DW Smart Practice Kit: A Great Way to Practice Drumming
by: Sarah Borroum
Sometimes, you just don’t have enough space to set up a full drum kit. Maybe you’re traveling, or you moved into a college dorm for your freshman year. It could also be that you want a small, inexpensive set of pads so that you can practice in your bedroom, instead of having to go all the way down to the basement to whale on the actual kit.
Then there are times when you can’t make much noise. Maybe you’re sharing a motel room with the rest of the band, and they’re trying to sleep. If you live with your family, or if you have a baby who needs to nap, you can’t practice on your real drum kit whenever you want. Neighbors, especially those in apartment complexes and other close-quarter setups, don’t appreciate your drums as much as you do, either, in some cases.
When you just can’t squeeze in some practice with your regular kit, DW’s Smart Practice is the ideal setup. This affordable, easy-to-assemble set is portable, durable, and easy to use, giving you everything that you need to stay in fine drumming shape no matter where you happen to be.
The Smart Practice setup consists of four practice pads – two are eight inches, and the other two are ten inches – which screw onto metal arms. You can use a standard drum key to tighten or loosen the arms, which are adjustable. You can move them closer or farther apart and adjust the pads’ angles for ideal setup.
Another great feature is the practice pad for your bass pedal. This way, you can practice your footwork with minimal effort – or noise, for that matter. All of the pads produce a minimal amount of noise, so your family, friends, or neighbors would have to be very, very close to your practice setup to have any complaints about the noise level.
DW’s practice pads are also very responsive. Wooden sticks bounce nicely, giving you a fairly-realistic practice session. The thick, rubberized material is durable, too, holding up to hundreds of hours’ worth of practice.
When you want to take this product on the road, you can bring in the practice-pad arms and collapse the stand. The Smart Practice will easily slide under most beds at this point, or store in the average vehicle’s trunk. You can also stand the kit up in a corner to get it out of the way if you need the floor space for other purposes. DW sells a carrying bag, too, to make travel easier. Also: if you want to add extra accessories, DW sells them. You can, for example, add a practice pedal so that you can rehearse or warm up with both of your feet.
One disadvantage is the fact that the pads, as well as the arms, loosen over time. You’ll need to keep a drum key around to tighten things up periodically. However, this isn’t an inherent flaw or defect: “regular” kits need tightening as well, so drummers should not be surprised to find themselves making these small adjustments on DW’s set.
For the price, and for what DW anticipates you doing with this product, the Smart Practice is an excellent investment. New and advanced drummers alike will get plenty of use from this gear, making it a great buy for most people.