WATCHING, LISTENING AND LEARNING
Listening and watching drummers is just as important as having drum lessons with a good teacher. I was taught by my father who made me practice with a practice pad and bass drum pedal for a year before I even got a kit. This maybe a little old school but it made me concentrate on getting my sticking together and reading all of the rudiments in the Buddy Rich Modern Interpretation of the Snare Drum Rudiments book.
(I recommend this book as a study for the rudiments.)
I learnt the rudiments thoroughly and each rudiment brings a new sticking challenge, all of which are of use to me. I still practice a lot of those strokes and some have made it into my soloing and general playing on gigs.
Listening is an important part of playing as you need to be able to hear a drum part and be able to work it out after a few listens. Whether you stick it or write it out, it’s all good practice and may lead you to transcribing complete songs or solos. This is a good talent to own as often you will get CDs from a band where you will need to transcribe the exact drum part.
Watching drummers on DVD, YouTube, or even better at gigs is a great way to learn. The many teaching DVDs available by top name drummers are all fantastic with multi-angles, PDF transcriptions and slow motion features. These make you feel like you are getting a 1:1 lesson and it is all in your own home and whenever you feel like it. I have a massive collection on video as well as DVD and I often use them for inspiration and enjoyment. These should be inspiring to you and not making you feel inadequate. If they have a negative impact on you then you need to put a little more work into your playing and then return to them with a more positive approach.