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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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How to Improve Your Drumming Skills

Posted: 15 Jan 2020 08:00 AM PST

It's easy to pick up a pair of drumsticks and start playing the drums, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and practice to improve your drumming skills. In order to do so, start by mastering the basics and creating good practice habits. Don't overlook your health, either! Drums are a physically demanding instrument, so you have to be in good shape to reach your full potential.


[Edit]Mastering the Basics

  1. Take drumming lessons to learn the fundamentals. Find a local music school or drum teacher and sign up for classes to learn the basics. They will be able to teach you the fundamentals and provide you with some starting structure.[1]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • If you can't afford drum lessons or there aren't any available in your area, then you can also find lots of video courses and lessons online for free or much cheaper than in-person lessons.
  2. Learn how to read drum tabs so you can play on your own. Memorize the notes and symbols that correspond to the pieces of your drum kit. This will allow you to sit down and play a song on the drums just by looking at the sheet music.[2]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • You can learn how to read drum sheet music from your teacher or online. It's more memorization than anything.
  3. Master the basic rudiments before you try to develop your own style. Practice and master basic drum rudiments like the single (RLRL LRLR) and double stroke rolls (RRLL LLRR). Other basic rudiments to work on are the paradiddle (LRLL RLRR) and five-stroke roll (2 double strokes and a single stroke).[3]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Incorporate these into your practice routine, even if it feels monotonous, because perfecting your basics is key to helping you play more complex beats.
    • The more you practice these basic rudiments, the more you will build them into your muscle memory so you'll be able to play them without thinking.
  4. Practice playing with a metronome or other timekeeping machine. It is the drummer's responsibility to keep the time of the songs that the band is playing. Use a metronome, drum machine, or click track while you practice to learn how to keep time.[4]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • You can also practice playing along to professionally recorded songs to make learning how to keep time more interesting. Pick some of your favorite band's tracks and play along to them to practice playing in time with them.
  5. Work on strengthening your non-dominant hand. Your dominant hand is normally stronger than your other hand. Use your non-dominant hand to play louder notes and your dominant hand to play softer notes to strengthen your non-dominant hand.[5]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Remember to relax your hands when you hold your sticks.
    • Try flipping your sticks over and playing with the fat ends to play harder, or try using brushes to play softer melodies. This will help your hands and wrists develop to play different styles of music at different volumes and intensities.
    • You can also use special sticks that are heavier than normal when you practice to work on developing and strengthening your hands.
  6. Practice the heel-toe technique to increase your bass drum speed. Raise your heel up from the bass pedal, then throw it down as hard as you can, which will automatically make your toes play a second note. This lets you play fast complex bass drum patterns, such as double stroke rolls, with ease.[6]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Practice this technique slowly at first to build it into your muscle memory, then gradually speed it up. Practice it separately with both your right foot and left foot.
  7. Use 2 bass drum pedals to play more complicated beats. Do this with either 2 pedals on 1 drum, or 2 pedals and 2 bass drums. This is another technique that will allow you to play more complex, faster patterns that are fairly difficult with a single pedal.[7]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Imagine how much harder playing drums would be with just 1 hand. This is how much easier playing complicated bass patterns will be when you can use both feet at the same time.
    • You can use 2 bass pedals with the heel-toe technique to play extremely fast and complicated beats.

