The snare drum is the most basic of voices in your drumming kit. We use the snare drum so often that we usually overlook just what it is. I mean, it’s there, and it helps us keep tempo.
Yet do you really know how much the snare drum is capable of?
Most drummers simply use the snare drum, as stated above, to keep tempo. Or they simply use it because they believe they have to, that it’s ‘proper’ for a drummer to use the snare drum.
But that shouldn’t be the reason we do anything as musicians.
In this article, we’ll discuss different uses for the snare drum that you may not have thought of before. Hopefully, some of these uses will be interesting enough to change your playing, even in the slightest of ways.
First, before we delve into this snare drumming lesson, you need to observe how you hold your drum stick. Believe it or not, all of your creativity is transferred through your mind, down your shoulder, into your arm where it makes a pit stop at the elbow, then out of your wrist and into your hand.
This means that if you have a bad grip, you’re already a step behind. Bad grip leads to pain. Pain leads to bad form, which leads to a bad little thing called in injury. Injuries will put your away from your kit for months.
For general purposes, we will simply discuss a traditional matched grip.
Point your palm towards the ceiling and lay your stick across it diagonally. Now wind your index finger and middle finger you’re your stick. Your hand should be three quarter of the length down your stick. You shouldn’t have a death grip on the stick, either; a loose grip is sufficient. Now turn your palm towards the floor, and as you do, cradle your ring finger and pinky finger around the stick.
Now that you know how to properly grip the drumstick, we can talk about how to use the snare drum to make your music more interesting.
Use accents. Accenting notes will help bring a note to the forefront. Not only this, but it will take your playing away from the generic time keeping properties. When you accent a note, your stick should fall roughly eight to ten inches to the snare drum head in order to generate sufficient power.
If you love accents, you may simply cherish the grace note. A grace note is meant to be felt, not heard. That being said, your stick should fall no more than two inches onto the drum head. This helps to create a whisper. Again, this helps to highlight other notes, once more taking away from the general time keeping purpose of the snare drum.
Finally on our snare drumming lessons is the off beat. Off beats are simply every other beat in an eighth note pattern. These, for obvious reasons, are odd feeling beats. They can also make a pattern more interesting.
There are no set ways to play the snare drum, so in the end, try not to limit yourself. Keep your mind open, and overall, have fun.
Drumeo is a step-by-step instructional program designed to help you get started with the basics and progress into an advanced drummer easily. It covers a wide variety of genres like rock, jazz and blues and lessons are broken down by topic.