BY TIGER BILL MELIGARI
If you want fast fingers, you must first develop fast reflexes. I’ve found the four exercises below to be ideal for developing fast finger reflexes. These exercises are based on drum rudiments. Ex. 1 is a flam, Ex. 2 is a three-stroke ruff, Ex. 3 is a four-stroke ruff, and Ex. 4 is a five-stroke ruff. What makes the exercises different from standard rudiments is the particular sticking and the specific technique we’ll use to play them. Let’s take a look at Ex. 1, which is the flam.
The standard flam is played with alternating sticking. For finger development, we will play the flam with one hand. Start the flam by dropping your stick toward the drum using a wrist stroke to play the first note (the first little note that makes up the flam is called a grace note). Then, play the quarter-note with a finger stroke and allow your wrist to come back up to the starting position. Repeat this process again for the next flam. To be sure you understand how to execute this technique, let’s apply it to Ex. 4 (five-stroke ruff). Start the ruff by dropping the stick down toward the drum using the wrist to play the first stroke (the first of four grace notes) and play the remaining three grace notes and the quarter-note with the fingers only. After playing the quarter-note, allow the wrist to come back up to the starting position and you’ll be ready for the next five-stroke ruff. Apply this technique to each of the four exercises shown below. If my written explanation sounds confusing, don’t worry. Once you see my video demonstration, it will all become clear.
Note that although I’m repeating each exercise only once on the demo, in practice you should repeat each exercise at least 20 times. Use a metronome set to a slow tempo when starting your fast finger workout. Practice at this slow tempo daily for a couple of weeks to allow your muscles and reflexes to get comfortable with the movement and to build endurance. Then, move the tempo up a notch and repeat each of the four exercises for another week or two. Eventually, you should be able to increase your speed to that shown on the video clip.
Repeat each exercise a m inimum of 20 times using only the right hand. Then repeat another 20 times using only the left land.
See the accompanying video clip for a detailed description of the finger and stick-drop technique to be used in the above exercises.
It Takes Time To Play Fast!
Developing speed, power, endurance, and control can’t be accomplished overnight. It takes time to develop the required muscles and reflexes. Exactly how much time varies with each person and also depends on the amount of practice time you put in. By adding the above four exercises to your daily routine and practicing them regularly, you will eventually be able to develop fast fingers!
For questions on this month’s Speed Lesson, you can contact me at http://www.tigerbill.com.