Today we’re here to talk about a serious topic, kids: good drum technique. If you’re not a drummer, you are hereby excused.
Something I’ve noticed a bit of lately when watching local bands: drummers using the ‘wrong’ set of muscles to hit their instrument. Driving everything from the shoulders. I get it. You’re excited and you’re expressing that excitement physically. For many humans, our natural tendency is to move from the core. That’s where movement originates and if you’re really feeling the music, your instrument is an extension of what’s going on inside, right?
The problem with this (besides looking goofy on stage) is in the physical nature of the drums (or really any instrument). You’re using a stick to hit a flat surface. That’s it. Anything you’re doing that is not serving that purpose is probably detracting from it. If you’re using your shoulder muscles to flap your arms at the drums, you are not taking full advantage of the 32+ joints in your arm, particularly those fine motor skills in your hands. Your sound and feel both suffer. There’s an optimal way to hit a drum with a stick, and this is best achieved by using ……………….drum roll……….. the part of your body that is HOLDING the stick.
There are several different main branches of technique to deal with this, but the fundamental one that’s made the biggest difference in my own playing is the free stroke. Click here to see the great teacher Dom Famularo explain it. If you can get a copy, I highly recommend Jojo Mayer’s “Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer” DVD. It describes way more hand technique than you’ll probably ever need, in great detail, breaking down the physics of both the stick movement and the human anatomy.
Or you can just take drum lessons from me and I’ll show you how to do it………