How to Practise Drums Effectively with Only 20 Minutes Each Day

Practising any instrument can be a tedious process, especially when trying to find the extra time to do so. Many people believe that practice has to be hours a day to achieve any tangible results. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Guest blogger Evan Chapman shows how we can utilise 20 minutes a day to effectively practise drums.

Strategy In Mind Behind The Kit

Improving on the drums doesn’t necessarily require hours upon hours each day. In fact, you can make significant progress with just a 20-minute daily practice session, provided you approach it with a strategic mindset. The key is to focus on specific areas that need improvement and to structure your practice time wisely, ensuring that every minute spent is productive.

Feeling Overwhelmed Drummers?

When I first started to incorporate this method into how I approach my practice, I found that a brief but consistent daily practice was more sustainable. It allowed me to stay more engaged behind the drums without feeling overwhelmed by the time commitment. This approach also fits well into a busy schedule, making it possible to keep improving even when life gets hectic.

The Secret Is Building A Habit

To make the most of these short sessions, I prioritise exercises that target my current technical challenges, whether it’s speed, coordination, or dynamics. By honing in on particular skills each day, you can track your progress more effectively and feel a sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering each element. This methodical practice technique also helps to build muscle memory and reinforce good habits, two crucial components for any drummer aiming to improve their craft.

How to Practise Drums Effectively with Only 20 Minutes Each Day

Distractions Are Our Enemy

Before practising drums each day, it’s crucial to have a designated space that’s well-equipped and conducive to focused learning.

Minimising Distractions

I maintain a clutter-free environment to keep my focus sharp during practice. This means:

  • Mobile devices on silent or in another room
  • A door sign to prevent interruptions, if applicable
  • Adequate lighting to reduce strain and ensure I can clearly see my music or exercises (again, this may or may not be applicable).

By preparing my space mindfully, I lay the foundation for an effective 20-minute practice session each day.

Maximising Your 20-Minute Practice

To make the most of a brief 20-minute drum practice session, I focus on concise, targeted exercises. I also make sure there is a mirror in front of me when drumming to ensure proper technique, posture,etc. I record myself as much as possible as well. This disciplined approach ensures constant progression with my drumming chops!

Focused Warm-Up Exercises

I start with a 5-minute warm-up to prepare my muscles and mind. A sequence I frequently use involves:

  • Stick Control: Alternating single strokes (R-L-R-L) at different tempos.
  • Dynamics: Playing consecutive sixteenth notes, accentuating the first of every four to work on control. I also may crescendo and decrescendo to get an extra warm-up!

Adapting warm-ups to my current skill level keeps them challenging and effective.

Technique Drills

The next 5 minutes are dedicated to honing specific techniques. Here’s a brief routine:

  • Paradiddles: A focus on clean execution and evenness between hands.
  • Double Strokes: Developing rebound and overall stick control

I ensure my movements are precise, aiming for consistency. I also try to use specific techniques like the Moeller Method and/or Finger Control technique to ensure optimum efficiency. 

Rhythm and Timing Mastery

In the following 5 minutes, I work on my timekeeping. Activities include:

  • Metronome Practice: Playing along with varying speeds to tighten my timing.
  • Subdivision Exercises: Shifting between quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, and sixteenth notes while maintaining a steady pulse.

Practising these helps me internalise a solid sense of rhythm.

Applying Skills to Music

The final 5 minutes are spent integrating what I’ve practised into actual drumming music. I tackle:

  • Song Sections: Working on a specific part of a song that challenges me.
  • Groove Practice: Playing along to tracks that require the techniques I’ve just practised.

By directly applying techniques to music, I create a practical context for my skills.

How to Practise Drums Effectively with Only 20 Minutes Each Day

Remember, Structure Is Key

One last thing to consider is setting measurable and tangible goals. It’s better to be focusing on a couple different aspects of your drumming over ten different things. A good example could be, “I’m going to increase my paradiddle speed by 12 bpm in a month”. It’s specific, it has a due date, and it’s reasonable. Apply this same framework to set your goals and be sure to set short, medium, and long-term goals.

Transform Your Practice

I hope you can apply these tips to your practice moving forward! When our time is used intentionally, even a minuscule amount goes a long way in long term efforts! How do you structure your drumming practice?

See Also

» Drummers! Build Yourself an Ergonomic Setup
» Independence Exercises for Drummers
» How to Drum Faster
» How to Hold Your Drumsticks
» What are the Four Most Important Drum Rudiments?
» How to Tune Your Drum Kit

Guest Blogger Evan Chapman (Attuned Musician)

Evan Chapman is a drummer and writer with over 20 years of playing experience. He offers tips and creativity tricks to beginner and intermediate drummers and is ultimately trying to help all drummers and musicians find and keep the motivation to practise at

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