DAVI D MOTTO

&
STEVE BOWMAN
An Insider’s Guide to Transforming Your
Drumming in Ten Minutes a Day
THE 1O MINUTE
THE 1O MINUTE
Drum Virtuoso
An Insider’s Guide to Transforming Your
Drumming in Ten Minutes a Day
DAVID MOTTO
&
STEVE BOWMAN
Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso: An Insider’s Guide to Transforming Your Drumming in Ten Minutes a Day
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company
All rights reserved.
International copyright secured. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written prior permission
from the publisher.
MOLTO MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY
6244 Outlook Ave
Oakland, CA 94605
www.moltomusic.com
Cover Design: Jane Sheppard
Interior Design: Jill Cooper
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
To every drummer who has wondered
if there was a better way to learn to play the drums
—without all the struggle—
there is, and the secrets in this book will show you how.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | iv
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Contents
Preface viii
Introduction ix
How to Use This Book x
Part I: Secrets to Achieving Your Musical Goals—In a Fraction of the Time 1
Secret 1: Practice Every Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Secret 2: Break It Down. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Secret 3: Have Specific Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Secret 4: Practice Away from Your Drums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Secret 5: Memorize as You Go Along. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Secret 6: Get the Gear You Need. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Secret 7: Narrow Your Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Secret 8: Understand the Form. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Secret 9: Overcome the SAD Syndrome. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Secret 10: Practice the Way You Want to Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Secret 11: Focus on the Solution, not the Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Secret 12: Be Honest With Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Secret 13: Know the Jargon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Secret 14: Get to Know a Song Before You Learn to Play It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Secret 15: Hire a Teacher You Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Secret 16: Set Yourself Up Well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Secret 17: Stay Organized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Secret 18: Be Your Own Teacher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Secret 19: Stay Relaxed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Secret 20: Understand the 80/20 Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Secret 21: Use a Practice Planner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Secret 22: Do Your Homework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Secret 23: Embrace Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Secret 24: Know What Not to Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Contents | v
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part II: Secrets to Mastering Any Song—No Matter How Difficult 26
Secret 25: Slow It Down. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Secret 26: Always Warm Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Secret 27: Begin with the Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Secret 28: Figure Out the Sticking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Secret 29: Improve the Groove . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Secret 30: Tackle the Tough Stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Secret 31: Use a Metronome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Secret 32: Make Your Exercises Interesting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Secret 33: Repeat Your Initial Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Secret 34: Write In Your Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Secret 35: Observe Your Personal Rhythm Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Secret 36: Work on Speed Last . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Secret 37: Increase Your Tempo Gradually. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Secret 38: Always be Expressive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Secret 39: Show Some Emotion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Secret 40: Expand Your Concentration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Secret 41: Work on One Rhythm at a Time. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Secret 42: Change the Tuning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Secret 43: Set Up Practice Loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Secret 44: Work Your Fingers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Secret 45: Overcome the Fear Factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Secret 46: Sightread Every Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Secret 47: Play by Ear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Secret 48: Focus on Physical Comfort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Secret 49: Stretch Out Before You Work Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Secret 50: Practice in Front of a Mirror . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Secret 51: Use a Timer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Secret 52: Know How to Use Your Metronome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Contents | vi
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part III: Secrets to Inspire and Motivate You—Every Time You Play 55
