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strokes

les gestes

After having mastered these different concepts, take your first lessons in the lesson's chapter.


various ways to hold the sticks

The first catch of sticks must remain very natural. Take the sticks, rectify if the position is too bad. The match grip also known as of timbalier because of his symmetry and on account of the convenience is used whatever the played style. It allows easier displacements on the drums. In spite of that the traditonnal grip remains very appraisal of certain jazz drummers, it then gets more sensitivity and the mass muscular brought into play is more significant what makes it possible partially to rectify unbalance between the two hands.



Traditional grip :
The drum when it is played while marching is inclined, the position of the left hand makes it possible to be put up with the angle of the drum. For the detail of the behaviour right hand see match grip.



Left hand :
tambour main gauche1. Let put back the stick in the hollow which form the base of the thumb and the index. The end of the stick exceeds from 3 to 4 centimetres.
2. Place your annular and auricular (small finger) under the stick.
3. Pose the stick at the end of your annular (on the last or before last phalange). The stick in balance is now in the hollow of the thumb and the index and, on the annular.
4. Pass your index and your major above the stick so that the thumb can touch the index.
5. The thumb, the index and the major fingers must pass well above the rod because it is by them which passes energy necessary to the motion of the stick.
6. The stroke of wrist is given by carrying out the same movement as if you turn a key in the lock of a door.



Match grip :
Right and left hand


Two ways to play :


In practice I rather play palm down to play the cymbal strokes or I play more vertical palm when I use the fingers a lot.

The stick stays in the hollow of the first and the second phalange of the index and between the fat of the thumb (see the bounce point). All the other fingers are around the sticks.
timbalier : profiltimbalier : dessus

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bounce point

la pinceThe bounce point is the point on the stick which allows a maximum of free bounces. According to the type of sticks used this one will be ahead or behind of the third of the stick.
1. Hold your hand vertical as if you shaken the hand with somebody (thumb upwards, palm of the hand on the side).
2. The grip: hold the stick between the thumb and the last phalange of the index on the bounce point of the stick. The thumb must be well on the same level as the index, neither in front nor behind, if not the bounce point will not work.
3. When the hand is vertical the thumb must be well with the vertical of the stick for a better control of the bounceand energy.
4. The other fingers must be wrapped around the stick. Do not leave your hand open or do not raise your littlel finger. The stick must be held firmly but without tightness.
5. Initially play palm of the hand on the side. The control of the thumb and the fingers is finer, then test palm down, to use the wrist.
6. The stroke is given by a vertical movement of the wrist and by tightening the fingers.
7. Be awre that mouvement is vertical.

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various strokes

Strikes described below are not there by chance. It is a question of becoming aware that the drums are partly the study of the gesture. These exercices could be understand as warm-up exercices emphasizes the mechanical differences but also the differences of feelings, touched and sonorities. This work can jointly be made with drum books like Stick Control and the Agostini methods. Work in front of a mirror.

In all the cases the first thing not to neglect it is the impulse. The first part of the gesture, that which takes along the stick to the skin, is essential. All that will become after depends on the quality of this impulse. This one must-to be honest and tonic. It is necessary to put conviction at it.

type1 First type of striking : the strokes are played with the wrist. It is about a full motion, the stick starts of the high point (1), runs up against the head (2) and always goes up (3) under the action of the wrist without assistance of the bounce.








type2 Second type of striking : blocking, the strokes are played with the fingers. The gesture starts of the high point (1), opened hand, the fingers are closed again, the sticks runs up against the head, the hand remains closed to block the sticks close to the head (2). This stroke is often associated with the wrist for the first part of the gesture.






type3 Third type of striking : it is about the bounce, the first stroke is given starting from a high point (1) the fingers maintain the natural bounce (2) of the stick on the head.









type4 Fourth type of striking : it is about the buzz-roll. Press and crush the stick against the head to obtain an indefinite number of very tight bounces (1). The pivot is done on the level of the elbow. The wrist remains rigid.









type5 Fifth type of striking : same as the first type but the stroke starts of the low point (1), is raised (2) and returns to its starting point (3).










type6 Sixth type of striking : the wrist remains rigid and the fingers hold firmly the rod (1), the front armlever launches the unit (2). First part of the gesture of Buzz-Roll.









type7 Seventh type of striking : this stroke approaches the stroke of a whip, at the beginning the front armlever launches the gesture (1), the elbow goes up while moving away on the side of the body, the wrist remained flexible accompanies this one (2) and the fingers finish while being closed again (3).











type8 Eighth type of striking : fingers, wrist, front armlever and arm released of all tensions (1) can be launched starting from the shoulder (2), the fingers finish (3). It is about a very full and very powerful stroke.









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first stroke

Let us take the example of the ball from basketball.
Let us observe the ball which we project towards the ground. So that it bounces it will be necessary to print to him a force with each one of its passages between our hands. If we increase the intensity of this force, the distance from its race will be larger or if we maintain this distance constant it will spend less time to return to us between the hands. Conversely if we decrease this force the ball spends more time to return to us and, the distance from its race decreases.

