This past week I returned to my normal routine of drumming and teaching after a 13 day vacation. It was refreshing, but I had my share of moments where I missed daily drumming. This was the longest break I had since 2008 and the second lengthiest ever. Don't get me wrong, this vacation was my best thus far, definitely beneficial mentally & physically, but I was still excited to get back to the craft.
My first two shows back this past weekend felt great! Two long performances, both 3 hours a piece, most certainly got me back in the swing of things right quick. That being said, I figured I would devote this week's blog to describing some techniques I used to adjust after a lengthy period of not playing.
- Extra stretching mixed with extended roll warm ups. I doubled my normal daily amount of time spent on hand technique. My focus started on repetition of basic patterns: singles, doubles, & the single paradiddle at slow tempos (50 - 70 BPM). I then accented strokes in my current favorite spots & blended in some rebounds. Nothing overly complex, just a nice ease back into playing.
- Vamping on melodies. I always enjoy playing rhythmic melodies after a solid warm up session. Improvising, playing in the moment, etc. No game plan, just creating new ideas or expanding on topics from a previous session. Since I had such a long gap in playing this session was all about spontaneity & creativity.
- The real work. When I’m playing drums in my office it’s normally intense practice sessions. Goof-offs are rare, a focused regimen is the norm. I worked through a few new books from Joel Rothman I recently received in a addition to topics from the newest issues of Modern Drummer & Drum! Magazine. My attitude was I wanted some fresh material to woodshed. Mission accomplished.
- Song review for weekend shows. Had to get in the zone for the upcoming performances so I looked over the song list & ran through some tunes. Felt nice and loose with everything.
- Closing jam. Decided to make some more music to finish it out, kept it loose, but a lot of stuff I worked on from 1-4 crept into the experimentations. Definitely ended on a good note.
Future blogs coming soon will detail my daily playing routines as well as offer tips to help you customize your own. I hope drummers find this blog helpful, as Summer is the time of vacations and chillaxing on regular routines!