[Edit]Creating Good Practice Habits

  1. Set aside at least 1 hour of focused, solo practice time every day. Differentiate between your solo practice sessions and jam sessions. Focus on properly using techniques and on quality rather than quantity in your practice sessions.[8]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • One hour of focused, disciplined, quality practice is better than 4 hours of aimless jamming. It allows you to work on and improve your techniques and practice the rudiments. A jam session, on the other hand, is an opportunity for you to apply the techniques that you have been working on in your practice sessions.
    • Many drummers allocate a lot of time to jamming sessions, but hardly reserve time for focused solo practice sessions. Schedule different times for practice and for jamming to help you concentrate on developing your independent style, manage your speed, and have better control of your feet and sticks.
  2. Set achievable goals for each practice session and keep track of them. Keep a progress journal of your practice sessions and log your goals in it. This will help you keep track of your problem areas and help you move from practicing what you already know to trying out different routines.[9]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, you could set a goal of playing rudiments at different tempos. In 1 practice session you could play a double stroke roll at 185 bpm, and in another at 180 bpm.
    • Your goals can be very simple and don't have to be hard. The important thing is that you have a purpose and focus on practicing specific things in each session so you keep improving every time.
  3. Play on a practice pad to develop better stick control. It's easy to get distracted when you have a complete drum kit in front of you, so a practice pad forces you to focus completely on your stick control. Practice on a pad about half the time to really develop your stick control, speed, and technique.[10]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 10.jpg
    • If you don't have a practice pad, you can use a pillow instead. There is virtually no bounce on a pillow, so it forces you to work even harder and bring the sticks back up with your wrists.
  4. Play with other musicians and ask them to give you feedback. You don't have to be in a band to play with other musicians. Ask any musician friends you have to come jam with you, or just listen to you play and give you feedback.[11]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 11.jpg
    • This is of great importance when you want to go from being a good drummer to a great drummer. Other musicians will give you invaluable tips and feedback that can help you improve and work on your personal style.
    • Make sure to discuss ideas and get creative when you play with other musicians. This will allow you to discover and learn new drumming sounds and styles and develop your individual style.
    • You can also just watch and listen to other drummers play to see how they execute certain techniques.

[Edit]Improving Your Drumming Fitness

  1. Do cardio training exercises to increase your stamina. Go running, swimming, or cycling to improve your endurance for those long drumming sessions. Studies have shown that 90 minutes of intense drumming requires the same stamina as playing a professional soccer game.[12]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 13.jpg
    • Getting in shape will let you play longer and harder, as well as help protect your body from injuries due to excessive playing.
  2. Lift weights to improve your power and reflexes. Weight training will help you get stronger, which lets you play the drums harder. It will also improve your overall coordination and help prevent muscle strain.[13]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 14.jpg
    • Always warm up and stretch before lifting weights, as well as before playing the drums. This will get your blood flowing and help keep your joints and muscles from getting strained.
    • Abdominal and back exercises will help strengthen your core, which is a main support area of your body for drumming. Squats and calf raises will help strengthen your ankles, knees, and hips, which will help you execute bass drumming techniques.
  3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet to increase your energy levels. Avoid eating a lot of fatty, sugary, salty, or processed foods. Eating a balanced diet will help you recover faster after playing the drums, as well as give you more energy and stamina while you play.[14]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 15.jpg
    • High-protein foods like chicken, fish, and eggs, as well as healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil are good things to include in your drummer's diet. Don't forget to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as well, and stay hydrated with water!
  4. Use ankle weights to develop bass drumming speed and control. Wear ankle weights for at least 20 minutes during practice. Practice things like the heel-toe technique and using 2 pedals at once to increase your speed and control with various bass drumming techniques.[15]
    Improve Your Drumming Skills Step 12.jpg
    • When you remove the ankle weights, you will feel like your feet are floating and you will be much more relaxed and at-ease on the pedals.


  • Sit up straight! Bad posture can alter how you play to a great extent. An upright posture ensures better motor control and wrist action.
  • Loosen your body to stay relaxed. A stiff or tense upper body can be detrimental to your performance. A loose upper body will help you play cleaner, faster, and with more ease and flexibility. A good way to stay relaxed is to practice deep breathing while playing. This will slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles.
  • Listen to challenging music from different genres. When you constantly surround yourself with and listen to challenging beats and odd, experimental signature rolls, you begin to subconsciously imagine the technique and play it in your mind. This helps you incorporate them in your own style
  • Practice, or at least be aware of, other genres within drumming. For example, if you only play rock drums, you can listen to and try out something like marching percussion to learn different styles and techniques.


How to Solve a Cryptic Crossword

Posted: 15 Jan 2020 12:00 AM PST

Unlike standard or "New York Times-style" crosswords, cryptic crossword clues almost never have a literal meaning. Instead of reading such a clue to determine its answer, you must carefully decode it in order to reveal the answer. Every cryptic clue contains a definition, wordplay, and an indicator term. After you learn this formula as well as the eight most common cryptic crossword devices, you'll be on your way to solving even the toughest of cryptic crosswords!