In this example three parameters emerge: time, space and energy.

The following exercises, like all the other technical exercises, must be played on the snare drum or a practice pad. And, especially, they will have to be played in front of a mirror, to take care of a perfect execution of the strokes.

Vary the amplitude of the strokes without varying the force and space.
Strike with a small gesture. The sound is of low intensity.
Strike with a large gesture. The sound is of strong intensity.

Vary time between each strokes.
If time is long the movement could be fuller and produce a stronger sound (powerful).
If time is short that becomes more difficult. To play more and more quickly it will be necessary to reduce the amplitude and, if you want to preserve a constant intensity it will then be necessary to increase the strength of each strokes.

Vary the force.
By increasing the strength our strokes will have more impact, at the same time we will be able to lengthen the amplitude of the movement, the association of both will allow a powerful but not very fast play.
By decreasing the strength you don't need great amplitude, the play will be softer and faster.

Variation of the three parameters which are : time, space and energy, allow a very rich sound pallet. Always to keep in mind these three parameters to include/understand and solve some difficulties of the instrument, and for always enjoying to play.

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the beats

The beats are the heart of the music, it determines the movement of a piece of music. It is initially by it that we feel the music, it gets in our body and our spirit so that make us moving. The first contact can be done just by listening to music and clapping in the hands. First we can play all the pulsations, which are the beats, then only downbeats or upbeats. Now beats beacome time signature. you can play the first times of each bar. Then you can determine which type of bar it is, to make feel his "cyclic" side you can play only the first beat in your hands, then raise the hand a little more at each beat, with small jolts to mark other beats, and let fall down without reserve for striking the first beat of the following bar. You create, therefore, a movement to represent time signature, it is more stable, you associate to the first beat the concept of gravity.
Now you can draw the pulsations (beats) and bars of a piece of music. Varying the style of music this exercise will quickly make it possible to include/understand and follow all that occurs in a piece of music and to release a coherent structure of it. For the beginners after having clapped the exercise in the hands, you can play the exercise with the drums, on the snare drum right hand then left hand, on a cymbal, with the bass drum, then by mixing various sounds from the instrument.
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CONSISTENCY

To approach consistency, the regularity of the strokes, it's good there too to take concrete examples, we have a lot of choice.  Consistency can be associate with the rhythm.  Consistency is a simple rhythm which never varies in time. For example each day has 24 hours, each hour 60 minutes and each minute 60 seconds.  The "distance" between each hour, minute and second is the same one. walking in the street of a steady step, without stopping nor running, enables us to associate consistency to the concept of movement.  A movement if it is carried out regularly without any variation of some kind, is known as consistent movement. It is repeated indefinitely, identical to itself.



Here also we can vary our parameters : time, space and energy.

For time that's rather easy :



For space the same applies :



Energy makes it possible to rebalance the power according to the type of play used. It has a multiplier effect on each types of actions. For example if time between the strokes is long, the distance is large, with more energy the strokes will be powerfull.

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singing

The voice it is the first instrument we have, it can be regarded as the fifth part to play drums. One of the basic ideas is that all that we can sing we can play it. We can include the voice in all the exercises we practise. Each time we play it's the link between the idea of arhythm and the execution of this one by the gesture. It is the best friend of our memory and supports the concentration. Initially it could be enough to feel and count times of bar. Then we ca sing the various flows and subdivisions and to even sing a part of the instrument (bass drum, snare drum, high-hat...). There's many ways to practise, with som imagination we can quickly change a simple rhythm into a true break-in head rhythm.
To vary a little and leave the ordinary one, and to even bring something exotic, we can use Indian bols. These bols are a succession of onomatopoeias which can be used to count the time of bars, the flows... All that can be count. Here the principal bols which I use.
Unit: Ta / 2 : Ta Ka / 3 : Ta Ki Te / 4 : Ta Ka Di Mi / 5 : Ta Di Ki Na Tom / 6: Ta Ki Te Na Ge Na / 7 : Ta Ki Te Na Ge Tu Na / 8 : Ta Ka Di Mi Na Ge Tu Na

