Develop crucial timing skills

Hey drummers,

Playing with the click is an ever increasing skill that every drummer needs and it's crucial that we all spend lots of time working on this. But just as important is the ability to keep good time without a machine to guide us.

I have found in the past that I'm playing live and in the studio with a click so much that I've become dependent on it and feel exposed when the click isn't there. When that happened I made a point of going back and practising without a click to build back the confidence in my internal metronome.

I have a Soundcloud profile that has a growing collection of drum practice tools to help with timing and other concepts. The track below is one of these.

It is in six eight time and lasts for eight bars. The first five bars have backing music and a click but the last three are silent. The exercise here is for you to keep playing through the silent bars. When the loop comes back around again you will know if you sped up, slowed down, or maintained perfect timing.

If this is difficult at first, persevere and it will become easier in time. Start be playing a very simple groove through it all. As you become comfortable with it you can become more adventurous with what you play in the gap.