Tempos and Dynamics
Tempos and Dynamics
Sometimes we can fall into a rut when practicing. Just as repetitive practice trains our minds and muscles to remember the things we practice, we can also memorize tempos and dynamics. That’s not a bad thing but we need to vary our practice tempos and dynamics. You may be surprised at how difficult you may find playing a piece of music or exercise, that was easy at your comfortable tempo, at a slower tempo. We sometimes strive to play faster while playing slower it often just as difficult. Playing at a slow tempo helps you to correct defects in your playing that would otherwise go unnoticed. It also trains you to be able to relax and adjust to a tempo that you may be unaccustomed to. You may find yourself in a musical setting where the tempo is not determined by you. In a situation such as that, you will need to adjust to the tempo you are given. Use a metronome when practicing. You should be able to turn the metronome on and play along with it. You should then take it a set further: use the metronome to find the tempo you want to practice. Then turn it off and practice at that tempo. Afterwards, turn the metronome on and see if you were playing at the tempo you initially set. If you find that you sped up or slowed down, then practice adjusting your playing until you can hold the tempo steady without relying on the metronome.
We also tend to memorize playing volume. Many players pick up the sticks day after day and play at the same volume from start to finish. Many players want to play louder, but you will find that by varying your playing volume, you will become a better player. Playing softly requires a lot more control than playing loudly. Having more control translates to more overall control, including when playing loudly. If you are able to play comfortably at a soft volume, you add one more tool to your drummers’ “toolbox” that may give you an edge over another drummer who can only play loudly. So vary your practice volume. Try playing something you are studying softly. Challenge yourself to play it as softly as you can. Being a drummer or percussionist who can play at all volumes puts you in a more musical position. You will be able to interpret a piece of music with more musicality in a more controlled way. You will be able to deliver the performance required of you when the time comes.
Brad Hill is a drum/percussion instructor in Berks County, PA ( Shillington, PA ). Go to Drums1On1.com (Drums 1 on 1) and submit the Contact form for your free consultation to determine the best lesson plan for you. I offer drum lessons and percussion lessons. In person and online lessons available.