Coordination is one of the most important aspects of becoming a good drummer. Not only will it increase your overall control and technique on the kit, it will help you keep timing.
There are a number of different exercises that drummers can use to increase their coordination. I’ll be taking you through some exercises and ideas that you can use in order to improve this important part of your drumming.
Making sure that you are always in time is fundamentally the most important part of being a drummer. The drummer will always get the blame if something goes wrong in a band situation. It’s just the nature of the beast. However if you understand time signatures and tempo then there is no reason why this should become a problem.
Time signatures determine how many beats are in a bar, and what the value of each note should be. The most common time signature is 4/4, also known as common time. The top number (first number) shows us the number of beats in a bar, whilst the bottom number (second number) shows us the value of the notes that are played. It’s always worth playing along to different time signatures if you want to improve your timing and control.
Tempo is the speed of a song or piece of music. Drummers should always retain a steady speed throughout any song, unless a part deliberately requires a change. To improve the tempo of your drum playing, you can play along to electronic devices. These will play a constant beep to the timing of a song. They can be very handy in figuring out if certain parts of a song throw you out of time.
Having correct posture and stick technique is a very important part of staying coordinated. If you are holding the sticks wrong then you may struggle to perform certain techniques with speed.
Before you start playing the drums you should always make sure that you learn both traditional and matched grip. This way you will be able to work out for yourself what technique suits your playing style the best.
Some drummer like to master both techniques. When learning a new grip you should always locate the fulcrum point on your hand. This is the part of your hand that offers the optimum amount of rebound when you hit a drum.
Rudiments are definitely the best way to build up speed and control on a drum kit. Most people learn the rudiments on the snare drum to begin with, and then progress onto the full drum kit. Learning how to play all of the rudiments on all of the drums is the best way to build up control and coordination.
Rudiments are very versatile and can be incorporated into beats, fills and solos. There are 40 rudiments in total, with each one offering the drummer something new. The six most commonly used rudiments are: single stroke roll, long roll, buzz roll, drag, flam and paradiddle.
Developing a strong sense of coordination is very important. Without good coordination skills you will struggle to play ideas on the spot, which is essential if you plan on being a session drummer, or if you enjoy improvisation.
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