THE TENOR DRUMMER Intro to Tenor Drumming Basic Exercise – Eights

Basic Exercise – Eights

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Even if you’ve been playing for a few years, these are some great exercises to get you moving around the drums and establishing (or reestablishing) your playing positions.

For all of them, start out slow and on one drum (with your metronome and mirror of course!) and make sure you are playing it as perfectly and consistently as possible.

When you are satisfied, begin playing them around, but make sure you are approaching it exactly the same way as on one drum. The only thing that is changing is a slight rotation of the arm from the elbow to get to the necessary drum. Let’s take a look at each one now.

Download the first exercise here:  Eights

EIGHTS: This should always be your “go to” starting point. It’s the best way to get your hands warm and lock in your heights with the mirror and interpretation with the metronome.

I usually start with double-stops (both hands at the same time) to speed up the warming up process and also make sure both of my wrists are moving in the exact same way. You’ll want to start slow (of course) and usually with a nice full stroke, 9″+, to really stretch things out and get your hands ready for the practice session.

This exercise focuses on your legato stroke, so make sure the stick movement is extremely fluid. The stick should be continuously in motion, and you shouldn’t see it “freeze” at any point (unlike the staccato stroke).

Use the rebound of the drum or pad to help bring the stick back up. Be sure to focus on the back fingers of your hands and make sure they are not coming off the stick at slow and medium tempos. This will help keep your strokes consistent and give you great sound quality.

As the tempo increases, the fulcrum moves slowly from the back of the hand to the pointer finger and thumb, where the back fingers are used to help “flick” the stick at fast tempos. Try to save these back fingers until you really need them!

When moving this around, focus on where the head of the stick or mallet is hitting, making sure it stays in the correct playing position.

After a few reps, focus on the hand that is NOT playing. Is it bouncing around or drifting? Make sure this “tacet” hand is staying still and over the drum is left off on.

The left hand will start over drum two and then stay over drum 4 for the second half of the exercise. Again, make sure that your hands do not feel different whether you are playing around or on one drum.

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