The key to developing both speed and strength is CONTROL. Here’s a short post with three suggested approaches to help you develop that improved control, with just a few minutes a day of dedicated practice.
1. Use THREE different weights of drum sticks. I use Regal Tip 2B’s, 5A’s, and 7A’s. All are nylon tip.
I start out with the 5A’s and warm up with Single Strokes, very slow, to wake up the wrists. Play as loosely as possible so you feel the tendons doing their wrist support work. I focus on pulling the stick back off of the head as quickly as possible, as though I want it to come back and tap my chest.
Next, I go to Double Strokes, and I spend several minutes just relaxing with this to keep the wrists and fingers very loose. Really feel the stick bouncing on the head, don’t just take it for granted. The idea is to get more in touch with sensation by using simple movements.
After that, I use Single-Stroke Triplets for a few minutes, followed by about three minutes of Six-Stroke Rolls (RLLRRL) to keep the speed in shape. You can also alternate back and forth, one to four measure at a time.
After this series, I switch to the 2B’s. The key is to keep your hands and fingers as relaxed as possible while practicing. Getting tight serves no benefit. Lastly, I switch to the 7A’s, and the leap from heavy to light really wakes the hands up.
2. For all of this warm-up, I also focus on THREE sets of volumes. I start out medium, then very loud, then very soft. I mean, extreme. The leap back and forth from the different volume levels with each set of sticks keeps the sensitivity up, which is what really provides the control. The more in-touch you are with the different feel of the sticks, the more precisely you can play.
3. Lastly, consider using both matched grip and traditional grip with these exercises. If you are familiar with both the French and German tympani grips, you can add some variation to the matched grip.
Try playing 10 minutes with each stick group. At the end of 30 minutes, you will definitely feel like you’ve done something good for your hands.