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The center

kanjiA fundamental element it is the belly there. It's the center. It's at least what I discover as a practitioner of Aikido. A book written by a doctor gives him also the name of second brain. The belly is not only beautiful abdominal muscle. It is the digestive system. The root of all. All comes in the center and all sets out again from it. It uses food to build our body. It's necessary to think from its center. It's the idea of root. In the posture of the drummer the center stays on the seat (it is necessary to sit down on the edge of the seat to take care not to cut blood circulation under the thighs, or to use an ergonomical seat). The belly holds all the building in balance. And if the balance is respected the gestures and displacements are more natural. We arrives more easily at item zero. Item zero is a state which I for a long time had defined but had not named. It's when I listened to the radio and a wellknown pianist and teacher spoke about it that I could give it a name. Often we don't realize but for a positive gesture like to produce a sound, it's necessary to overcome the immobility and sometimes even a gesture which retains and which I will describe as negative. This unconscious barrier comes from the tension caused by the stress of the life and all the negative components of our lives. It is also the idea of force of entropy. Any constructive action is opposed a destroying action. Everything is in the ying and the yang, God and Satan, all exist like its opposite. It is often this duality which makes hard the only fact of playing of an instrument, especially a physical and complete instrument as the drums. It is what creates imbalance. This tension enormously tires because to go at the end of the positive gesture it's necessary to force the action of the negative gesture. It's already exhausting to handle the sticks and to play the pedals that if you add to that a fight against yourself this closed to the masochism. This tension is also harmful because it does not allow the vibrations caused by the impact to dissipate itself, to diffuse itself in the body. In the worst case that creates nodes where these vibrations accumulate. Energy discharges in these nodes being able to cause many traumatisms. It's necessary to solidify the belly to make its members free of any movement. To remain always ready to act. This harmony it is Aï of Aïkido. When the center is solid that supports the concentration as well as the spirit and feelings. The item zero is also the possibility of absorbing what exists around us like energies and vibrations. All that for better communicating with the others. Often I think that all is only vibrations and that it's what in some situations when the vibrations are granted the exchange with the audience is easy and that in others that remains very hard. These vibrations are also the vital breath, Ki of the Aïkido. We have an inside vibration and the music enables us to diffuse this vibration with the musicians and with the audience. When the vibrations are unmatched it does not occur anything but when all vibrates in unison the exchange is complete. Thus each one must find its way/voice, Do of Aïkido.

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organize your work

By seeking a beginning for the lessons, and before filling them with a lot of musics, texts and exercises, I ask myself what I musn't forget before all that, more essential condition. Then I thought that the first thing to do it was to give you a scheme of work. To go fast I will say that only a regular work can give truths results. And as often this work is a work of repetition, it should be organized if you want to make it really effective. Now there are various situations.

First if you work with a teacher that makes the things easier. Because it is him which will organize the progression of your work, according to what as a pupil you propose like aptitudes and possibility of progression. If you work alone it's more difficult because you are a judge and part. Now I'll give some ways to be explored.

It's essential to have a diary. You will register inside all your work : in first the date then the type of exercise, the name, the tempo... and without forgetting the impressions of the work you do. This diary will enable you to not lose the wire of your work and to keep the same logic of progression, which will highlight your progress and time you need to master an exercice. This will enable you to adjust your working method and to redefine the priorities.

What is a working method? It's to give aims and to organize the tools that you have to achieve these goals. I always distinguish two types of goals: those in the short run and those in the long run. A short-term goal will give fast results and will be directly use in all kind of musical situations. For example a very simple binary rhythm which will be useful to you for the next repetition with your band. A long-term goal is rather a thread which allows an in-depth work of all the exercises that you will have chosen for your current work. It can be a very simple thing like to use the metronome, so that the long-term goal is to obtain the most consistent tempo in all the exercises. Other examples: to sing while playing, to reverse all the sticking, etc... It's necessary to let the things evolve freely and not hesitate for example to change its short-term goals for better serving the long-term goals and vice versa ; just a question of priorities.

The time you spend to wark is a completely abstracted concept and which changes according to your own progress and your own requirements. I always say to my pupils that the key is to work regularly. For example I always say to my beginner : work twenty minutes a day rather than to wait the weekend and to work two for hours, because there this will discouraged yourself. Now if as a beginner you can be satisfied with twenty minutes of daily work, more your level will evolve more it will take you time to carry out your goals. It is necessary to also know to be patient, the feeling which one has of his own progress is not always linear. It's not everyday that you feel the results of your work. Sometimes it happens that you feel to stagnate, the clouds are there and, suddenly, the horizon is cleared up, you succeed. However at the beginning of your musician life there is a linear feeling of your own progress, your are more sensitive to the short-term goals ; but when the sum of knowledge is more significant, progress is done by stages with sometimes long times of stagnation. We also became more demanding. At this time of your musical education when the long-term goals are reached, that give you a real feeling of satisfaction. Well done.

Somethingmore subtle : it's always necessary to leave time to do a good job and to master a exercise. We shouldn't force the destiny, it is necessary to be patient. And if we remain honest with ourself we always know when we succeed in achieving our goal. Another common thing : is that the more you give yoursel time to achieve a goal, the more you will spend time to reach it. Thus it's necessary while being reasonable to set a limit of time. The same sometimes it's necessary to give up and to return there later if this limit of time is exceeded and if a lassitude starts to be felt when an exercise is worked and when we don't find the solution for the problem. We shouldn't thought that we are stupid and we will never progress again, we should just become aware that we made a bad choice of goal. It was perhaps not the moment to begin this kind of exercise, it was perhaps too early in our drummer's life. When you work alone this kind of bad thing can come, and it is the interest there to find a good teacher, its experience and its advicesls will avoid you falling into such problems.
My last advice it is that the best thing for you to remember an exercise hard worked is to forget it.
Here are some ideas which will help you to organize your work and will facilitate the achievemnt of your knowledge, and especially you will carry on to learn, and keep the taste to learn.You will learn with pleasure.

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