Secret 53: Know Why You’re Practicing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Secret 54: Accentuate the Positive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Secret 55: Understand the Learning Curve. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Secret 56: Reward Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Secret 57: Start with Something Fun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Secret 58: Buy a Drum Set You Love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Secret 59: Make Your Goals Attainable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Secret 60: Blow Off Steam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Secret 61: Play Your Drums, Don’t Work Them. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Secret 62: Create Consequences for Missing Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Secret 63: Schedule Your Practicing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Secret 64: Don’t Get Frustrated. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Secret 65: Notice What You Do Well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Secret 66: Set up a Pleasant Practice Space. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Secret 67: Put Your Practicing First. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Secret 68: Practice Today. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Secret 69: Play Music You Like . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Secret 70: Practice Even if You Don’t Want To. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Secret 71: Practice Whenever You Can . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Secret 72: Commit Yourself to the Long Term. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Secret 73: Do Something Every Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Secret 74: Keep Your Drum Set Where You Can See It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Secret 75: Go Wild . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Secret 76: Get Rid of Practice Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Secret 77: Have Fun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Contents | vii
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part IV: Secrets to Getting Ready for the Stage—And Feeling Comfortable There 81
Secret 78: Visualize the Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Secret 79: Push Beyond Your Target Tempo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Secret 80: Use Your Inner Voice Wisely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Secret 81: Define Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Secret 82: Record Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Secret 83: Keep the Count . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Secret 84: Develop Rituals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Secret 85: Create an Emotional Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Secret 86: Try a Very Long Practice Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Secret 87: Exaggerate Your Intentions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Secret 88: Shoot a Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Secret 89: Tune Out Your Friends and Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Secret 90: Practice for Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Secret 91: Understand Your Nervous Cycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Secret 92: Decide On a Deadline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Secret 93: Transition from Practicing to Performing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Secret 94: Practice Performing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Secret 95: Purposefully Distract Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Secret 96: Make Yourself Uncomfortable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Secret 97: Practice in Your Concert Clothes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Secret 98: Attend Live Performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Secret 99: Ignore Negative Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Secret 100: Turn Off the Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Secret 101: Put on Your Game Face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Conclusion 106
Acknowledgements 107
About the Authors 108
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | viii
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Preface
M
y first adventure in music education came when I took over 35 private drum students in a
long term sub position at a local music store. I hadn’t taught much at that point, and I was concerned
about the challenge. But, it ended up going really well and I discovered that I really enjoyed talking and
writing about music. Showing people how to play the drums helped me to better understand what drummers
actually do, which infuenced not only my teaching but my playing as well.
A couple years afer my time at the store I looked everywhere for a book that might help me with my
drum set grooving. I couldn’t fnd a whole lot of material on the subject. So, I wrote a series of exercises
myself, practiced them, and found that they made a huge improvement in my note spacing and volume
control. Tose exercises would eventually become my frst book, Groove Control.
I’m lucky because I have always liked to practice. But even for a drummer who likes to practice, there have
been occasions when I didn’t have the time to get any work in. And there were other times when I had room
in my schedule but just didn’t feel motivated to sit down and play.
When David approached me about Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso, I was thrilled. First, because I knew we’d
have a good time putting everything together, but also because the concept of the book was so important.
A lack of time and/or inspiration had always been my two biggest stumbling blocks when it came to practice,
and here was a book that took both issues head on! Maybe this book could help a lot of drummers?
One of the reasons this book is so valuable is the sheer amount of tips it gives a drummer. With so many
strategies to choose from, your practice sessions will be more varied and interesting, enabling you to
concentrate with higher energy and for longer amounts of time. Te more ways you can think of to approach
practicing the better, and 101 possibilities assures that you will fnd many ideas you can use.
Ten minutes is key for a couple reasons. One, because our increasingly busy schedules demand that we
reconsider the value of a mere ten minutes. For many people, this relatively small amount of time may
be their only connection to music during a busy stage in their life. Te other reason ten minutes is key is
because it is such a reasonable time commitment. No serious musician can justify taking a day of if they
know they only have to give up 10 minutes of their time.
I am excited to partner with a friend I respect on a project that could make a positive diference in the lives
of many drummers! I hope this book enables you to keep your practicing up and helps you to continue
making progress in your drumming life.
—Steve Bowman
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | ix
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Introduction
I
magine if you could improve your drumming skills to the point where you could play any groove,
feel, or song you wanted. Yes, it’s actually possible. Tere is a path that will take you to this level, and the
steps on this path are in Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso.
Tese steps are not obvious, and they clearly do not resemble the usual picture drummers have of practicing,
which looks something like this:
You lock yourself in a room—alone—for a couple hours a day. While you’re in this room, you tell yourself
everything you’re doing wrong and wonder out loud why it all seems so difcult. Ten, you suddenly come
to a realization: You have to repeat this every day for the next ten years.
Tis is the way most musicians learn their instruments. Unfortunately, it’s the way I learned! It wasn’t until
I was an established professional—performing, doing session work, giving private lessons, and teaching
in a university—that I realized that almost no one knew the best way to learn a musical instrument.
Teachers, students, amateurs, and professionals were all just doing what everyone else was doing whether it
was successful or not.
I decided to do something about this. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding practicing,
learning, and performing music. I went through books, journal articles, and websites. I attended lectures,
presentations, and master classes. I even studied areas outside of music like business efciency, athletic
conditioning, and the psychology of success.
Two results came from all this research. First, I created the Musician’s Practice Planner, a specialized
notebook that helps musicians organize their practicing into manageable parts and clearly defne their goals.
Te Musician’s Practice Planner has gone on to sell tens of thousands of copies worldwide.
Te other result was that I accumulated a huge body of information on what works and what doesn’t work
to master a musical instrument. Over time I’ve turned this raw information into useful strategies that save
musicians hundreds of hours and transform their playing.
To make my approach relevant to drummers, I needed a drum expert. Te obvious choice was Steve Bowman.
I’ve had the good fortune to play with Steve, and he’s an amazing drummer. He’s also a well-respected writer,
thoughtful teacher, and a great guy. Steve took my information and transformed it into specifc strategies for
drummers.
Tese strategies make up the 101 secrets in Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso. And, they must be secrets. If
the strategies were well known, every drummer would already be using them! But, that’s just not the case.
Both Steve and I constantly hear from musicians who tell us they have no idea what to do to get better.
So, here is the information in an accessible, easy-to-read format. Te secrets in Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso
will help you make real improvements in your drumming skills, and you’ll soon be playing songs you never
thought you’d be able to play.
—David Motto
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | x
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
How to Use This Book
T
he Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso is designed to help you improve your playing immediately.
It isn’t intended to be read from cover to cover. Open it up wherever you’d like, and you’ll fnd
something useful.
You’ll beneft most and make the best use of your valuable time by reading just one or two secrets and
applying them today when you play the drums. Te progress you make today will help you decide which
secret to read and try out next.
Tough the book is not sequential, it is organized. Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso is broken into four parts,
each dealing with an important topic to help you become a better drummer:
Part I: Secrets to Achieving Your Goals—In a Fraction of the Time
Part II: Secrets to Mastering Any Song—No Matter How Difcult
Part III: Secrets to Inspire and Motivate You—Every Time You Play
Part IV: Secrets to Getting Ready for the Stage—And Feeling Comfortable Tere
You can use this structure to get exactly the guidance you need right away. Part I will help you increase
how quickly and efciently you learn. Part II gives you the nitty-gritty details of exactly what to do in the
practice room. Part III is loaded with strategies to help you get in your ten minutes of drumming today.
Part IV will show you how to be prepared for any performance.
Each part of Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso contains many great pieces of advice, and it can be challenging
to know exactly what to read frst. So, here are several fast track reading sequences to help you:
Are you brand new to playing the drums? ™
Read and apply these secrets, in this exact order: 6, 1, 15, 25, 2, 30, 48, 55, 63, 21, 24.
Been playing for a while and feel you’re not improving? ™
Try this sequence of secrets: 3, 7, 20, 1, 55, 11, 9, 36, 33, 31, 37, 82, 24.
Can’t seem to get motivated to play your drums every day? ™
Use these secrets immediately: 63, 57, 71, 67, 68, 56, 62, 54, 64, 3.
If you don’t see your specifc situation listed here, many more fast track reading sequences are available at
www.moltomusic.com/ten-minute-virtuoso/fast-track-drums.
You have many options for getting the most out of this book. Te main thing is to get started now.
Te sooner you start reading, the sooner you’ll beneft.
