Learning to play the drums can be an awesome adventure. We’ve all seen the rock stars, or the amazing drumlins that use such precision. There is something almost primal about picking up a pair of sticks and being able to make astonishing music with them.
But as instinctive as it may seem the reality is holding those sticks the right way and learning to actually make real music isn’t as easy as just picking them up and beating the drums. Anyone wanting to become a solid drummer has to learn the proper techniques for holding their sticks so they can have maximum control and really do the things they want when drumming.
The first step in becoming an awesome drummer is to realize there are different ways to hold the sticks. The grip most people are familiar with is known as the matched grip, this is because the drummer holds the stick the same way with both hands. Within the matched stick technique there are actually three different styles known as the Germanian grip, the American, and the French grip.
With the American and Germanian grips the thumb and pointer fingers would be placed at the center or balancing area of the stick, with the American grip being more relaxed and allowing the elbows to come out a little. The French grip brings the sticks together more and doesn’t hold as much body tension as the other two styles.
There is another grip style for drumming known as the traditional grip. This is not what you see most rock drummers using but instead it would be jazz musicians, military corps, and school or auxiliary drumlins that incorporate this style. This technique has the drummer holding one stick like the matched grip and the other with their hand under the stick wrapping their fingers around it. The thumb will again be at the balancing point of the stick to help with control movement.
It is similar to how you would hold a chop stick with your fingers, but you would turn your wrist counter clockwise so the stick rests more flat against the drum.
Although people tend to be more visually aware of the matched style because of popular music groups, the traditional is more of the original way drummers drummed. The history of drumming doesn’t trace back to a guy in leather sitting behind a huge set of drums rocking out, but rather to drumlins. The military would use drummers to help them with battle calls and directional movement, as well as celebrations. And because the drums were sitting skewed to the side of their body, then the traditional grip technique was taught and used.
The military, professional drum lines and many quality studios like you might find at www.californiamusicstudios.com still teach and encourage the use of the traditional drumming grip technique.
Learning to play the drums can be a lot of fun and something you enjoy growing into for a lifetime. And when you learn techniques like the traditional grip not only can you tap into today’s popular music, but maybe appreciate a bit of the past music and how it has meant so much over the years.