BY TIGER BILL MELIGARI
The ability to play at top speed on a single drum is cool but that’s just the beginning. Unless you plan only to play on one drum all your life, you’ll need to develop what I refer to as “mobile” speed. This is what allows you to convert the speed you already have on a single surface to the entire drumset. The trick is to do that without adding any additional muscle tension to your movements.
Welcome to part two in this 3-part series designed to increase your speed and ease of movement around the drumset. It is based on my concepts of Tension Free Drumming, which allows you to play at maximum speed, power, endurance, and precision while maintaining exact control over each stroke. If you missed the first lesson, I suggest you work on that before this one. When practiced in the correct sequence, you will find these exercises to be a tremendous help in developing your mobile chops.
After studying the written exercises, watch the video clip where I demonstrate both the easy and the hard approach to developing speed around the drumset. First, I show you each exercise at a slow tempo and then I play them up to a speed of quarter note equals 200 bpm. Think about the math for a second. Once you can play these drills at a metronome tempo of 200 bpm, you will actually be playing 600 beats per minute with a single hand! Once you can easily move that speed around the entire drumset, you will definitely have added some serious mobile speed to your bag of tricks!
PRACTICING CORRECTLY IS KEY
It’s much easier to play at high speeds on a single drum, while remaining free of tension, than it is when moving around the drumset. But with proper practice, mobile speed can be developed up to the same rate as your static speed – meaning your speed on a single surface. The key is daily practice. Start at very slow tempos and gradually increase your speed over the days and weeks. While you’re gaining speed around the drumset, it is critical to be aware of any increase in muscle tension. If you do feel tension, slow the tempo down a bit and practice until you can play without tension. Then, gradually work the tempo back up again while making sure you are not adding any tension to your movements. Practice these single-handed exercises until they become second nature This will make the third and final lesson in our series much easier to play.
If you have a question concerning this lesson, feel free to post it in a comment below or email me atinfo@TigerBill.com.
Until next time: Stay loose and have fun!
Tiger Bill Meligari