Add Dynamics to Your Drumming
When you look at professional drummers, what do they do that is any different than yourself? If you listen to a band on the radio, most likely you’ll hear the drummer playing a pretty simple beat. What makes them so their drumming so much better than yours? What can you do to impress a band that you are auditioning for? Well, there are many different aspects of dynamic drumming that I can’t possibly go into great detail, but I do want to show you some tips to help you out. There are a couple simple things that once I show them to you it’ll make you wonder why you didn’t think of it before.
What Is Dynamic Drumming?
When someone tells you that they want you to play with more dynamics, it is usually referring to the volume and the amount of “space” in the band that you’re drums are taking up.
Something like volume can be changed very easily, you can change your sticks (heavier for louder, lighter for quieter). You can use some of the tips below to play the same beat, with the same sticks, but it will make your drumming sound more dynamic.
Just like every other instrument of a band, drums have their place, every band is different, so you will have to depend on your ear to tell you if you are “over playing” the song, or not adding enough to it. This is something to definitely keep an eye on.
Quick Dynamic Drumming Tips
- Heels-up – For heavier, louder, and more powerful strokes playing with your heels up is often the best choice. This is most commonly used in rock drumming because it helps bring the “drive”
- Heels-down – For softer playing, or any situation where you don’t necessarily need the bass drum to drive the beat this is usually the best bet. This is best used with genres like jazz.
- Feathering – This is a variation on the heels-down technique, it is often used to play either very fast drumming, or very light drumming. Once you get up to higher speeds it requires more of a “controlled twitch” to keep this technique going.
- Heel-Toe Technique – This method is more advanced than that other three methods, but this unique technique is used to achieve speeds up to 1300bpm on the bass drum. For more information visit Bass Drum Secrets.
- Normal Stroke – Hitting the snare drum with a normal stroke, making contact in the center of the drum skin with a single motion.
- Ghost Notes – Playing very quiet notes on the snare, this is usually used between accents to help keep time. The stick should never be lifted more than an inch off of the snare when using this technique
- Cross Sticking – Playing the stick by holding the tip end of the stick in your hand, placing your hand on the center of the drum, and having the butt end of the stick click on the rim of the drum
- Rim Shots – Hitting the rim of the snare drum at the same time as hitting the skin of the drum, this produces more of a “crack” sound than normal strokes.
- Open – Play the hi-hats without any pressure on the foot pedal. There should be a small gap between the two cymbals
- Sizzle – Play the hi-hats with a light pressure on the foot pedal to keep the hi-hats loose, but they still make contact.
- Closed – Apply full pressure on the foot pedal keeping the hi-hats tightly closed
- Alternating – Experiment with any combination of the three methods above
- Stick Position – Try hitting different spots on the hi-hats, the edge will produce a different sound as the bow of the hi-hats
- Bow – This is the most common way to play the ride, playing right between the edge and the bell. This will get the “largest” sound out of your ride.
- Edge – This is also known as “crashing the ride” play the ride like you play your crash cymbals.
- Bell – Playing the bell is great for making notes come through all of the other sounds, not only that of your drum kit, but often the bell can be heard above the rest of the band.
Make sure that you experiment with a lot of these options and you will notice a big improvement in your playing. You can still play the same beats as before, but by slightly changing the way you hit the ride, or the snare drum, you will breathe a whole new life into your drumming.
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