How to Avoid Tension in Your Snare Drum Playing

Tension is the great killer of many things and when we’re speaking of drumming, tension can really cause problems with your tendons. Getting tendonitis is not fun at all. I’ve had it but not from playing drums fortunately (be careful when you clean your swimming pool).

Anyway, if you are experiencing any tension while you play make sure that you’re spending quality practice time playing Stick Control and other chop building exercises, but and I do mean but, do not play any faster than you can play without getting tense anywhere. If you feel the slightest tension pull back on the tempo and remind yourself to relax.

Watch this video demonstration to learn how to loosen up your snare drum play:

Do you Experience Tension while Playing a Closed Roll on the Snare Drum?

Make sure that you are getting enough of a buzz per each of your strokes.

Practice the following exercise very slowly:

closed roll tension exercise sheet music

  • Use a metronome and don’t play any faster than Quarter Note =100
  • Use total relaxation and try to get each buzz to last the full duration of the half note

Play a Triple Bounce Roll

  • R R R L L L R R R L L L R R R L L L etc, etc
  • Speed is not the key of this exercise so play at a relaxed tempo

Play Like You Are Made of Spaghetti

Rather than starting tense and trying to relax it’s better to start completely relaxed and make things the proper degree of firmness.

Play your Triple Bounce Roll as if your hands and wrists were made of limp and wet spaghetti. Don’t worry about accuracy or sounding like you can’t play. Make sure everything is totally relaxed as if you were made of water. Be very fluid in every movement that you make.

While playing your buzz roll as relaxed as possible without dropping the sticks, add some firmness to your grip, but only just enough firmness to start to control your roll. Any sign or feeling in your hands, wrists, elbows, back, shoulders, etc you should make yourself go completely limp.

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