Groove is the fundamental pillar of good drumming. A drummer can be super technical or crazy-fast but these skills should always be built upon a bedrock of groove – otherwise, all those fills and beats crumble into a big mess.
Groove takes time to develop and understanding this, that it doesn’t happen overnight, is step 1.
You have to learn to connect with the heartbeat of the music that you’re playing in order to really ‘feel‘ it and lock into the pocket.
One of the ways I do this is by creating a dance within my body. My left leg is nearly always keeping an 8th note count on my heel on the pedal hat, and I tend to nod my head left and right slightly on the downbeat too. Doing this creates an inner sense of groove for me which then translates over to my playing, even when the music is quite complex.
This is of course just one aspect. Within my Progressive Drumming Masterclass, I go into detail on what makes something groove, and the areas you should focus on to improve this within your own playing.
Developing flow is a crucial skill to practice, as it enables you to traverse all kinds of beats and fills with a high level of efficiency and a wide dynamic range.
Again, within the Masterclass, I offer the specific patterns and techniques I personally use to develop my ability to flow, rather than throwing a whole book of rudiments at you – I offer the specific types of patterns that work for me.
If you want to explore this within your own playing, the best way I’ve found to develop flow is to take a handful of patterns/rudiments and practice them as 16th notes (or faster) over a quarter-note metronome, or a song – I enjoy practicing both of these ways. And practice transitioning into combinations of patterns too.
If this is a completely new type of practice for you, then it’s best to start out slower of course. Try stringing together one or two of the patterns you already take for granted and practice keeping a nice consistent run of 16th notes to a metronome. If this feels difficult at first, try in short bursts and allow yourself to recover and begin again.
Also, don’t be afraid or annoyed with mistakes – these things take time to develop and mistakes are a natural part of practice.
I’d love to speak to you in more detail about this if you’re open to learning?
If so, please check out the information here and book a call with me at your convenience: