What are the best ways to build a strong internal clock for drumming?
From time to time I answer drumming and music related questions on the q&a website Quora. This is one of those answers...
Q: I've been playing with a metronome and I have it skip beats when I practice. I just feel that there is more I could be doing to get my internal clock as tight and solid as possible. Do any expert drummers out there have any secret ways or unique to practice keeping better time?”
A: Practicing to a metronome that skips beats is a great idea. Have you tried this with bars? Four bars on, four bars off for example.
A couple of other suggestions...
- Set your click to half time — Playing at 120pm? Set the click to 60bpm.
- Click on different subdivisions — Instead of assuming the click is on the 1, 2, 3, 4 try playing with it on the offbeat (1 e AND a, 2 e AND a etc) or if you're up for a real challenge the 'e' or 'a'. I strongly recommend doing this slowly and something you are very comfortable playing at first. Benny Greb's book The Language Of Drumming has some great exercises to practice in this way.