There are a few things that drummers should always learn on their first lessons. These are: the names of the drums, the single stroke roll and how to properly hold drumsticks.
Sadly, many drum teachers do not teach students the later of these three basic procedures.
There are two common ways to hold a drumstick, these are traditional and matched. There is no better or worse way to hold sticks, and it is down to personal preference.
However I would recommend giving them both a chance as they can both be better for different things. Most people learn with matched grip when they first start learning drums as it is generally slightly easier to get the hand of than traditional.
Matched grip is the most common grip. Correct matched grip requires the drummer to place the stick between the thumb and index finger, then to grip the drum by curling the index finger around the stick.
The next step is to find the fulcrum point. This is the place on the stick that will provide the drummer with the optimum rebound off the skins. To find the fulcrum the drummer should simply hit the skin of the drum with the stick in different places.
Once the drummer has found the rebound point then the rest of the fingers should be lightly placed around the sticks, leaving enough room for the stick to move around. The thumb should also face upwards towards the tip of the stick. When hitting the drum in matched grip try the keep the knuckles facing upwards towards the ceiling.
Traditional grip is used in drum lines. The reason people use traditional grip is because usually in a drum line the drum is placed at the side of the body to allow the drummer to march as they are playing. Matched grip is very difficult to maintain when in this position, so drummers decided to hold the stick in their left hand in a different manner.
With traditional grip the right (opposite for left handed players) hand remains the same whilst the left hand holds the stick between the thumb and middle finger, as opposed to the index finger. Finding the fulcrum point is very much the same as if you were holding the sticks in matched grip. The drummer must hit the drum skin and try to find to optimum rebound point.
When the sticks are in traditional grip the knuckles on the right hand must face towards the ceiling, whilst the knuckles on the left hand should face the floor. When hitting the skins the drummer should flick the left hand, unlike in matched grip when the fingers can be utilized.
It’s up to you to decide what method suits your style of playing the best. It’s recommended that you practice with both techniques, at least until you can play the basics using both methods as it can be difficult to understand what feels better or worse initially. Remember, always start with the most fundamental things to learn when you first start your child out on the instrument. This will largely dictate success or failure in the coming future.
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