Your position will determine the availability of the drum set you primarily use during your contract eg: The Orchestra Drummer uses the theatre drum set, Jazz Quartet Drummer uses the jazz club drum set etc. So if like me you’re The Orchestra Drummer and want to practice, the theatre would need to be free or you would need to use another drummers set (provided they are not using it and the room is not being used for another event.)
On paper this seems simple enough but I want to make this clear, the schedule is not consistent and your practice time will then not be consistent.
For months I tried to make a routine around the cruise schedule and when the rooms were not used for other events. This proved to be more irritating that productive so I decided to change my equation. By excluding the drum set as a part of my routine it forced me to be more creative with the tools I had.
- Practice Pad
- Drum Books
In fact this has actually made my practice a little more productive as now I am forced to really work on my hands and technique. I’ve also found the pay back is much higher when I focus on the pad and then take what I’ve worked on back to the kit.
This new routine has also forced me to create foot exercises without pedal boards which has been really powerful as it isolates the mechanics of your feet without the distraction of the pedal board. Now I am not going to lie and say that I don’t work on stuff on the drum set, but I want you to know there is hope for you when you don’t have access to your kit when you’re on tour or stuck at sea without the option to practice on your kit.
My practice concept atm is a strict focus on fundamentals, listening and creating. To expand, this could mean working with double stroke rolls at a very slow rate, then listening and absorbing a sound and feel i want to develop and then creating my own version of that on the drums.
It’s always a work in progress but one thing I know for sure is all the greats consistently worked on the fundamentals e.g.: technique, time, independence. So that is something I try to be consistent with everyday in some shape or form. Fortunately you can do each of those without the drum set in front of you! It just takes the right attitude and some focus.