In order to master a given skill, you will need to be able to play it with excellent quality at any tempo.
I will use Flam Accents as a model, but you can follow this general practicing process with any skill (scales, permutations, drumset grooves, hand drum tones and patterns, etc.):
On day one:
- Set a stopwatch/timer for 5 minutes.
- Set the metronome to 36 beats per minute (bpm), subdivided in 3/4 quarter notes with the accent on beat 1.
- Start the metronome; start the stopwatch.
- Practice the exercise for five minutes at the set tempo, playing with perfect heights, rhythm, and interpretation the whole time.
- Repeat at 38 bpm.
- Stretch and repeat at 40 bpm.
- Say “Whoo hoo!” and repeat at 42 bpm.
- Get up and move around the house, knowing that you have just gotten a ton better at whatever you were working on.
On day two, start the process wherever you left off and continue increasing the tempo in two-beat increments. If you follow the model and work 20 minutes a day, you will advance through 6 to 8 bpm a day.
By going through the described process, you will also gain these key skills in your progression as a musician.
- Patience and Focus. To play super slow for this length of time will take all of your focus, and to progress as slow as I recommend will take a lot of patience.
- Tempo Control. You will be learning what it feels like to play exact rhythms, in time, at any tempo.
- Consistency and Muscle Memory. When you play as many perfect repetitions of the skill as you can, you will build muscle memory, quality, and consistency to last a lifetime.