No matter how you use Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso, it’s our sincere wish that this book will improve your
drumming and let you enjoy the process of making music.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 1
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part I
Sec rets to Achieving Your Musical Goals
In a Fraction of the Time
You don’t have time to waste when you’re playing music. Te tricks and tips in Part I
give you the secrets of accelerated learning and efcient use of your time. Tese
strategies make the entire process of learning the drums easier and faster than ever
before. You’ll accomplish more—every time you play.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part I: Secrets to Achieving Your Musical Goals—In a Fraction of the Time | 8
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 7
Narrow Your Focus
Fixing one detail at a time
I
ntense focus is the key to making big progress in the practice room. With focus, drummers
make great leaps forward in their abilities. Without focus, many drummers founder.
Try these two important focusing techniques:
Zero in on the exact issue that is making a specifc set of notes difcult to learn. For example, the move 1.
from one drum to another may be the problem. Or, maybe it’s the rhythmic placement of just a couple
of notes that is causing the damage. Don’t play the entire section over and over, hoping that the problem
will fx itself. Instead, slowly play just the specifc area that needs the work. Tis focusing technique will
make an enormous diference in your ability to play accurately. Your intense focus will fx the problem
and create a successful muscle memory.
You can also choose to examine just one limb of your playing at a time. Isolate the ride cymbal pattern of 2.
a tough groove, for example. By taking your feet of the pedals and moving the snare drum stick to your
thigh, you can isolate the cymbal pattern even as you continue the physical coordination required when
everything is happening. Likewise, the cymbal part can be muted on the thigh to isolate the snare drum
part—in case you want to fne tune your ghost notes, for example.
Sometimes you will need to think globally, paying attention to all aspects of a song. But, acting locally by
intensely concentrating on a single aspect of your playing—while not worrying about anything else—is a
tremendous way to fx subtle musical issues and propel your drumming forward.
What’s great about fxing only one thing at a time is how good it feels to fnally conquer that small area of
your music that’s really been bothering you. You’ll feel proud of yourself, and you can make the fx in just a
few minutes.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part I: Secrets to Achieving Your Musical Goals—In a Fraction of the Time | 10
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 9
Overcome the SAD Syndrome
Eliminating the all-time, worst-ever habit of musicians
N
early one-hundred percent of drummers make an enormous mistake every time they practice.
Tis mistake is like an infectious plague that has spread through the musical community. It’s called the
SAD Syndrome. SAD stands for Stop And Do-it-again. Here’s how it works:
Musicians start playing at the top and abruptly stop every time they play a wrong note. Tey quickly correct
the note and move on—continuing this pattern until they reach the end of the song. Each interruption
feels almost instinctive, like a refex twitch. During these uncontrolled stops and starts, some musicians
unconsciously blurt out a quick “Oh” or “Sorry” or “*%&^#$”!
Let’s look at this process from your muscles’ point of view. Your muscles learn that stopping in the middle
of a page is normal. Tey also learn that stumbling through incorrect notes is an acceptable way to play.
Finally, they accept that a wrong note followed by a corrected note is a perfectly reasonable sequence
of activities.
Teaching your muscles mistakes is not an efective way to learn to play drums. If you constantly play a
mistake, stop, and do it again, you’ll never have total confdence in your ability to perform well. Te
SAD Syndrome will prevent you from developing the muscle control needed to play fawlessly. Your habit
of stopping and restarting will cause memory lapses, create stress, and may lead to the paralyzing efects of
stage fright.
Te antidote to the SAD Syndrome is very slow playing. When you go slowly enough, you learn correctly
the frst time you play something new. Tis undoes the dangerous situation of only partially knowing how to
play a song accurately.
Remember, you can’t restart or talk to yourself in front of an audience. Te SAD Syndrome interrupts any
substantial progress in your drum playing. Do everything possible to eliminate it. It’s just sad.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 26
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part II
Sec rets to Mastering Any Song
No Matter How Difficult
In Part II you’ll get the practicing secrets of the world’s most successful musicians.
