Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hey! my left hand sucks dude!! Strengthening your left hand for drumming.

 For all the drummers out there.!

In my discussions with many drummers, i have noticed that all we drummers tend to ignore our left hand (assuming all the right handed drummers) and we miss a lot of potential hidden in that left hand which generally remains unused. In fact, i  ignored that for couple of years, till the time i felt the need to work on it seriously, and eventually i started working on it recently.

Here are a few reasons why we do not concentrate  on our left hand :-

  1. We do not bother or care to develop individual limbs as we are always busy making and playing nasty and complex grooves. That is the bottom line for all the drummers i guess.
  2. Generally, we do not find any reason or need to do so.
But what i personally feel is that all drummers should work on all the limbs INDIVIDUALLY, and especially concentrating on the weaker limbs. This will not only make you a better drummer, but it will also open new doors of possibilities and creativity for you.

How to achieve this?

I read a couple of exercises on the web and some books, some worked for me . I am sure these will work for you as well:- 

Before you get started, make sure that you follow these:- 
  1. To begin with, keep it in your mind that miracles do not happen overnight. This will take time. Just be consistent and patient with this.
  2. Practicing 15 minutes daily is better than practicing for 2 hours, once a week. The idea is to exercise your muscles regularly.
  3. Use all your gears for a consistent ride. You have to train your fingers, your wrist, and your hands collectively. Many drummers make it a rigid rule of either using their fingers or the wrists. But to get a better control and variation, we should to learn to use all the 3 gears  i.e. your fingers, wrist and arms.But the maximum usage will be that of your wrist and fingers only.
  4. Start off slow and gradually build your speed with stamina. Try starting with 60-80 BPM.
  5. Try to practice on a surface that offers less rebound or gives you a descent resistance. This will give you a good workout.
  6. Rudiments seems boring! but trust me , they work..
  7. Try not to accent the notes while practicing. Watch that both the sticks produce almost the same sound.
  8. Listen to what you play.  It is as important as playing.

  1. LLLL RRRR ( Quarter note)
  2. LLLLLL RRRRRR ( Triplets)
  3. LLLLLLLL RRRRRRRR (8th notes)
  5. LRLRLL LRLRLL LRLRLL LRLRLL ( triplet feel)
  6. LLRLLRLL LLRLLRLL ( 8th Notes)
  7. Also try to make your own grooves and rolls in which your left hand takes the lead.
  8. This one is a little tricky- If you want to have real fun, put your Hi Hat and snare on the right side of the kit and bring your floor tom to your left. And then try playing the usual stuff with Hi hat from your left hand and the snare from from your right. I am sure you will find this one real challenging.
  9. Practice buzz rolls and other rolls starting with your left hand.
  10. Practice the above exercises for about 3-4 mins each. Give additional 5 mins to the weaker hand after every practice.

Well these are my views on strengthening your left hand as I tried these and found them effective. I noticed the improvement within 3 weeks. I am sure that the  readers might have more challenging and innovative exercises and ideas  which i would love to learn. Please share those.

Happy Drumming!! 

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