WE ARE BUSY.
There are work deadlines hanging over our heads, commitments with family and friends, and don’t forget that sleeping, eating, and exercising are pretty important. Sometimes it can feel like we just don’t have time to practice our drum technique.
Our success or our failure is determined by two things: 1) how much time we put into practicing, and 2) how efficient our practice is. As busy professionals, we can’t devote hours of each day to pounding away on our drums hoping to gain the skills we need to reach our goals. Maybe you want to learn the beat to your favorite song or join a local band. Regardless of what your goal is, you need to practice, and you need to do it efficiently if you’re going to succeed.
That’s where technology comes in. You may be thinking: why would I use an app to help me practice the drums? I need to use my hands to tap out a beat, not click and swipe on a screen. Friend, we’re not living in the 1970s, so why practice that way? For the past decade, apps have helped to dramatically revolutionize our lives, from ordering food to booking cabs. Why not use them to help learn the drums like you’ve always wanted to?
We at LPM have made this easier for you. Below are five of our favorite drum apps to supplement your lessons and make practicing more meaningful to you!
With a free version and a deluxe $3.99 version, theDrumDictionary is a must have for any drummer looking to practice their beats. The free version has 40 standard snare drum rudiments (striking patterns) and a sampling of some beats that include the whole drum set, not just the snare. There are also short descriptions and practice tips.
In the $3.99 version, the drum set beats number over 100, featuring styles from rock to jazz, world, funk,and punk. You can make lists of your favorite beats and keep track of time spent practicing each beat and rudiment.
Modern Drummer magazine calls this app “a great resource to develop and maintain your beat vocabulary.” This is definitely an app that can help you be more efficient with your practice time.
The Drum Tuning Calculator is not a drum tuner, which a lot of people think it is and get mad when they realize it is not. It can still help you tune your drums to get the perfect sound for every drum in your kit since it's meant to be used in conjunction with the Tune-bot electronic drum tuner, but that costs $99. Here’s how you can make it work for you without the tuner:
After selecting the drum size and desired resonance, pitch adjustment, and whether you want the batter or resonant head pitched higher (or want them the same), the tuning calculator spits out the drum size, octave, note, fundamental, and batter and resonant head pitches. With the octave and note info, you can use another instrument (like keyboard, guitar, or even tone generators online) to find the reference tone you can use to tune your drums.
The app made Modern Drummer’s list of top drum apps, so it’s definitely a must have for drummers looking to move to the next level in their drum playing!
Timing is KEY for any drummer. In fact, Liberty Park Music’s resident drum teacher Brandan Bache believes one of the most important things for any drummer is keeping a solid groove. So it’s no wonder the Pro Metronome app is one of his favorites.
Upgrading to the Pro version gets you access to additional features like polyrhythms, vibrating and flashing beats, programmable playlists, and a rhythm trainer that mutes bars at random or on a scheduled basis to help train your sense of rhythm.
This is one of the most popular apps for any musician and it’s pretty much a must have for any drummer. I use it everytime I practice. Try it out and see why!
Have you ever tried to learn to play a song on drums that was just a little too fast? Or maybe way too fast. I’ve been there and it is NOT fun. The Amazing Slow Downer app makes it easy for you to learn new songs and techniques by letting you slow down the song without changing the pitch. That way you can hear the song slower and dissect the drum part and then play it.
The app allows you to import songs from the music or video library on your phone, or media in your cloud. (iTunes users beware - the app doesn’t work with MP4s purchased through Apple/iTunes.) If you have a Spotify premium account you can also slow down your favorite music from Spotify.
The Amazing Slow Downer is used by LPM’s own Brendan Bache! He loves recommending it to his drum students who want to learn drum parts to their favorite songs.
TEMPO TEMPO TEMPO TEMPO TEMPO - as previously mentioned - is the most important thing for a drummer. Tempo Advance, while not free like Pro Metronome, does give you all the extra features for no extra fee. Get polyrhythms up to 20 beats per measure, subdivisions up to 20 beats per measure and 20 subdivisions per beat, and light flashes on the beat. It also has some cool miscellaneous features, like reference tones for all 12 chromatic notes and visual themes to choose from or create your own.
Probably the most amazing thing about this app is the ability to store tempo, rhythm, and tracker settings in songs and organize those songs into playlists! That cuts down on planning time, making your practice session that much more efficient!
Mike Mangini, drummer for the progressive metal band Dream Theater and DRUM! Magazine’s Drummer of the Year 2013, uses Tempo Advance! You should too!
These five apps will provide you with the skills you need to supplement your drum learning with Liberty Park Music. From honing your tempo to learning your favorite beat to getting the proper pitch on your drums, these apps will have you practicing efficiently and reaching your goals much sooner.
Do you use any of these apps already? Or do you use another app to practice that you just love? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Also look out for subsequent articles from us on how to complement your drum learning!
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About Liberty Park Music
LPM is an online music school. We teach a variety of instruments and styles, including classical and jazz guitar, piano, drums, and music theory. We offer high-quality music lessons designed by accredited teachers from around the world. Our growing database of over 350 lessons come with many features—self-assessments, live chats, quizzes etc. Learn music with LPM, anytime, anywhere!