One thing I see quite often is the lack of understanding about drum stick rebound. This brings up a secondary point about musical learning. I have found that depth of knowledge comes from multiple sources. There are musical educators out there that preach that their way is the best way. What they might be describing is a highly effective method but everyone learns differently. For instance: Through interacting with other musos, reading books, watching videos, teaching students etc I have honed my musical skills. FYI, teaching is the best way to learn. You don't have to be the best musician in the world to teach. Teach as soon as you can. I see it happen every day with my students. I can only tell them so much. They then take this to a friend and figure out what the hell I was saying! Back to rebound…. In regards to simple physics, your drums will sound much better if you let the stick bounce off the skin. Your mission is to guide this process with your hands. Too many times I see students hit a drum skin and the rebound energy is absorbed by their wrist. I have slow-moed this process and watched the students wrist stay rigid and kill the rebound. This does two things: 1) It takes more effort for each hit 2) It destroys the tone of the drum (and the skin). Solution: Let the stick pivot through your fingers and bounce back. That is it.. It is that simple. There are many more subtle eccentricities and step by step methods that I teach in my process. If you would like to know more. Book a lesson with me. Music is about human interaction as it is about everything else. Actually I’m going to just explain it here.
Step 1) Hold your stick in the thumb and middle finger fulcrum.
Step 2) Hold your stick just above horizontal to the snare skin. Use your other hand to manipulate the motion of the drum stick and watch the way the stick pivots in your grip. Your wrist should be still.
Step 3) Pivot the stick up and just let it go. It should swing down and hit the drum skin and bounce back. Again, with a still wrist.
Step 4) After feeing this try to achieve this motion by flicking your wrist up so that the stick swings back in your grip and drop the stick into the drum head. Let it bounce back and catch the stick with your fingers in a wrapping motion (don't point your pinky finger!).
Step 5) Achieve this with both hands, together.
Step 6) Once you have managed this, try to do groups of 3. What I mean by this is flick the stick back, guide it down into the drum head, let it bounce once with a parallel wrist. Then the next tap is while your wrist stays parallel (you get another hit for free). Then as your wrist raises up for the next throw you get another bounce on the way up.
That's it. Hopefully by this point you have had a lightbulb moment and been like “ok, so I've been wasting all of this stick energy”. This seems like a straight forward process but the thing is that you have been playing wrist absorption mode for so long that you feel like you are learning to play the drums all over again. It's ok, stick at it (excuse the pun). Hopefully you see the value of stick rebound!
This article was written by James, the founder of JTM Music.