Tese secrets reveal exactly what to do to be as efective as possible while you’re
playing the drums. Use these strategies during your practice sessions to master new
techniques and quickly learn songs.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part II: Secrets to Mastering Any Song—No Matter How Difficult | 30
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 28
Figure Out the Sticking
Getting your notes in order
“S
tickings” are the order in which you strike your notes. If you choose to play with a single stroke
sticking, you alternate your hands: RLRL, RLRL. A double stroke sticking doubles those notes: RRLL,
RRLL. And a paradiddle makes a combination of single and double strokes: RLRR, LRLL.
Te sticking you choose will afect your drumming in several ways. First, diferent stickings will create a
noticeably diferent feel on the parts you play. Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” for example, has an interesting
16th note snare drum pattern with a unique feel. Unless you realize that this feel is created by using a
paradiddle, your “Peggy Sue” groove will never sound like the original.
Besides changing the feel, stickings also help you play faster patterns. By taking advantage of the bounce in a
double stroke, a drummer can get two hits per arm/wrist motion, which, with practice, can double the speed
you are able to attain.
Stickings can also get you out of jams. Sometimes, you can create a sticking that doubles up one of the sticks
so that the other hand has twice as much time to relocate for the next hit. Tis can come in handy if you
need to get from a foor tom to a crash cymbal in a hurry, or from some sof hi-hat notes to an accented
snare hit.
Lastly, stickings can help you fgure out complex patterns, beats, and rhythms by allowing you to break them
down into a recognizable order. You might not quickly grasp an unfamiliar ride cymbal pattern—until you
realize it’s just a combination of stickings you’ve played many times before.
Stickings are not a technical hurdle to be afraid of. Tey’re a useful tool to celebrate. More than just another
challenging item on your practice list, stickings ofer a quick way to improve your coordination, hand speed,
and overall sound.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part II: Secrets to Mastering Any Song—No Matter How Difficult | 35
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 33
Repeat Your Initial Success
Using repetitions to strengthen your playing
A
fter working diligently on a specifc technique or a section of a song, you’ll taste success for the
frst time. You’ll suddenly be able to play everything correctly! Tis is defnitely cause for celebration
and one of the most rewarding experiences of playing the drums.
At that point, you need to make sure the difcult notes are permanently under your control. Can you play
them again successfully? Don’t stop working afer getting something right only once. You’re not yet ready to
move on.
Instead, it’s time to repeat the music in question over and over. Te minimum number of repetitions to do is
three. Te frst time you played it successfully might have been a fuke. Getting it right twice shows that the
frst time was real. Playing correctly a third time proves you know it.
Successful musicians employ two repetition strategies:
Play a specifc number of repetitions. Play the part in question fve or ten times in a row. Te ultimate 1.
goal is to get it right every time, but shoot for four out of fve (or nine out of ten) being correct. If you’re
unsuccessful playing these repetitions, slow down and keep practicing.
Play for a certain amount of measures. If it is a tough beat, pattern, or groove, make sure you can 2.
complete four measures in a row without stopping. Even better, see if you can add flls and dynamics
without changing the tempo or feel.
If you move on to other material the frst time you play something correctly, you’ll have to come back
tomorrow and learn it all over again. Repetitions cement the music into your muscle memory and save you a
lot of practice time.
Remember this anonymous quote: “Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they
can’t get it wrong.” Even if you’re not a professional drummer, you’ll beneft from using the practice secrets
of the pros.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 55
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part III
Sec rets to Inspire and Motivate You
Every Time You Play
Te more motivated you are to play drums, the more you’ll learn in a short amount
of time. Part III reveals the most efective strategies for drummers who don’t always
feel they have enough time for their music. Use these secrets to stay inspired, stick to
your plan, and build a success mindset.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part III: Secrets to Inspire and Motivate You—Every Time You Play | 58
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 55
Understand the Learning Curve
It’s normal not to see constant improvement
Y
ou may find it difcult to believe that you’ve forgotten how to play something that was completely
playable just a couple days ago. Not seeing day-to-day progress can be frustrating.
