Proper use of the Body for Drummers

holding sticks

Holding the sticks

You would think holding the sticks is pretty simple. You just grip them tightly, and strike the drum head. Simple enough, right? Not quite. The first video in this training series deals with just this topic. How you hold your sticks is very important to ensure proper technique, and to avoid injuries. Yes, you can actually injure yourself by not holding the drumsticks properly. Just like any activity where your use your hands, improper form can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your hands and wrists. You want to hold them loosely to allow the motion of the stick to do all the work for you. As you strike down on the drum, you want the base of the stick to rest against the bottom of your thumb. As you raise your stick, you want the base to rest inside the fingertips. This may be hard to visualize, but once you watch the first lesson, it will all make sense. The key is to have control of the stick while at the same time letting it do most of the work. You will play faster, stronger, and avoid unnecessary damage to your arm.

sitting postion

Posture

Having the proper posture while you play is critical. While arm injuries due to improper stick handling or bad, injuring your back because of bad posture can be much worse. Before you adjust your drums and throne(stool), you want to sit up straight and extend your arms to get an idea of the height that you and your drums need to be at. The goal is to keep your back as straight as possible while you play. Obviously, when you lean over to strike a symbol you will bend a little there, but the key is to remain upright for the majority of your play. All drum stands whether they be on a rack or solitary pieces are adjustable. As well as your throne. So the key once again is to have yourself in a position where you are perfectly upright for the majority of your play. It will save lots of wear on your back, plus give you a solid center from which to play from.

proper foot position

The feet

This is an easier one. There are a variety of petals that you will utilize during play, but the two you will use the most are bass pedal

and the hi-hat petal. There are also two standard ways to use your feet when you play. The first is the heel to toe method. This is where your entire foot is on the pedal and you press down using the upper part of your foot as the fulcrum point. The second and most common method, is the heel up technique. This is where the ball of the foot rests on the top of the pedal it all times and the pedal stays down with the hammer up against the drum. When playing, you raise the ball of your foot and then let it drop back down to allow the hammer to strike the drum. Try each technique and see which one works best for you. Either is fine, it is just a matter of preference.

Now these three topics may seem very elementary to someone looking to learn to play the drums, but they are actually very crucial, and they must be done properly and comfortably. A lot of players take these for granted, and it can cause their training to be more difficult. As with any physical activity, improper form can cause serious injuries. So get these basics right, and the rest of your play will fall right into place.