Developing your Drumming - top tips from Rob Hirons

Rob Hirons is an experienced drummer, teacher and author, who runs the Wizdom Drumshed school in Marseille, France. He teaches and coaches drummers of all levels from relative beginners through to professional players both in his teaching studio and by video conference technology to reach players in other countries. He also performs drum clinics, masterclasses and workshops throughout France as well as further afield in Europe.



He has recently written the book Groove Facility along with drumming legend Dom Famularo. The book is aimed at improving drummers’ sound and groove playing by going back to the beginning and taking a look at the motion management that is required to make the dynamics happen. (Groove drumming is rhythm that moves nicely, with a forward motion, associated with funk and rock.)

It’s all about applying the Moeller technique to modern dynamic drum-set playing - managing accents and ghost notes in the same groove to create forward movement.

Rob’s top tips for developing your drumming

  • Film and record yourself – it really helps, and practice in front of a mirror.

  • Steal things – from other people, look at videos, steal ideas, watch your favourite drummers on YouTube, but adapt things to your own style. Don’t try to sound like another player, develop your own voice.

  • Devote as much time as you can to regular practice and try and do it on acoustic drums. A lot of beginners don’t have a place to play and buy an electronic kit to practice. Electronic kits have come a long way but acoustic drums are the best option for working on your sound.

  • Organize your practice time and set goals, working on a certain exercise for example, keep going at it. Don’t just sit down and play without a plan.

  • Practice what you don’t know and can’t do. It’s always more difficult, more frustrating and needs more discipline. Practicing what you already know is fun and satisfying, but this is maintenance, not improvement.

  • Drummers should always try and play with bands, especially live, that’s where most progress is made. Put yourself under pressure.

  • Kit – see what your favourite players are playing and buy the best you can afford. Good equipment is crucial as you will find out when touring and recording, and cases are really important too.

  • Don’t forget your spares, whether it’s just a small gig, a wedding date or a major festival. You need a change of drumheads, extra sticks, springs clamps etc.

  • Be patient when other musicians in the band are describing what they want from you. Non-drummers might not use the right terms, but they are trying to convey a feeling. People will often ask you to play a fill like such and such in a song they know. It might be something in a completely different tempo or context from the song you’re working on and totally unsuitable, but try to understand that they are really just trying to recreate a certain feeling that they felt in another song.

  • Being in band and touring, you have to have your skills together but so much of it is about human relationships and psychology. It is a challenge to live with other people on the road, and you need to be aware of that. Some people might just have funny morning habits or different temperaments!

Rob works in partnership with Mapex, Sabian, Evans and Vic Firth.