Developing Drumming Techniques
This is a very common reason. You don’t always need to be sitting behind a full trap set or using a full-volume snare drum to work on the various hand techniques that are essential for drummers. Often times you just need a simple pad to work on rudiments and repeated movements to develop muscle memory, endurance and strength.
Being restricted to just the pad also keeps you focused while working on your chops. Sitting at a full kit can be distracting when you just need to work on some hand techniques.
Focus on Feel
The defined feel of the stick on a practice pad surface is great for keeping a good sense of feel when working on techniques. This can help get a good feel for dynamics and rebound while practicing. There is some variety in the types of surfaces that you can find on practice pads. Some offer softer surfaces with more rebound, and some offer harder surfaces with less rebound, and there’s plenty of in-between. Some pads are double sided with a softer surface on one side and harder surface on the other. So you have options when it comes to finding the type of feel you want from your practice pad.
Practice Pads Are Portable
This is the great thing about a practice pads, you can take them with you easily. Some practice pads are a little heavier, like if you get one of the larger 12 inch pads made with thick wood and rubber. But there are plenty of smaller portable practice pad options, which makes it easy to haul around in a backpack or drum/cymbal bag. So if you want to be able to practice anywhere, a practice pad is essential.
Practice pads are going to be a much more quiet way to play. You can still hear the tapping of the sticks on the surface of pad, but a practice pad is much more quiet than a snare drum. Of course, there are some practice pads that specifically try to be a little louder, but there are plenty of pads that are designed to be more quiet. So if volume is a concern for you, look more specifically for the softer rubber practice pads or pads that specifically say they are designed to be more quiet.
Using a practice pads is a great way to start warming up for live shows or practice sessions. It can be a good habit to use a practice pad routine before you get behind the drum set. It gives your arms and wrists a chance to warm up, loosen up and get ready for the rigors of playing around the kit. It can also help mentally transition to being in a rhythmic state of mind before you tackle anything from live shows to more complex or challenging practice.
Practice pads are essential for any drummer and will really help you get in that consistent technique work. You’ll really notice a difference on the drum kit as if you consistently get some practice pad time in and work on challenging yourself there first.