rim shot technique and strokesChoosing a single member of the drumset and dubbing it to be the most important is infantile. However, it is unquestionable that everyone should have a basic set of skills on the bass drum, the hi-hat and the snare.

Sit down, play a song from your computer and try to move with the tune, follow the rhythm with your shoulders: when the bass drum kicks, your shoulders drop.

When the drummer hits the snare: your shoulders rise. These two members of the set rule the basic movements of dance and watching a recording of Salsa or Samba will immediately show how highly sophisticated skills you need in order to play Latin music appropriately.

The Snare Drum Does Not Only Belong to Your Left Hand

In the case of the most basic rhythms, your limbs do the following: left foot tightens hi-hat, right foot handles the kick drum, right hand hits the hi-hat or the ride cymbal and left hand hits the snare. Now, contrary to what you might have got used to, in more advanced scenarios (and

Latin rhythms are quite advanced, usually) you will need to mix things up, especially in the case of your hands: you will have to incorporate toms inside the rhythms (so not only in the case of fills), use both hands for just about any drum. You do not have to always try to hit the snare drum with your left hand, either.

Upbeats yet strange for the western ear are not uncommon and you just have to try to play flawlessly. After a few rhythms that you sort out by following the hand order signs in the notation you will start to feel what is to be played by your right hand.



Practicing Rudiments is Essential

The fore-mentioned reason (both hands used extensively) explains why you need to practice rudiments with increased attention, focusing on an equilibrium regarding training intensity for both hands.

Some experts say that there are forty rudiments. However, you could compile different strokes until you end up with a hundred different combinations – it all does not matter.

In my opinion, all the stamina, playfulness and vigor can be earned by just practicing five basic rudiments: the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll, the buzz roll, the paradiddle and the flam.

Perfect Your Rim Shot Technique

What we call a rim shot is when the drumstick hits the rim of the drum and the drumhead simultaneously. You might have already practiced rim shots when learning basic beats like slow rock. Rim shots are easy to master and are really worth that minuscule effort. Also, many Latin beats depend on the variety that the rim shot introduces.

When practicing the rim shot, there is one golden rule that you should remember: like in the case of “normal” strokes, it is the tip of the drumstick that hits the drumhead, not the butt.

Choosing the Right Grip

There are two basic drumstick grips that you should know about: the matched grip, the most widespread of grips and the traditional grip. In the traditional grip you hold the two drumsticks differently, unlike in matched grip where the two hands use the same motion.

Traditional grip has become more popular in Jazz and Latin drumming than in other styles. Using the traditional grip it is said to be easier to add subtle ghost notes to your playing, which can make your music a lot richer – and “rich” is something that definitely describes Latin music.

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