Finger technique or finger control of the snare drum stick is an important skill for every percussionist to practice. It is a necessary technique to have for playing fast single strokes, playing quietly as well as general playing all around.
Practice playing the exercise 8 on a hand where you play 8 strokes with your left then 8 strokes with your right then you alternate for 16 strokes at twice the speed, but only use your fingers.
This is a little easier said than done I understand. In order to develop the control of the stick with your fingers experiment by playing upside down on an air drum.
Check out the video lesson on Finger Control to see what I’m talking about.
When you’re playing the drum in the upside right position keep your fulcrum firm between your thumb and your fore finger’s first knuckle and wrap your remaining fingers around in a relaxed manner ensuring that at least your second and third fingers are in constant contact with the stick. Just like a teeter totter you should be able to move the stick with just the fingers and let gravity pull the stick back down toward the drum.
If you have trouble and your wrist wants to also move while you practice this play with one hand at a time and use your free hand to hold your wrist in place so it won’t move.
Don’t try to play any fast than you can play being very relaxed. The only way to develop good finger technique is to be relaxed.
Eight On a Hand to Develop Finger Control in Your Drumming
It’s a good idea to always start an exercise like this with your weaker hand. I’m Right Handed so I want to start with my Left hand so that I spend enough time on developing my weak side. Obviously, if you’re Left Handed you should work more on your Right so that things will balance out for you technique wise.
- Only use your fingers to move the stick. NO WRIST OR ARM!
- Only play as fast as you can do so being loose and relaxed. If there is any tension in your fingers, wrists, arms, etc slow back down. It’s better to build up your speed slowly over time.