After having mastered these different concepts, take your first lessons
or choose a path.
various ways to hold the sticks
The first catch of sticks must remain very natural. Take the sticks,
rectify if the position is too bad. The match grip also known as of
timbalier because of his symmetry and on account of the convenience is
used whatever the played style. It allows easier displacements on the
drums. In spite of that the traditonnal grip remains very appraisal of
certain jazz drummers, it then gets more sensitivity and the mass
muscular brought into play is more significant what makes it possible
partially to rectify unbalance between the two hands.
The drum when it is played while marching is inclined, the position of the left hand makes
it possible to be put up with the angle of the drum. For the detail of
the behaviour right hand see match grip.
- Let putback the stick in the hollow which form the base of the thumb and the
index. The end of the stick exceeds from 3 to 4 centimetres.
- Place your annular and auricular (small finger) under the stick.
- Pose the stick at the end of your annular (on the last or before
last phalange). The stick in balance is now in the hollow of the thumb
and the index and, on the annular.
- Pass your index and your major above the stick so that the thumb can
touch the index.
- The thumb, the index and the major fingers must pass well above the
rod because it is by them which passes energy necessary to the motion
of the stick.
- The stroke of wrist is given by carrying out the same movement as if
you turn a key in the lock of a door.
Right and left hand
Two ways to play :
- Palm down if the action of the wrist is determining (German school)
- Vertical if the principal actors (French school) are the fingers.
I rather play palm down to play the drums and play more vertical palm
when I use the fingers a lot e.g. for the ride cymbal.
The stick stays in the hollow of the first and the second phalange of
the index and between the fat of the thumb (see the bounce point). All
the other fingers are around the sticks. Keep a gap between the thumb and the index.
The bounce point is the point on the stick which allows a maximum of free bounces.
According to the type of sticks used this one will be ahead or behind
of the third of the stick.
- Hold your hand vertical as if you shaken the hand with somebody
(thumb upwards, palm of the hand on the side).
- The grip: hold the stick between the thumb and the last phalange of
the index on the bounce point of the stick. The thumb must be well on
the same level as the index, neither in front nor behind, if not the
bounce point will not work.
- When the hand is vertical the thumb must be well with the vertical
of the stick for a better control of the bounceand energy.
- The other fingers must be wrapped around the stick. Do not leave
your hand open or do not raise your littlel finger. The stick must be
held firmly but without tightness.
- Initially play palm of the hand on the side. The control of the
thumb and the fingers is finer, then test palm down, to use the wrist.
- The stroke is given by a vertical movement of the wrist and by
tightening the fingers.
- Be awre that mouvement is vertical.
Strikes described below are not there by chance. It is a question of
becoming aware that the drums are partly the study of the gesture.
These exercices could be understand as warm-up exercices emphasizes the
mechanical differences but also the differences of feelings, touched
and sonorities. This work can jointly be made with drum books like
Stick Control and the Agostini methods. Work in front of a mirror.
In all the cases the first thing not to neglect it is the impulse. The
first part of the gesture, that which takes along the stick to the
skin, is essential. All that will become after depends on the quality
of this impulse. This one must-to be honest and tonic. It is necessary
to put conviction at it.
First kind of stroke
The strokes are played with the wrist. It is about a full motion, the stick
starts of the high point (1
runs up against the head (2
and always goes up (3
under the action of the wrist without assistance of the
Second kind of stroke
Blocking, the strokes are played with the fingers. The gesture starts
of the high point (1
opened hand, the fingers are closed again, the sticks runs up against the head, the
hand remains closed to block the sticks
close to the head (2
This stroke is often associated with the wrist
for the first part of the gesture.
Third kind of stroke
It is about the bounce, the first stroke is given starting from a high
the fingers maintain the natural bounce (2
of the stick on the head.
Fourth kind of stroke
It is about the buzz-roll. Press and crush the stick against the head
to obtain an indefinite number of very tight bounces
The pivot is done on the level of the elbow. The wrist remains rigid.
Fifth kind of stroke
same as the first type but the stroke starts of the low point (1
is raised (2
and returns to its starting
Sixth kind of stroke
First part of the Buzz-Roll.
The wrist remains rigid and the fingers hold firmly the rod (1
the front armlever launches the unit (2
Seventh kind of stroke
This stroke approaches the stroke of a whip, at the beginning the front
armlever launches the gesture (1
the elbow goes up while moving away
on the side of the body, the wrist remained flexible accompanies this
and the fingers finish while being closed again (3
Eighth kind of stroke
Fingers, wrist, front armlever and arm released of all tensions (1
be launched starting from the shoulder (2
the fingers finish (3
It is about a very full and very powerful stroke.
Let us take the example of the ball from basketball.
Let us observe the ball which we project towards the ground. So that it
bounces it will be necessary to print to him a force with each one of
its passages between our hands. If we increase the intensity of this
force, the distance from its race will be larger or if we maintain this
distance constant it will spend less time to return to us between the
hands. Conversely if we decrease this force the ball spends more time
to return to us and, the distance from its race decreases.
In this example three parameters emerge: time, space and energy.
The following exercises, like all the other technical exercises, must
be played on the snare drum or a practice pad. And, especially, they
will have to be played in front of a mirror, to take care of a perfect
execution of the strokes.
- Vary the amplitude of the strokes without varying the force and space.
Strike with a small gesture. The sound is of low intensity.
Strike with a large gesture. The sound is of strong intensity.
- Vary time between each strokes.
If time is long the movement could be fuller and produce a stronger sound (powerful).
If time is short that becomes more difficult. To play more and more
quickly it will be necessary to reduce the amplitude and, if you want
to preserve a constant intensity it will then be necessary to increase
the strength of each strokes.
- Vary the force.
By increasing the strength our strokes will have more impact, at the
same time we will be able to lengthen the amplitude of the movement,
the association of both will allow a powerful but not very fast play.
By decreasing the strength you don't need great amplitude, the play
will be softer and faster.
Variation of the three parameters which are : time, space and energy,
allow a very rich sound pallet. Always to keep in mind these three
parameters to include/understand and solve some difficulties of the
instrument, and for always enjoying to play.