[Edit]Identifying the Main Parts of the Clue

  1. Pick out the clue's "definition." Look near the beginning or end of the sentence to determine which word in the clue is the definition. Definitions are almost always located near the beginning or end of the sentence. The clue's definition is very important because it tells you the literal meaning of the answer you are looking for. [1]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Consider the following clue: "Quoted from edict wrongly." "Quoted from" is the definition because it comes at the beginning of the sentence and hints at the clue's answer. The definition is often a synonym of the clue's answer, which is "cited" in this case.
    • When the definition is less obvious, identify the two possibilities then eliminate one by considering the rest of the clue. In "Desire for Japanese money," the definition could be "desire" or "Japanese money." "Japanese money" is the definition and a synonym of "Yen," which is the answer to this particular clue.
    • It is impossible to solve the clue with the definition alone. However, the definition should shape your thinking. Think about synonyms or other descriptive words that relate to your definition once you have found it.
  2. Identify the clue's "wordplay." After identifying the definition, consider the rest of the clue to be wordplay. The clue's wordplay is designed to be misleading, so don't try to interpret the phrase literally. Instead, you'll need to carefully pick through the wordplay to identify the clues, which have been hidden by the puzzle creator, to solve the clue. Cryptic crossword puzzle designers use a number of different "clue devices" or patterns when designing wordplay.[2]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • To solve the clue, you'll need to know what device is being used in the wordplay. That's where the indicator comes into play.
  3. Guess the "indicator term" by memorizing common indicator words. Look at the wordplay portion of the clue to locate the indicator term. This term will help you guess which wordplay device is being used. Once the indicator term has led you to the clue device, you'll be able to apply its rules in order to solve the puzzle.[3]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, within "edict wrongly," "wrongly" is the indicator term. Once you've studied the common clue devices and indicator words, you'll be able to tell right away that this clue is using an anagram!
    • "Wrongly" and other words such as "broken," "confused," etc., indicate that the letters of a word need to be rearranged to reveal the answer, which is how an anagram works.
    • In this case, "wrongly" refers to "edict," so you know you'll need to scramble the letters to reveal a new word. The new word, as we already know, is "cited" which is the answer because it is a synonym for "quoted from," the clue definition. Voila!
    • Before you are ready to start solving clues, you'll need to memorize the common indicator terms and their corresponding clue devices!

[Edit]Creating New Words from Letters Present in the Clue

  1. Rearrange the clue's letters when dealing with anagram clues. Solve an anagram by rearranging the letters of a word to reveal the hint, which, along with the definition, will help you find the clue's answer. As with the previous clue, "edict" becomes "cited" after you shuffle the letters in the wordplay around.[4]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • Spot an anagram by looking for words that indicate change or modifications. Common anagram indicator words include "transfer," "cook," "dress," "out," "off," "moved," or "lost."
    • The words you will need to jumble will be located either directly before or after the indicator word.
    • For example, the following clue is an anagram: "Dress suiting a saint." "Saint" is the definition and "dress suiting a" is the wordplay. "Dress" indicates that this is an anagram because it implies change. Since there are no words preceding "dress," you know that the words that follow it, "suiting a," are the words that need to be rearranged. "Suiting a" can be reshuffled to reveal "Ignatius," a saint!
    • Anagrams are often the longest words in the crossword puzzle.
  2. Join parts of words together to find the answer with charade clues. Charades are formed by joining parts of words from the clue together to create a new word. Charades do not usually have indicator words, but typically contain words such as "has," "with," "and," or similar conjunctions. [5]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • You'll often need to think in terms of synonyms to know which words to join together.
    • For example, in the following clue, "wave cereal bowl," "wave" is the definition. By process of elimination, you know you are working with the words "cereal" and "bowl." If you look for synonyms, you'll get "bran" (for cereal) and "dish" (for bowl). Using the charades method of combining words, you'll get "brandish," which is the answer because it is a synonym of your definition, "wave."
    • In addition to synonyms, you may need to work with word abbreviations in order to solve charade clues. For example, "place on bottom of sack:" "Pl" is the abbreviation for "place" and "under" is a synonym for "on bottom." Combine the two to get "plunder," which also means "sack" (your definition).
  3. Combine letters from different words to answer clues with hidden words. Identify a hidden-words clue by recognizing indicator terms such as "some," "buried in," "held by," or "in part." Scan your sentence for words that can be made by combing the first or last letters from one word with letters from an adjacent word.[6]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, in the clue "Scottish snack offered in disco nearby," your definition is "Scottish snack," the indicator is "offered in," and your wordplay is "disco nearby."
    • The hidden word will always be located in your wordplay phrase, so scan it carefully and consider whether there is a word that can be made by combining parts of "disco nearby" that matches the definition "Scottish snack." You'll find the answer by combining the last three letters of "disco" with the first two letters of "nearby" to make "scone!"

