I decided to write this post after a very interesting lesson with a student. It was one of those lessons that seemed frustrating at first because the student was not really getting it, but one and a half hours later, he made a discovery. What was it?
DRUMMING TECHNIQUE SIMPLIFIED.
What is this and how is it done?
First, let us look at 3 steps to making a stroke on the drum:
1) Your stick is parallel to the drum surface about at least an inch above the drum with your wrist angled flat. Alternatively, if you prefer to hold your sticks with your thumbs up, then the thumb is on top of the stick parallel to the surface of the drum, again at least an inch above the drum. This can be called the REST POSITION.
2) From the Rest Position, you raise your stick to a desired height to execute the stroke.
3) The stick strikes the drum and you now have the option to stop the stick at the REST POSITION or allow it to rebound up.
With point no.3, why do you have these two options? It is because of the next note you are going to play. Is it a soft note or a loud one? If it is a soft note, you just have to stop the stick at the Rest Position and lightly tap the drum from there. You immediately achieve a stroke with the right sound and texture for a soft note. If this note is instead a loud one, you must then allow the stick to rebound immediately after the previous stroke and then you thrust the stick down again to achieve the right sound and texture for a loud note. Am I making sense?
TIMING OF YOUR STROKE:
The timing of your stroke will depend on two things:
1) Your ability to hear where the stroke should land in relation to the time
2) HOW you prepare for that stroke such that it lands correctly in time.
Point No.1 is extremely crucial. You are a musician and your ears are your greatest weapons. Train your ears to hear the time accurately and it will go miles for your development. Thus, when you make a stroke, you want to know where the stroke should be in the bar and if you can hear it in your mind? This is where practising with a metronome comes in. Verbalizing the stroke aloud with or without actually playing the stroke will also help you determine the accuracy of your timing.
Point No. 2 is the “make-it-or-break-it” in the success of your execution. Once you are able to hear the stroke accurately in your mind, you then want to PREPARE for the stroke in an efficient and relaxed manner, so that the stroke lands right on the money and you physically feel great doing so. Pay attention to how your hands and feet FLOW with the time. Drumming is like a dance – alot of the activity of drumming takes place above the surfaces of the instrument (The late great Freddie Gruber would teach this too). Therefore, if your motions flow well with the time at whichever tempo, you are relaxed, and you are NOT THINKING TOO MUCH BUT RATHER FEELING THAT FLOW THROUGH YOUR BODY, you will always achieve accuracy and consistency in your playing.
In summary, having a GOOD FLOW in your physical motions on the drumset is highly essential to playing well.
To find out more, book a lesson or a couple of lessons with me. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
I hope this article opens up your awareness to the actual simplicity of drumming technique.