By: Winifred Tan
This is a personal insight and guide about being in drum contests. It’s important to prepare, keep focus, and know how to have fun! Even though it’s a competition.
It could take at least 6 months to a year. Especially if it involves mastering a couple of new techniques and develop / heighten your sense of musicality.
- Practise everyday if possible, starting with basic rudiments e.g. George Stone’s book, Alan Dawson’s Rudimental Ritual, or whatever other useful materials that other artists (even in the Collision community) has shared that may be useful for you.
- Then building on breaking down the groove / song / solo that you want to perform in the competition, understanding it completely.
In my 2018’s competition I had mainly 12/8 stuff and in the recent Hit Like a Girl tribute video 2020 (as a past finalist), I further pushed myself in doing polyrhythms, complex shuffles, independence etc., even though I wasn’t competing.
In the process of all of the prep above, it was tough (needless to say) but fun because you find yourself growing more as a drummer, and that sense of satisfaction when you’ve finally GOT that (whatever technique or musicality etc) that you’ve initially aimed to master. Whether or not you end up winning the competition I think by this stage it shouldn’t matter too much anymore because you’ve seen yourself grow so much.
I think part of the prep already needs you to be very determined! If you have got one goal in mind (at least) e.g. to master this song’s true musical style, or to master ALL the techniques in that song, it helps to keep your track although now and then you may feel tired and drift away for a moment.
Even for rudiments, it may be boring after a while but how about increasing the tempo and push beyond your limits, OR dropping the tempo to a very uncomfortable slow speed and challenge yourself if you can do it as consistently as your usual comfortable one.
Really, drums to me is flexible, no matter what genre you’re doing.
How To Have Fun?
Sometimes, just do a random jam around the kit using the basic rudiments is great enough. Or creating your favourite grooves.
Like I mentioned, everything is flexible, we should not limit ourselves to a certain rigid pattern in certain genres and we should instead variate it. In the midst of preparing for competitions and those tribute videos (or whatever cover videos/original songs) I did, sometimes I’ll do some random improvisation to any song I like (usually math rock, instrumental rock or ambient guitar kinda songs) or just try learning new grooves from Drumeo masters and mastering them.
You’ll never know how these new stuff that you’ve mastered or discovered while fiddling with your kit, may end up getting into your song cover, or competition solo / performance item!
If you don’t ever find the fun with playing what you’re playing, then it’s not the point of playing music already, right? ☺
Winifred is an Endorsed Cruise Artist with Collision Drumsticks.
She is a talented drummer that we know and trust. She is a female drummer based in Singapore. She has been playing the drums for the past 7 years, and has studied drums as a private student at the Trinity College Music Examinations offered by London, as well as in local music institutions.
To learn more from Wini herself, here’s how you can get in touch:
Winifred Tan (Wini A.K.A. TinyWini)