Practice Makes Perfect, But...
There’s only one way to make progress at anything in life: practice. If you’ve gotten this far though, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re fully aware of this! However, the amount of practice we put into something is crucial in order to see fast results. The more we practice, and the more progress we notice, the more we will feel the motivation to keep going! Some information has recently been highlighted from a 1993 psychology paper about the amount of time is takes a person to become an expert in anything, proposing that 30,000 hours of applied practice will result in expert knowledge and ability on that topic, field or activity. However, there has been a fair amount of dispute over the theory. Others don’t necessarily disagree with the focus on constant practice, but argue that it depends on the accuracy and quality of that time spent practising. You could be practising your paradiddles all day, but half-hearted, unfocused practice would definitely not produce impressive and satisfying results. You might end up stuck in the rut that many people find themselves in: practising for hours and hours, but finding yourself frustrated and dismayed by your lack of progress, stuck at the same BPM as last time.
Because the quality of your practice time is so vital to your motivation and results, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite drum sticks and practice pads that are suitable for any budget and any ability. Just download a free metronome app on your phone or tablet, and you’re ready to start seeing some impressive results! (Oh, and if you click here, you can find some practice pad exercises to get you started!). Click on the images below for a link to purchase in the UK.
MY TOP 3 FAVOURITE DRUM STICKS
Pro Mark Signature Sticks: Simon Phillips, £11
These sticks were my first pair from the Pro Mark Signature sticks, and I still buy them and love them to this day. They’re very well balanced sticks, a little on the heavier side, but the tips are perfect for rebounds. You’ll love them for practising your double strokes.
Pro Mark Signature Sticks: Neil Peart, £9.12
Well, obviously I bought Neil Peart’s signature sticks! I love them: not to heavy and not to light, tapered tips for lovely buzzes, and a good solid feel. And if you’re well into Rush like me, you MUST buy them!
Vic Firth Signature Series: Vinnie Paul, £12.39
I LOVE these sticks! They’re on the heavy side, what with them being Vinnie Paul’s signature sticks, and are feel great when playing any heavier style of music. I also love that they’re heavy, as they give my hands and wrists are far more effective workout.
Pro Mark Signature Sticks: Benny Greb, £12.88
Pro Mark Signature Sticks: Matt Halpern, £8.44
Pro Mark Signature Sticks: Ian Paice, £9.99
Vic Firth Signature Series: Gavin Harrison, £9.99
GOOD, SOLID BEGINNERS’ BUDGET STICKS!
ic Firth 5a’s, £8.5
Vic Firth 5b’s, £9.68
Pro Mark 5a’s, £10
MY FAVOURITE PRACTICE PADS
Evans Real Feel 12″, £29.40
This is my one and only practice pad these days, although quite pricey. You can find a smaller cheaper 6″ version too, but if you’re a beginner, you might want to practice on a bigger pad while the accuracy and precision in your striking of the pad might not be quite up to scratch yet, and you’re main focus is to hone the technique and evenness of your playing.
Meinl 6″ Pad, £20.75
Great for stick rebound as the pad is solid with not much give, so a nice one for doubles practice.
Vic Firth 6″ Pad, £23.08
This one has a little more give on the surface and if you’ve already got your doubles BPM up to speed, this pad is great for the next level, making you effectively “try harder”.
Meinl Knee Pad, £19.25
Haven’t got a table or mount at hand to practice? Take this ANYWHERE (although within reason, we need to stop having a bad rep for fidgeting and hitting absolutely anything we can).
Zildjian 6″ Pad, £19.99
Pearl 8″ Pad, £26.53
Remo Tuneable 10″ Pad, £24.85
Remo 10″ Silent Stroke Tuneable Pad, £24.09
FOR INSANE PRECISION SKILLZZZZ!
head 3 Zone Pad, £39.95
I don’t have this… yet. Do you like pain? This is the pad for you! My drum teacher always told me to practice on a pillow as there is absolutely no rebound whatsoever, but if you don’t want to assault your pillow, maybe this would be better suited to you.
I want to hear how everyone gets on with their practice, and would be interested to know which gear you use already, so leave a comment or get in touch!