Everything you need to know before you start playing the drums
Both hands hold the sticks in the same manner: thumbs on the side of the sticks; forefinger opposite the thumb; middle, ring and little fingers curled under the sticks; palms held down, facing the floor.
The right hand is as matched grip, but the left-hand stick is held differently (vice versa for left-handed players). The stick is lodged in the fleshy bit between the thumb and forefinger and the fore and middle fingers curl over the stick, while the ring and little fingers curl under to support the stick.
Also known as ‘crotchets’. If a standard bar of music is regarded as a ‘whole’, then four evenly-spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘quarters’, hence the term ‘quarter note’ (in other words, four beats in a standard bar).
Classically referred to as ‘quavers’. If a standard bar of music is regarded as a ‘whole’ and four evenly-spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘quarters’, then eight evenly-spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘eighths’, hence the term ‘eighth note’ (in other words, eight beats in a standard bar).
Eighth note TRIPLETS
The musical definition of a triplet is ‘three evenly spaced notes occupying the same space as two evenly spaced notes’. With eighth note triplets, three eighth notes would be played in the same amount of time as you’d usually play two eighth notes.
An ostinato is a repeated pattern. This is usually not very long, and is often made up of three or four notes played over and over again in the same pitch. One of the most famous classical drum ostinatos is the snare drum pattern in Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, but contemporary drummers often refer to ‘bass and hi-hat’ ostinatos.
Also known as ‘semi-quavers’. If a standard bar of music is regarded as a ‘whole’, then 16 evenly spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘16ths’, hence ‘16th note’.
Played on the snare by holding the stick at the tip end, laying it across the drum and striking the rim with the ‘butt’ end, keeping the tip in contact with the head.
Played by striking the head and the rim of the drum at the same time. It makes a loud, sonorous sound, good for accents in a snare pattern or heavy rock backbeat.
The ‘batter’ head is the drum head you strike and the ‘resonant’ head is the head on the underside of the drum that gives it a full and resonating sound.