Double Your Speed!
Drummers are able to double their speed while staying relaxed by combining wrist and finger strokes. In this video lesson I demonstrate an exercise for developing the finger sensitivity and strength necessary for playing smooth double strokes. Pay close attention to the details outlined in this lesson as there are multiple aspects to be considered when working on this exercise. Likewise, watch out for common problems which are also detailed in this video. Double strokes are an extremely effective technique and they are very much worth the effort. Take your time with this advanced concept and practice it daily so you will have nice smooth doubles.
Looking for a fun, challenging and worthwhile beat to work on? The Shuffle is based on triplets, so getting comfortable with triplets first is the way to go. When counting triplets we say: "One And Ah, Two And Ah, Three And Ah, Four And Ah." As with any new rhythm, counting out loud is highly recommended when working on the Shuffle as it helps us to know where we are within the rhythm and where any mistakes are occurring. The first type of Shuffle shown utilizes "Up/Down" technique in both hands which presents a challenge. Take your time and be sure you maintain the steady "Up/Down" on the Hi Hat while working on bass drum placement. I've also included some alternate approaches where the cymbal treatment differs. Have fun and go for it!
Up And Down Strokes/ The Moeller Technique
Up and Down Strokes allow drummers to play dynamically by combining soft notes and loud notes in any sequence. The key concept here is that height equals volume. Therefore a note played from a low height is quiet and one played from high is loud. The difficulty is in combining these two different approaches simultaneously. In this video I outline the technique whereby we play a quiet note low as we lift the stick high to follow with a loud note. This technique is also called the Moeller Technique after Sanford Moeller who described the method after observing drummers who had fought in the American Civil War in the 19th century. As with any new concept be sure to practice it slowly and deliberately so as to avoid bad habits.
Alfred's Drum Method
Studying snare drum technique and rhythmic reading is something I highly recommend. In this video we will take a look at Alfred's Drum Method which is a highly regarded and time tested instruction book for snare drum study. Alfred's Drum Method presents the many aspects of reading rhythmic notation in a step by step way that makes learning easy and fun. Besides rhythmic notation you'll learn counting, rudimental sticking patterns, time signatures, dynamic markings, tempo markings, and how they all come together in a piece of music. Each new concept is presented in a straightforward way that builds upon the previous lesson. Every few pages there is a summary solo which combines all the material present up to that point. Studying the snare drum is directly related to playing the drum set. Everything you learn on the snare drum can be quickly applied to the set by simply spreading the ideas around the drums.
Drumming utilizes the wrists, arms and fingers. In this video I outline Bounce Strokes which use fingers exclusively. As mentioned before, drummers gain power and speed by taking advantage of the natural rebound of the drum. Just like bouncing a ball on the floor takes very little energy to keep it bouncing, drummers can play in a similar way with a minimum of exertion. Notice that the initial stroke is played from the wrist and that all following strokes are played by the fingers. Bounce Strokes are an extension of the Double Stroke which I demonstrated in an earlier video lesson. Instead of playing one finger stroke following the initial wrist stroke, add two or more finger strokes to keep the stick bouncing for as long as you choose.
Flams give drummers the means to thicken up the sound of any given note by adding a grace note alongside the main note. The grace note is played closer to the drum than the main note thereby striking the drum just before the main note producing a fuller sound than just a single note alone. Pay close attention to your stick heights when working on flams: the grace note is low and the main note is high. Likewise be sure that when you finish your flam that you are in position for a flam in the opposite hand. Take your time with this exercise as it is a challenge to keep track of the opposing stick heights.
Rebound Strokes for wrist development are outlined in this video lesson. Much of drumming consists of playing from the wrist while using the natural rebound from the drum. The key component here is to follow the stick with your wrist as it rebounds off the drum. Therefore, having relaxed wrists and grip are very important for this exercise to be effective. The drum can be thought of as a trampoline and so when you strike it the stick will automatically come back off the drum. Drummers use this natural rebound, much like a ball bouncing on the floor, by harnessing this natural energy to play in a relaxed manner.
Mixing Wrist and Finger Strokes
In this brief video I demonstrate combining wrist and finger strokes. In previous videos I described in detail strokes originating from the wrist (Rebound Strokes) and later from the fingers (Doubles and Bounces). Now we want to combine them. Keep in mind that finger strokes work best on tight surfaces like the snare drum, hi-hat, ride cymbal and other surfaces with a similar rebound.
"Drum Roll Please!"
That famous line is spoken just before the high dive act or any other feat of daring. It is commonly known amongst drummers as the Buzz Roll, or Press Roll. The Buzz Roll is really fun and not too difficult, plus it sounds like you're playing a million miles an hour! - but you're not, you're nice and relaxed as I will show. In this video I outline the correct technique and some things to watch out for so that you can play a Buzz Roll that is as smooth as a buzzing bee.
Get A Grip!
Here I describe in detail the matched stick grip, the most popular stick grip used by the vast majority of drummers. Whether you are just starting drum lessons or have been playing drums for years, the stick grip is always a consideration when practicing drums. In this video lesson I bring attention to common problems when first holding the sticks. Watching out for and avoiding these pitfalls will give you a head start when it comes to executing various techniques on the drums.