BY TIGER BILL MELIGARI
In 2004 I broke some records at the NAMM World’s Fastest Drummer Competition for hand and foot speed. Today, I still get questions from drummers asking how I developed that speed. This lesson will bring you some of my favorite drills designed to bring the heat in a hurry to your hands.
The best approach I’ve found to developing hand speed up to 1,000 bpm (beats per minute) and beyond, is to concentrate on developing equal speed in each hand. Although the exercises that follow use both hands, they are specifically designed to favor the development of your weaker hand. Once you get the speed of your weak hand equal to that of your dominant hand, you’ll find it much easier to increase your overall hand speed. If you’re not sure which hand is the weakest, simply set a metronome speed at quarter notes and try playing 4 strokes (sixteenth notes) to each metronome click with your right hand only. Keep increasing the metronome speed until you can no longer keep up. Mark down the top metronome speed you were able to reach with your right hand and repeat this drill using your left hand. Once you find out which of your hands is fastest, the opposite one is your weak hand.
Study the written exercises below. The lines marked Sare to be played with your strong hand and the lines marked W are to be played with your weak hand. Practice daily and use a notebook to keep track of your progress. Write down each exercise along with a metronome tempo. Start with a speed you can easily play without tension. At first, repeat each two-bar phrase for at least one minute non-stop. After you become comfortable playing the exercises separately, then practice playing the exercises straight through repeating each two-bar phrase only once. Try to increase your metronome speed by a notch or two each day and record your progress in your notebook.
These exercises, and the ones that follow in future lessons, are designed to help you develop the ability to play continuous sixteenth notes (four to each metronome click) with one hand. For example: If you want to reach a goal of 1,000 bpm, and be counted among the world’s fastest drummers, you must be able to play all of the exercises in the first four parts of this six-part series at a metronome speed of quarter note equals 125 bpm (125 x 4 equals 500 bpm). Once you can play at 500 bpm with either hand, executing 1000 bpm with both hands is just a small step away!
If you have questions on this month’s lesson, visitTension Free DrummingUntil next time, have fun and stay loose!
Tiger Bill Meligari