Drumsticks are available in various thicknesses, lengths, and materials, allowing individuals to find the combination that best suits their preferences. Personally, I find 5A sticks to be ideal for my needs.
Once we have experimented with different combinations and determined our preferred drumsticks, it is crucial to practice proper drumstick grip. Consider the action of pushing someone on a swing to provide momentum. As the person approaches, you position your hands without attempting to halt the movement. When the swing reaches its highest point, you refrain from pushing, but as soon as it begins to descend, you give it a push.
Although your approach may differ, as you are not focused on optimizing your movements, swinging on a swing is undeniably enjoyable. However, when it comes to playing the drums, these movements are repeated thousands of times. Therefore, it is essential to optimize your energy to execute the same movements rapidly while maintaining complete control over your drumstick strikes. This is what we refer to as having "good technique."
The correct form for holding the drumstick can be observed in the accompanying video, but let us attempt to explain it here as well. Your palm should face downward, although a slight inward rotation may be more comfortable for some individuals. The drumstick should rest on the last inner phalanx, the final bend, of your index finger, with your thumb pressing against it from the opposite side. Depending on your location, you may recognize this motion as the one used to request money or inquire about missing money—rubbing the thumb against the last bend of the index finger. That is the motion you should employ to control the drumstick, while the other three fingers provide support and maintain linear movement of the stick.
To return to the swing analogy, it is as if your thumb and index finger are the anchor point of the swing, while your other three fingers propel it forward. In our case, we have more control over the anchor point of the drumstick. This balancing point is generally located around three-quarters of the stick's length, starting from the tip towards the base.
The primary challenge for novice drummers lies in controlling different intensities with the same hand. When playing the drums, we frequently switch between very light strokes (ghost notes), soft strokes (fills), and accents. These intensities are often classified as pianississimo (ghost), pianissimo (very soft), piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte, fortissimo, and fortississimo.
You may have observed that most drummers utilize both hands. It is necessary to practice hand alternation, which involves performing exercises known as rudiments. As the name suggests, these rudiments serve as the foundation or building blocks for drum beats, fills, and embellishments.
By practicing these rudiments, drummers develop greater dexterity, control, and coordination between their hands. This enables them to execute more complex drumming patterns and seamlessly transition between different rhythms and fills. Some common rudiments include single stroke rolls, double stroke rolls, paradiddles, and flams. Mastering these rudiments requires focused practice and gradual progression to enhance speed and precision.
In addition to hand alternation, drummers also need to pay attention to their footwork. The bass drum, also known as the kick drum, is typically played using a foot pedal. Coordinating the movement of your hands and feet is crucial for creating intricate drum patterns and maintaining a steady rhythm. Practicing various bass drum techniques, such as heel-toe and slide techniques, can greatly enhance your footwork and overall drumming abilities.
As you continue to practice and refine your drumming skills, it is essential to listen to a wide range of music genres and drumming styles. By exposing yourself to different musical influences, you can expand your repertoire and develop a versatile drumming approach. Experimenting with different drumming techniques, exploring various musical genres, and studying the drumming styles of accomplished drummers will greatly contribute to your growth as a musician.