand. This exercise will help you work on your endurance as we as how accurately you are playing.

The exercise

  • Two bars of straight 8th notes with the right limb
  • Two bars of straight 8th notes with the left limb
  • Two bars of 16th notes with both hands
  • Repeat
learn how to play drums faster with these exercises

For this exercise, you are going to need a metronome. Set the tempo at around 50 bpm below your current maximum tempo and start the exercise. If you want to make the exercise longer, you can start at a slower tempo and do more intervals.

You need to focus on three things whilst doing this exercise:

  • Focus on your timing with even note spacing.
  • Maintain a steady velocity. This isn’t the time to be working on your accents.
  • Ensure you are concentrating on the technique you are trying to improve. If you are trying to increase your wrist speed try and avoid the fingers coming into the motion.

Every two minutes up the tempo by 10 bpm. Repeat this until you can’t maintain the tempo for a prolonged period. Remember, this exercise is about endurance. 

2. Burning out the muscles (5 minutes)

Now that you have worked on your endurance and consistency, now it is time to burn out the muscles. To develop speed you to push the boundaries of what you are currently capable of and then allow your muscles to recover. The more you repeat this process the faster you will get. 

This is essentially the same as what you do when you weight train. You work a muscle to failure, let it recover and repeat the process. 

The exercise

  • 20 seconds on
  • 10 seconds break
  • Repeat 10 times

During the 20 seconds on you want to play 16th notes as fast as you can for the duration without taking a break. There is no need for a metronome as your tempo will slowly reduce as time goes on. This is all about making the muscles burn. 

By the end of the 5 minutes, your muscles should be aching. Not in a sore way just muscle burn.

3. Be consistent

The most important thing when trying to develop speed behind the drum kit is to be consistent. If you only do these exercises a couple of times you will see no difference. 

If you do this for 30 days in a row you will see notable improvements. If you don’t have time to do this every day, try and do it at least 4 times a week.

4. Be patient 

Speed does not come overnight. No technique or practice method will give you instant results. That isn’t the answer anyone wants to hear, especially when you are starting but it is a fact. 

Take your time, put in the effort and enjoy the process.

Final thoughts on how to drum faster

Playing the drums fast is incredibly fun but getting there is a long process. But hopefully, now you should have a good understanding of how to drum faster. These exercises have helped me improve my speed dramatically over the years. Yes, years…

Take these exercises, work on them and be consistent.

And remember! Speed isn’t everything when it comes to drums. Groove, feel and timing is incredibly important. Make sure you don’t leave these behind in your pursuit of speed. 

The author

I’ve been playing the drums for over 15 years and I still love them! I am mostly a metal drummer but I am currently working on groove and applying rudiments to the kit!

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