Tis frustration comes from misunderstanding the learning curve. Drummers expect the learning curve to
work like this: Once a section of a song is learned, it will only get better, easier, and faster. Every day will be
an improvement on the day before, and progress will always move in a positive direction.
Unfortunately, here’s how the learning curve actually works: You learn something. But, when you return
to it another day, you might have to fgure it all out again. You don’t make any progress at all for days on
end. Ten, one day you have a breakthrough, and you can play it twice as fast. Te day afer that, your
coordination drops a bit.
Tis constant rise and fall in your progress is completely normal. Even if you’re seeing no change in your
abilities for many days in a row, you are getting better. Stay with the program because you will have another
breakthrough. Ten what will happen? You will slip back from that plateau and your learning may be fat
again. Tis will continue over and over, day by day, year afer year.
Human beings do not make constant progress. Te nature of the learning curve is one of the primary reasons
you need to practice drumming every day. You’ll never see the next breakthrough in your playing if you’re
only practicing once a week.
Te learning curve is a lot like a roller coaster. It’s a crazy ride with many ups and downs. As long as you know
and expect this, you can stay calm during the times you don’t feel you’re getting any better. Te improvement
is coming! Just keep working.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part III: Secrets to Inspire and Motivate You—Every Time You Play | 79
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 76
Get Rid of Practice Barriers
Eliminating roadblocks in your life
S
o many drummers place barriers between themselves and playing their instruments that they never
get around to practicing. Others only squeeze in one practice session every week or two. Imagine how
much more fun you would have if you played drums regularly. You’d improve faster and never feel guilty
about not playing.
Make it easy to start practicing. Don’t let physical or mental barriers get in your way. Tese are the most
common roadblocks musicians create:
Not having practicing on your calendar. Put drumming on your calendar like any other important ™
activity.
Keeping your drums in their cases between gigs and band practices. Make your instrument accessible at ™
all times.
Not having a special place where you practice. Choose a specifc spot, even if it’s just a corner in the ™
basement.
Tinking it’s okay to skip today and telling yourself you’ll get back to drumming tomorrow. No you ™
won’t. Play for ten minutes right now!
Not having a plan. Start by choosing one beat, rudiment, or concept you want to learn. ™
Having a goal that is impossible to reach so you’re always frustrated. You need a short-term goal that you ™
can achieve this week. Little goals eventually build into your big goal.
Not being able to make noise in your house or apartment. Do whatever it takes so you can play. ™
Practice on pads or with headphones on an electronic set. Or, you could even soundproof a room.
Tinking that all conditions must be perfect—the house to yourself, an afernoon totally free, feeling ™
excited to play—before you can start. Just start. Life is never perfect.
How many of these barriers do you have in your life? It’s time to make some changes so you can easily and
comfortably play the drums every day.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 81
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Part IV
Sec rets to Getting Ready for the Stage
And Feeling Comfortable There
At a certain point in your practicing, you need to switch gears to prepare for a
performance. Included in Part IV are the insider secrets that move you from the
practice room to the performance venue. By following these strategies, you’ll be ready
to play in front of any audience.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part IV: Secrets to Getting Ready for the Stage—And Feeling Comfortable There | 83
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 79
Push Beyond Your Target Tempo
Making performing easier than practicing
E
very difficult beat or pattern has a performance tempo—a target you want to hit. Afer days or
weeks of work, you will fnally reach it. At that point, you’ll need a new goal: the ability to keep your
playing consistent at your target tempo, despite any stops, starts, flls or break-downs in the arrangement.
It’s one thing to work up to this tempo in your practice room. But, it’s quite another to have the poise and
confdence needed to play at this speed onstage.
If you’ve been diligently practicing and have just barely gotten your parts up to speed, you are not yet ready
to perform. You never want your performance to be at the very peak of your abilities, a level of drumming
that you only sometimes achieve. You need to be in your comfort zone onstage, fully in control and ready to
give your all.
