Photo by Dave Hodgkinson

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Improving Movement Around the Drum Set - with video

As Wimbledon mania reaches its annual climax i've been struck by the athletic mastery on display from Murray, Del Potro et al. In order to reach the dizzying levels of flexibility and athleticism required, they've had to condition their bodies to best accommodate the technique necessary for success.  

As drummers, we find ourselves in a similar position. Although not required to reach the same levels of fitness as professional athletes, we still have to be aware of the natural hurdles our bodies will present us when trying to improve our craft. Understanding the ergonomics of playing the instrument, and utilising the most efficient way to get from A to B, is something all drummers should consider if they want to achieve great technique. 

One of the biggest hurdles for me was finding a way to move freely around the kit with single stroke rolls. I often found my own body was hindering my ability to move freely around the kit and I could never achieve the same level of speed or fluidty as when playing on the snare drum or practice pad. I, therefore, started developing exercises that would help improve this, much the same as an athlete might work on a routine to improve their acceleration or reach. 

Here's one that has helped me a a lot. Start with this phrase:

As shorthand we can also write it like this:

It's much harder to move from right-to-left around the kit as our hands will overlap. To overcome this I stay on the previous drum for one more 16th note before changing. The arrow signifies the extra note:

Or in short hand:

Now try working through the exercises below:

Here's a video of my attempt:

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