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Practical Drum Fills and the 3 Types of Practice

Early on in my career I learned the importance of practicing for the gig. How is that different than your other practice? Well, how you approach your practice time isn’t but the material focused on is. Watch the lesson below on a practical drum fill that I’ve used over the years and then read on about the 3 types of practice that I try to regularly engage in.

The Stutter Step

To me, there are 3 types of practicing…

1. Practicing to expand your skills as a player

This is the type of practice that I try to engage in daily. I go in, get a plan together of exercises that I can’t yet play, and then I go about working through them. Not all of these exercises will be immediately used on a gig. Some of them are just for technical facility around the kit, some are working specifically on a weak area, and some of them are just for fun. It’s my hope that I will eventually work this material into my playing on the gig, but that’s not my first concern when growing myself as a musician and player.

2. Practice for the gig

The material for this type of practice comes directly from material I am preparing for a gig or from me preparing for certain playing situations that I know I will be in in the future. I spend a lot of time dissecting other drummers, what they did, and why they did it. I also spend a lot of time working out phrases and grooves that I feel would work in a variety of situations that I will be put in. This is not the time to see how fast I can go around the toms or if I can fit a 5 over 4 polyrhythm into a pop song. This is time for me to polish my playing and prepare for the professional playing situations I will be put in.

3. Practice for review

I usually reserve this type of practice for the end of a practice session or on days where my time is limited and I want to simply get a little time in on the kit. I review things I have previously practiced, work on timing, solidifying my groove, and making sure my hands and feet stay in playing shape. This ensures that the next long practice session I have will start where my last one left off. I hate feeling like my playing has regressed simply because I haven’t touched the drums for a couple of days. This type of practice helps that to not happen as often.

So before you go into your practice session, know what you’re practicing and why you are practicing that particular exercise. It will help you stay motivated and keep a goal in front of you.


-Stephen T.

October lesson schedule

October 1st @ 11:30 am – #106 The Flam – All Levels

October 2nd @ 1:00 pm – #108 Flamming It Up Pt.1 – Intermediate

October 2nd @ 5:00 pm – #480 Mozambique Bell Pattern #3 – Intermediate

October 7th @ 10:00 am – #109 Flamming It Up Pt.2 – Advanced

October 8th @ 11:30 am – #481 Funk Workout #2 – Intermediate

October 9th @ 1:00 pm – #107 Flam with the Rhythmic Scale – All Levels

October 9th @ 5:00 pm – #482 Funk Workout #3 – Intermediate

October 14th @ 10:00 am – #483 Moveable Parts Study 1 – Beginner

October 14th @ 8:00 pm – #484 The Role of a Drummer in a Rehearsal – All Levels

October 14th @ 8:30 pm – Student Reviews

October 15th @ 11:30 am – #485 Mozambique: Adding the Feet – Intermediate

October 16th @ 1:00 pm – #486 Moveable Parts Study 2 – Intermediate

October 16th @ 5:00 pm – #487 Hi-Hat Foot Workout – All Levels

October 21st @ 10:00 am – #488 3 Camps Breakdown – Beginner

October 21st @ 8:00 pm – #489 Hand & Foot Timing Studies 3 – All Levels

October 21st @ 8:30 pm – Student Reviews

October 22nd @ 11:30 am – #490 3 Camps on the Drumset – Beginner

October 23rd @ 1:00 pm – #491 Counting Basic Subdivisions – All Levels

October 23rd @ 5:00 pm – #492 Moveable Parts Study 3 – Advanced

October 28th @ 10:00 am – #493 Mozambique: Full Groove – Advanced

October 28th @ 8:00 pm – #494 “Teen Spirit” Nirvana

October 28th @ 8:30 pm – Student Reviews