To have that control, and to guarantee that you can successfully play at any target tempo onstage, make sure
you can play everything 10% to 20% faster than your performance tempo. If the tempo is 120, try 132 or
even 144. Gaining this extra speed is a great use of your practice time, and this method works best when
tackled a few minutes every day.
Tis technique is called “over-practicing,” and it yields amazing results. By over-practicing, you’ll have the
confdence to succeed on stage. You’ll be able to handle the slightly faster live tempos that ofen occur when
the adrenaline is fowing.
Knowing that your practice room training was more rigorous than the performance itself, you can approach
the stage feeling inspired and ready to play. Te stage environment might even seem downright comfortable.
Imagine how great that will feel.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso Part IV: Secrets to Getting Ready for the Stage—And Feeling Comfortable There | 97
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Secret 93
Transition from Practicing to Performing
Getting ready for the stage
O
nce you can play all the notes for an upcoming concert, the practice room needs to become a
performance preparation room. During this phase, you go from learning to mastery. Mastery means
automatically playing your music from start to fnish.
Tese are virtuoso techniques that will make you a performance master:
Visualization #1: Hear the music in your head and feel yourself playing it. Any difculties during 1.
your visualization will likely be real issues on stage. Make sure you feel comfortable throughout
this visualization.
Visualization #2: Picture yourself playing on stage in front of your audience. Feel calm, cool, and 2.
collected. Know that you are in control!
No Stopping: Play through the music without any pauses whatsoever. Tis may mean initially playing 3.
more slowly than you want. Tat’s okay. You’re working on mastery, not winning a race.
Control Each Section: Be able to play each section of your music—in any order. If the music has 4.
fve sections, try playing each section in random order or backwards order.
Tighten the Transitions: When each section is playable, make sure you can easily transition from one 5.
section to the next. Play the last few bars of one section into the frst few bars of the next section.
Put It All Together: Play sections in order. You don’t have to start by playing the whole piece. 6.
If your music has fve sections, you can play sections 3, 4, and 5, or sections 2, 3, and 4. Try diferent
combinations. Eventually, you’ll easily be able to play the entire song fawlessly!
Tese techniques will give you confdence and prepare you for performance success. Try the last four of these
techniques on separate days. Each builds into the next one. In about a week, you’ll be able to play through
your whole song.
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 106
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Conclusion
Getting the Most from Tis Book
N
ow that you’ve got your game face on, you can stay calm during any practicing, rehearsal, or
performance situation. Te secrets in Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso have given you motivational tools,
efciency ideas, practice room strategies, and performance tricks that allow you to learn any song, master
your instrument, and be the drummer you want to be.
To get the most out of this book and to give yourself the greatest advantage when practicing the drums, use
several of the strategies simultaneously. Imagine how efective you’ll be when you combine the secrets.
For instance, playing a loop (Secret 43) very slowly (Secret 25) with a metronome (Secret 31) while
you record yourself (Secret 82) is an extraordinary use of your time. If, before you do those steps, you
frst do a quick warm-up (Secret 26) and then pause for 30 seconds to visualize yourself playing the loop
perfectly (Secret 78), you’ve just improved your efciency and mastery by a huge factor!
Next Steps
Make sure you keep acquiring musical knowledge. First, keep this book as a handy reference and reminder of
the best ways to master the drums. Return to the motivational secrets in Part III anytime you need some
inspiration, and keep trying out all the strategies.
Second, take advantage of the amazing wealth of books, articles, websites, and blogs written for musicians.
Tere’s a list of recommended reading for you on the Molto Music website at: www.moltomusic.com/
ten-minute-virtuoso/recommended-reading.
Finally, to thank you for reading Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso and for making it all the way to the
conclusion, we want to give you a gif—actually, several gifs. Tese gifs are free, short guidebooks that answer
many questions musicians commonly face. You can download these guidebooks at www.moltomusic.com/
ten-minute-virtuoso/guides.
