An Introduction to Cross Sticking on Timpani

When you have timpani music that requires you to play quickly from one drum to the next we often have to cross stick if the tempo is very fast. I’m talking about something like this where you play 4 sixteenth notes on the high drum starting with your right hand and then 4 sixteenth notes.

In the example below the sticking indicates that you should always play with alternating strokes.

cross sticking timpani exercise 1

Practicing your cross sticking helps to develop a fluid timpani stroke as well as the dexterity to play difficult and fast passages.

Also play this passage starting on the left hand.

cross sticking timpani exercise 2

The Tricky Part of Cross Sticking on Timpani

When you cross stick your wrist rolls over and you will be playing the drum with your palm down instead of how you would play normally with your palm sideways. You also have to move your other hand for its next stroke very quickly so these two techniques require some extra practice.

In the following video I’ll demonstrate these two cross sticking patterns.

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