[Edit]De-Coding the Clue's Meaning

  1. Infer the clue's second meaning to solve double definition clues. Look for linking words such as "into," "by," and "and" to spot double definitions. These clues typically don't use indicator words and vary a bit from the standard clue format. Instead of having a definition, wordplay, and indicator, they have two definitions whose meaning points to the same solution.[7]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, consider the clue "expose tactics by removing glove." You know that "expose tactics" is one definition and is joined to the second definition "removing glove" with the connector "by."
    • After reflecting on the meaning of both definitions and trying to assess what they have in common, you'll arrive at the answer: "Show one's hand."
  2. Decipher the clue's riddle when solving a cryptic definition clue. Examine your clue for question marks to identify a cryptic definition clue. With cryptic definition clues, the entirety of the clue is your hint—there's no wordplay section of the clue.[8]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • In the following clue, "Hairstyle with comb in it?" you're looking for a word that captures the entire meaning of the sentence. "Comb" is not meant literally but refers to "honeycomb." The answer is "beehive," which is a hairstyle and relates to the "honeycomb" reference.
  3. Look for words that sound alike to solve homophone clues. Spot a homophone clue by noticing indicator words that refer to sound, such as "heard," "sounds like," "say," or "spoken." Homophones are two words that have different meanings but that sound alike when said aloud, such as "bow" and "beau." Examine the wordplay for potential homophones, making sure to consider synonyms.[9]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, in the clue "Location of vision we hear," "location" is the definition, "we hear" is the indicator, and "vision" is the word that will produce the homophone.
    • You'll need to consider synonyms of the definition ("location") and the wordplay target ("vision") to produce the homophone. In this case, a synonym of "vision" is "sight," which is a homophone of "site" (a synonym of your definition). Therefore, the clue answer is "site"!

[Edit]Re-Ordering Words to Find the Answer

  1. Insert words inside of other words to solve container clues. Look for indicator words such as "within," "around," "in," "inside," and "retain" to identify a container clue. Container clues require inserting either letters or words inside of another to form a new word, which will hint at your answer. As always the words to be combined will be located in the wordplay section of your clue.[10]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, in the clue "Make a change and put me in last," "Make a change" is the definition and "put me in last" is the wordplay. "In" signifies that this is a container clue. Because inserting "me" into "last" doesn't yield any immediate results, you'll need to think in terms of synonyms and abbreviations.
    • When you consider synonyms, you'll discover that "end" is a synonym of "last" and when you insert "me" in the middle of "end" you'll get "emend," which means to "make a change."
    • Look out for indicator clues that also imply a sense of surrounding, such as "astride," "clutching," "eating," "going around," and "protecting."
  2. Spell words backward when working with reversal clues. Notice whether your clue contains any indicator words such as "backfiring," "coming back," "going west," "go around," "spun," or "recalled" to spot reversal clues. These words, which indicate direction, often signify that the answer to your clue will involve spelling a word backward, or in reverse.[11]
    Solve a Cryptic Crossword Step 11.jpg
    • Consider the following clue: "Restrain New York team going west." Following your established procedure, you'll first identify the definition ("restrain"), the wordplay ("New York team), and the indicator ("going west").
    • Using your powers of synonym identification, you'll cleverly deduce that the "Mets" are a New York team and that "Mets" spelled backward gives you "stem." "Stem" is the answer because it is also a synonym of "restrain" (your definition).