Te information in Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso and on the Molto Music website will help you learn
efectively and help you have as much fun as possible playing music. Tat’s an efective combination, and we
wish you all the best with playing the drums.
To Your Musical Success!
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 107
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
Acknowledgements
W
henever I’m in a position to thank others for their contributions to my life, it’s always hard to
know when to stop. Te more you think about it the more you realize just how many people have
helped you along. So, in honor of this being a drum instruction book, I would like to single out some of the
great music teachers of my life.
I’d like to thank my frst private teacher, Kerik Kouklis, who introduced me to the world of rudiments.
Brett Cosby, the frst professional player I ever met, who inspired me to try to be a pro myself. Tanks to
Sly Randolph, who showed me loads about feel, note spacing, and touch. John Xepoleas, for teaching me
about drumming, and about friendship and compassion for others, too. Frank Sumares, my college band
director, whom I thank for being kind enough to bust my chops just when I needed them busted.
And, my undying appreciation to longtime drummer/friends John Mader, Peter Libby, and Charlie Stockley,
who have shown me all of the above many times over. In fact, it was John Mader who taught me how to
teach drumming to others, which eventually led to my participation in this very book. Tank you also
to Rudy Tapiro, Leonard Wong, Mr. Sorenson, Mr. Eeds, and all the other teachers I learned from over
the years.
Finally, as always, I’d like to thank the companies that help me in all my musical endeavors: San Francisco
Drum Company, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Aquarian Drumheads, and Heritage Cajons.
—Steve Bowman
T
he Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso would not exist without the help, support, and inspiration of
many talented and creative people. Tank you to:
All of my students for helping me realize the crucial need for the best information on how to master a
musical instrument. Bob Kliger, Chris Saunders, Jim Hogland, Andy Ostwald, and Ric Zappa for the
ongoing discussions about music. Te musicians in Storkzilla for proving that the secrets in this book
really work.
Rajesh Setty, Liz Alexander, Alan Ovson, and Michael Papanek for helping keep the book focused on
readers’ needs. John-Carlos Perea for saying that my teaching put him on a path to winning a Grammy.
Jane Sheppard and Jill Cooper for their creativity and insight. Nick Petrulakis for reading an early version of
this book and giving me his thoughts on writing, publishing, ebooks, and bookstores.
And, to the late Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Tough I never met him, his terrifc book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuf
served as the inspiration for organizing the contents of Te Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso.
—David Motto
The Ten Minute Drum Virtuoso | 108
Copyright © 2012 Molto Music Publishing Company | www.moltomusic.com
About the Authors
S
teve Bowman was the original drummer of Counting Crows, performing
on their debut album, August and Everything Afer, which culminated with
Grammy nominations, appearances on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with
David Letterman, and an opening slot on the Rolling Stones’ VooDoo Lounge Tour.
Since that time Steve has continued to tour, record, give private instruction, and
write about drums and drumming. His session work has been heard on many
albums, in several major motion pictures, and in dozens of television shows. He is a
contributor to various music publications and websites as well as a popular blogger at
www.drumforum.org.
In 2006, Steve’s book, Groove Control, was released, and its promotion led to a series
of clinics and master classes, both in person and on Skype. Steve currently lives in
Nashville, TN.
You may contact Steve at steve@stevethedrummer.com.
D
avid Motto is a bass player, writer, and expert on practicing. He is in demand
throughout the U.S. as a speaker on increasing efciency in learning musical
instruments. He has taught private lessons for 25 years and was a member of the music
faculty at San Francisco State University for 12 years.
David is the coauthor of the best-selling Musician’s Practice Planner, author of the
three-volume Essential Sightreading Studies for Electric Bass, and a member of the
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which gives him the privilege of
voting for the Grammy Awards. He lives with his wife in the San Francisco Bay Area.
For more information or to contact David Motto, please visit www.moltomusic.com
and www.davidmotto.com.