5 Myths About Drum Technique
Posted in Learn | Last Updated on October 4, 2018
Beliefs inspire action and action creates results.
But if your beliefs are misguided, you will take action on the wrong things and generate unwanted results.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your drumming beliefs are based on solid ground and will guide you in the right direction.
In this article, we’re going to go over five common myths about drum technique that can lead you down the wrong path.
By being aware of these myths and knowing the truths behind them, you’ll be able to make more improvement with less stress.
Let’s get started:
Drum Technique Myth #1: One Size Fits All
In a world where we replace interchangeable parts and purchase so many plug-and-play mechanisms, we often want to believe that one item, strategy, or technique will work the same way for everyone who uses it.
While we’re all humans and have similar body components, the truth is, we’re all unique and the size and performance of those components vary dramatically from person to person.
As a result, the incredible Hulk should not drum with the same exact technique as Yoda. Their body types are so different that they aren’t going to move the same way.
The same thing applies to you – you are unique and your body is going to move differently than mine or Steve Gadd’s. Studying and detailing one of our techniques to the centimeter and then trying to use it verbatim probably won’t work for you.
All this is to say that you shouldn’t focus on uber-specific criteria such as how many degrees to turn your wrist for an accent or what inch marker to place your thumb on the stick. That stuff is misleading and varies dramatically from person to person.
Instead, just follow the 3 ultimate principles for drum technique and you’ll be good to go.
Drum Technique Myth #2: Perfect Technique Leads to Magical Chops
I’m always surprised by how many people think that if they just had better technique they’ll suddenly have amazing super-human chops.
More often than not, their technique is fine and if they just sat down and practiced what they wanted to play better – they’d be able to play it better!
Your technique is not the end-all be-all to your drumming abilities. It’s nothing more than the vehicle that enables you to convey a musical idea. Most of the time, the vehicle itself is fine – the driver just needs to figure out where they want to go and then actually do the driving.
Drum Technique Myth #3: Once You Have It You Always Have It
Your technique isn’t something that will suddenly “lock” into place and be perfect for the rest of your life once you get it.
Instead, it requires regular maintenance and upkeep.
To elaborate more on the analogy listed in Myth #2, once you have the vehicle and start driving it, you’ll need to change the oil, rotate the tires, and realign the wheels on a regular basis.
It’s nothing fancy, it’s nothing extreme, and you don’t always need to spend a lot of time on it. But you need to do it.
Drum Technique Myth #4: No Pain No Gain
Drumming shouldn’t hurt.
If you chop out, you’ll experience some discomfort in the muscles that you’re working on. But this discomfort is more of a warm burn than a serious pain.
If you experience sharp pains in your joints, fingers, or tendons, stop immediately and rest. Figure out what motion is causing it and see if that motion can be avoided.
If the pain continues, take a break from drumming and consult your health care provider or a specialist for medical advice as soon as possible.
“Drumming through the pain” is terrible advice and only puts you in a situation where you may do some serious damage to your fingers, wrists, or tendons.
#5: You Need to See It From All Angles to Learn It Correctly
Don’t let technology distract you from valuable information.
While watching a video with multiple camera angles is cool, it’s not necessary and it rarely provides you with significant information that revolutionizes the lesson being taught.
For example, I received an email one day from a drummer who watched a Snare Drum TV episode and asked if I would record the episode again with multiple camera angles because it was hard for him to learn what I was teaching without seeing what the back of my hand was doing.
The particular video he was referencing was a lesson teaching a sixteenth note timing exercise. There’s a whole lot of important information in that video to help you improve a specific and important aspect of your playing – your timing.
The exercise itself is incredibly valuable and the points discussed in the video are extremely important. But because this individual couldn’t get over the fact that he couldn’t watch my pinkies stay loosely wrapped around the back of the stick, he created a self-imposed road block that caused him to miss all of the valuable information in the video and not learn the significant lessons from the exercise.
Technology is amazing but don’t let it distract you from the truly valuable information at hand.
Drum technique is important and is the vehicle that allows you to play what you want to play.
However, there are a lot of myths that float around in the drumming community that can really stunt your rate of improvement. It’s important that you value quality technique and make efforts to improve and refine it, but at the end of the day your drumming knowledge and practice efforts are truly what will make you better. Keep that in mind and avoid becoming a “technique junkie” who spends all their time on analyzing insignificant information and never develops their playing.
Understanding the truth behind these myths will help you avoid falling into that trap and instead help you prioritize the significant information that will help you make bigger improvements in your playing.
What are some other technique myths that you’re aware of? Leave a comment below with your thoughts to help out more drummers!