The motions are the secret to great dynamic drums playing. They should be practiced to ensure that you have the stick at the correct height for the dynamic level that you are trying to achieve.
Dynamics play an important part in how the song feels to the listener. In this lesson I’ll introduce various strokes and the dynamic level that they produce.
The first one that we are going to talk about is the tap stroke, or low stroke. It is designed for low volumes. For this stroke, you can use any of the three grips. I use the American stroke.
You start low and finish low so you get a soft volume. To play this stroke, position your stick so that it is close to the drum. Strike the drum, and as the stick returns stop it in the same low position from which you started.
The next is the full stroke. The full stroke is used for loud volumes. To play this stroke, start high. Position your arm so that it is 90 degrees to the floor, strike the drum and return the stick to the starting position. Make sure that the stroke not only begins and ends high, but is done with a fluid motion.
The next stroke is a medium full stroke. This stroke is similar to a full stroke, except that it starts at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Strike the drum and end up back at the 45 degree angle. That is the last of the primary strokes. The next strokes that we are going to talk about are transitions strokes, which will allow us to transition from one dynamic level to another.
Now we are going to talk about the down stroke. It’s a pretty cool one; start high, strike the drum and finish low. What this does is give you a loud stroke that sets you up for a soft stroke. Always watch your stick heights and keep them consistent.
The last stroke we are going to talk about today is the up stroke. It is fun to practice, you start low and then end high. This gives you a soft stroke that leads in to a loud stroke. A good way to practice these last two is to alternate between down strokes and up strokes. Another good suggestion for practicing the proper stick heights for all of these strokes is to put a mirror in front of you so you can see yourself.
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