How To Build Your Chops FAST!

How To Build Your Chops FAST!

Build Your Chops article by Anthony Huerta

This blog post is all about How To Build Your Chops FAST!  Now, I get a lot of questions on how to build your chops but not only build them, but how to "Build Chops Fast".  There isn't much reliable information out there on how to build your chops.   Here at, we not only talk about how to build your chops in the marching percussion activity, we give you ACTUAL methods that work.  Here's a post to help build your chops super FAST!  It's way easier to build your drum chops faster than you think too. Here are 3 easy ways you can use to build your chops – small changes, HUGE benefits:

How To Build Chops Fast..Read On

This post is gonna offer you 3 ways to build your chops fast, as well as some tips on what to steer clear from.

Discover how to build your chops FASTER than ever before with these simple techniques…

Build Your Chops Tip #1. Start Incorporating Double Stops or Alternate Sticking In All Exercises:

To me, these are the future of warm-ups and exercises because you're using both hands AT THE

build your chops

SAME time.  Here's what your drumline instructor won't tell you (but I will cause you and I are dope like that) –  Single handed exercises ARE DEAD.  It's true.  I mean, well just about dead and not as beneficial to build your chops than you think.  Sure if you're in middle school and barely getting your start in this activity, or are working to better balance your hands, then these exercises are okay. 

But these exercises are HARDLY beneficial to build your chops.  Honestly, these take too long to play and with so much going on in a day, it's hard to find enough time to build your chops, let alone go through a bunch of single handed exercises for rolls, singles, flams, paradiddles, etc.  Single handed exercises hardly do ANYTHING to build your chops.

Do this instead to instantly build your chops:

Take any exercise you play that single handed (ex. one whole measure one hand, followed by the next whole measure one hand).  Instead of playing measure by measure, right hand, left hand, just play the one measure with double stops.  This will better match up your sound  quality from hand to hand. (In this case your left hand). You'll also cut your practice time IN HALF, and you to build your chops faster.  When you're finished, you'll have more time to leave your muscles to relax after chopping out and free you up to do other things you have going on.

Build Your Chops Tip #2. Take your exercises/parts/rudiments SLOW:

I know, I know, you've heard that tons before, but it truly is one of the best ways to play FAST and the more you play FAST the more you're on track to build your chops.  Want the secret that all World Class drummers know and use to play at blazing speeds.  Here it is:  The FASTEST WAY TO BUILD YOUR CHOPS FAST AND DRUM FAST IS TO LEARN HOW TO DEVELOP CONTROL AT A SLOW TEMPO. Period. You'll learn all of your tendecies (in terms of fingers coming off the stick, bad heights, rushing, etc.) and you're fingers/wrist will always look for the most NATURAL way to hold the stick.

Do this instead to build your chops – Work Tempo and Playing Control:

Block out small sets of time in a day no more than 10 mins.  Pick 2 full drumline exercise that work on two different types of rudiments (example, roll exercise and a flam exercise, or a single exercise and a paradiddle exercise.)  No matter what tempo is issued to start playing it, you're going to take it all the way down.  Start at 60bpm then you'll build from there.  Play the exercise or the rudiments at that tempo.  Here's break down to build your chops:

10 Minutes To Build Your Chops

Example – Build Your Chops Exercise 1 – Rolls

60 bpm – Complete as many times in no more than 2 mins

72 bpm – Complete as many times in no more than 2 mins

84 bpm – Complete as many times in no more than (about a minute in total time)

Example – Build Your Chops Exercise 2 – Flams

60 bpm – Complete as many times in no more than 2 mins

72 bpm – Complete as many times in no more than 2 mins

84 bpm – Complete as many times in no more than (about a minute in total time)

And that's it.  Look, I KNOW IT DOESN'T look it'll build your chops, but you'll be completely surprised at your tendencies and how much you have to adjust to play those controlled exercises.  What's great is you can do this ANYTIME as a control chop building exercise.  Focus on control, evenness and technique.  You'll be surprised how much easier it'll be for you to play at faster tempos.

Practice parts slow, and once you develop control, take it up a notch. For Example you can play your double-beat exercise at 60bpm, after you can develop control and make both hands play alike, take it up 10 bpm to 70bpm. From there just take it up tempo, up tempo and up tempo.  Before you know it you'll be playing at 180 bpm and can't believe how easy it was to build your chops.

Trust me, now, I hardly practice at all much but I can still take rudiments to extreme tempos because NOW i've learned how to truly hold my sticks and MAXIMIZE my playing. This is by FAR the BEST advice I've ever learned, not only personally but to really build your chops.

Build Your Chops Tip #3.  Always practice on a drum: 

Well when possible, you really should consider borrowing a drum or buying your own.  (You can some very inexpensive ones in the drumline store).  Hey, the best way to get better and build up correct chops is to build your chops on an actual drum. I mean really, by practicing control and double-stop exercises on an actual drum really helps you hands to remain

build your chops

consistent.   Steer clear of exercise balls, DRUMMING ON PILLOWS, triple taping sticks, or using any types of cloths over your pad/drums. What's gonna happen is you'll eventually build up the wrong muscle groups in
build your chops

your arms.


It also trains your muscles inconsistently because you're teaching them to work against those variables, not against a regular marching drum head.

Do this instead to build your chops –  Borrow A Drum:

This is by far the easiest and straight forward way to build your chops.  Most high schools, middle school or ensembles will usually
build your chopsbuild your chops

be cool about borrowing an older drum or possibly even purchasing an older drum they don't use often.  It may take a couple of tries but before you know it, you'll be so much happier spending the time on a real drum.  Now if not you're not completely out of luck, you can always use a drum pad however the point of this

tip is to STAY AWAY from dumb "chop builders" like drumming on pillows, drumming on towels or adding weights to your drum sticks.  All these are doing are MAKING IT LONGER TO BUILD YOUR CHOPS.  When in question, use a drum to build your chops.

Look at first, it will feel like forever on your quest to build your chops, but trust me, once you save time working on double handed exercises, develop control playing slow, with a system, and on a drum or pad, you'll build your chops super

Fast Drum Chops

strong and play way blazing fast.

Good luck today, practice smart to build your chops,

Anthony Huerta, DCI-WC HP

If you liked this build your chops post, then check out these posts as well in build chops fast.

P.S. If you ever need any other help with building your chops, you can contact me here at or leave a comment below on how you build your chops.  :)

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