Playing the drums is both a physical and mental activity. You need to move your whole body, including your hands, arms, legs and core. Playing the drums also works your brain as you keep the beat and a steady rhythm. Preparing to perform as a drummer means getting both your body and brain ready to go.
Taking the time to physically warm up before you sit down at your drum set is an important exercise in getting prepared for a good performance. When you warm up your muscles it brings them up their temperature and increases your blood flow. This will help your body move more easily, which, in turn, helps you keep rhythm.
Physical Warm-Up Exercises for Drummers
1. Shoulder Blade
Shoulder blade squeezes are a great warm up exercise for drummers. To do these, sit or stand with a straight back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This helps to strengthen your back and open your chest. Start slowly with these and hold for increasingly longer amounts of time.
You will also want to stretch your hands by making a fist. Gripping the fingers tightly and then open them as far as they will go. Do this several times for each hand to strengthen your grip as well as your forearms.
Your shoulders need a lot of flexibility to play the drums. Help warm up your rotator cuffs by holding your arms in front of your with palms facing up. Then roll your shoulders so the palms face in and then out. Begin this rotation slowly and carefully focus on your shoulders.
4. Hips and Legs
Drummers also need flexibility in their hips and legs. Stretching the hip flexors can ensure that your feet and legs are fully engaged in your performance. Sit with the ankle of one leg on the opposite knee and gently press down on the knee of the raised leg. Then switch sides.
You can’t forget about your core. Drummers need strong abs to keep their bodies upright and engaged while playing. Crunches can be a great physical warm-up exercise for drummers.
Mental Warm-Up Exercises for Drummers
1. Practice Your Beat
As an experienced drummer, you probably know the most common drum exercises. You might start on a drum pad just practicing certain beats and rhythms. Start slowly with a particular pattern and keep your body loose. Speed up with the pattern until you feel tension and then back it down again. Running through drum exercises before a performance can help you focus on the task at hand.
Yoga is another part of a drummer’s warm up routine. Gentle yoga and meditation can help focus and clear the mind leading to a better performance. Drummers who use mental warm up exercises can leave other parts of their lives to the side while they are getting ready to perform.
When you join the Bachelor of Arts in Music Education-Instrumental: Brass, Woodwind, Percussion or Strings program at Grand Canyon University you will learn to prepare for all types of performances, including those as a drummer.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.