Practice Elements

These are the areas that can be developed through practice/exercise.

Effective Practice Plan

Niels Myrner, in Effective practice plan, lists the following groups of elements:

  1. Independence: This is the study of four way coordination between limbs. It can include basic rock beats, jazz comping phrases, A Funky Primer for the Rock Drummer by Charles Dowd, Time Functioning Patterns by Gary Chaffee, comping exercises from The Art of Bop Drumming by John Riley, Alan Dawson’s eleven ways of interpreting Syncopation by Ted Reed.
  2. Hands: This is the study of stick control. It can include hand technique, rudiments, Stick Control by George Stone, Syncopation by Ted Reed, fills, snare drum solos, jazz solo phrases, solo exercises from The Art of Bop Drumming, Alan Dawson’s triplet roll exercises and Rudimental Ritual.
  3. Repertoire: This is the study of musical performance. It can include popular songs, music for school band, solo transcriptions, compositions, jazz standards.
  4. Rotating: The many aspects of musicianship that contribute to performance. They will include transcription, sight reading, accent studies, dynamics, polyrhythms, time keeping drills, linear patterns, roots rhythms, phrase development, subdivision studies, form keeping exercises, creativity, idea development, target point improvisation, foot technique drills, tuning, specific demands of performance repertoire.


  1. Timing: micro, macro, feel
  2. Dynamics: micro, macro, feel
  3. Physical tension or relaxation
  4. Mental tension or relaxation
  5. Hand technique
  6. Foot technique
  7. Posture
  8. Focus: directed, abstracted, distracted
  9. Musicality: counting or singing, connection to the music
  10. Form: awareness, consistency
  11. If reading: counting, looking ahead
  12. If performing: communication and lock with other musicians


Practice with a mirror. See Anatomy section in Technique page.