  • Regardless of the clue device used, you will need to know common synonyms. Keeping a thesaurus handy as you work to help jog your brain!
  • Pay attention to abbreviations as they are used in many different clue devices! Check the first letter of each word in the clue to see if they spell any common abbreviations.[12]
  • Look up answers when you get stuck. Working backward from the answer is great practice for learning to see clue patterns and common tricks.
  • Consider the number of letters in the answer as you decipher the clue. This will help you eliminate possible answers that don't fit.[13]


[Edit]Quick Summary

How to Apply a Dry Rub to Steak

Posted: 14 Jan 2020 04:00 PM PST

A dry rub is a combination of salt, pepper, sugar, herbs and spices used to flavor meat. Unlike a marinade, the dry rub will form a tasty crust on the exterior of the meat when grilled. If you have a recipe for a dry rub or you've made your own, apply it to your steaks by choosing thick cuts of meat and gently rubbing the spices into the steaks by hand to create a tasty meal for your friends and family to enjoy.


[Edit]Classic Dry Rub

  • 4 tbsp (59.15 g) of brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp (59.15 g) of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp (29.57 g) of coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp (14.79 g) of ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp (9.89 g) of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp (9.89 g) of onion powder
  • 1 tsp (4.93 g) of cumin
  • 1 tsp (4.93 g) of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp (4.93 g) of cayenne pepper

[Edit]Spicy Dry Rub

  • ¼ cup (41.4 g) of smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp (5.33 g) of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp (6 g) of cumin
  • 1 tsp (1.77 g) of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp (41.25 g) of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) of granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (18 g) of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp (6.9 g) of ground black pepper


[Edit]Choosing Steaks and Making the Rub

  1. Choose thick cut steaks. The flavor of very thin steaks can easily be overwhelmed by a dry rub. Choose steaks that are at least thick. Look for cuts of steak that are well marbled with little or no connective tissue. Great choices are ribeye steaks, t-bone steaks, New York strip steak, and sirloin steaks.[1]

    Apply a Dry Rub to Steak Step 1 Version 2.jpg
  2. Put your dry rub ingredients in a container that can be sealed with a lid. Pour all of your dry rub ingredients into a container. Brown sugar, paprika, cumin, onion and garlic powder, mustard powder, chili flakes, cayenne, and thyme are some of the herbs and spices most commonly used in a rub. Add 1 tbsp (15 g) of each ingredient if you're creating a custom recipe.[2]

    • You can also follow one of the included recipes.
  3. Shake up your dry rub to combine the ingredients together. Put a lid on your container and make sure it is sealed. Shake up your rub to combine the spices together. Make sure they are combined evenly.[3]

    • Use a fork to whisk the ingredients together if you are worried they did not get evenly combined.

[Edit]Flavoring and Cooking Your Steaks

  1. Apply a generous amount of rub to each side of the steak with your hands. Work with 1 steak at a time. Grab a generous amount of spice rub from the bowl. Rub it into 1 side of the steak using your fingers. Cover the entire side of the steak evenly. Turn the steak over and apply the rub to the other side as well.[4]

    Apply a Dry Rub to Steak Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • If you have a large cut of meat, use a spoon to sprinkle dry rub over it before rubbing it in instead of taking small handfuls at a time.
  2. Rub dry rub on the sides of the steaks. Pinch a small amount of dry rub in between your fingers. Drop it carefully over the sides 1 steak. Use your fingers to rub the spices into the meat. Make sure all of the steak is covered, leaving no meat untouched. Rub spices onto the sides of the other steaks as well.[5]

    • The more you rub your spices into the steak, the more flavorful it will be.
  3. Let the steaks sit in the fridge for at least 40 minutes or overnight. Depending on how much time you have, let the rub sit on the steak for at least 40 minutes or overnight. 40 minutes will allow the salt from the rub to soak into the meat, while letting it sit overnight will allow the steak to absorb more of the flavor and spice from your rub.[6]

    Apply a Dry Rub to Steak Step 6.jpg
    • Cover the steaks in foil or plastic if you will be leaving it in your fridge overnight.
  4. Cook the steaks until they are to your liking. Use a grill, oven, or pan to cook your steaks. Flip the steaks about halfway through your cook-time to make sure they get evenly cooked throughout. Steaks can be rare, medium-rare, or well-done.[7]

    • Save the rest of your dry rub for up to a month in an airtight container as long as it has not touched raw meat.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Airtight container
  • Spoon (optional)
  • Foil or plastic (optional)


[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

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