Rhythm Road: A Guide To Drumming

Why Should You Want to Be a Drummer

Drumming is the act of striking something to create sound. Many people drum without realizing they are. The act of pencil tapping or even clapping your hands along with a song could be seen as drumming. Drums can be used in a variety of genres. Some examples of drummers playing in different genres are Alex Van Halen who played rock music, Elvin Jones who played jazz, and Winston Grennan who played reggae music. There is a different type of drum for almost any genre

What exactly is a drum?

A drum is a percussion instrument that you strike with drumsticks or hands to create sound. Drums are hollow, typically cylindrical, and are covered on one or two ends with a tight membrane. There are many types of drums but in this blog, I will be talking about the snare drum. The snare drum is one of the most common drums in music. It is used in orchestras, ensembles, drum kits, as well as in marching bands. The snare drum is made up of 4 main components. These components are the drum head, shell, snare wires, and strainer. The drum head is the membrane at the top of the drum, and it is the part that is struck during playing. The shell is the sides of the drum, different materials such as wood or metal can give the drum a different sound. Snare wires are stretched at the bottom of the drum, and vibrate when the head is struck, the tension of the wires plays a big role in how the drum sounds. Finally, the strainer is a mechanism attached to the shell that is used to change the tension of the snare wires.

How to Hold Your Sticks

There are many ways to hold your drumstick but in this post, I will be explaining match grip. To hold your sticks you first need to place your thumb about one-third up from the bottom of the stick. Secondly, you place your pointer finger across your thumb on the other side of the stick as if you are pinching a bug. Third, you wrap the rest of your fingers around the stick under your thumb and pointer finger. Lastly, while you hold the stick the back of your hand should be facing up.


When you play the snare drum most of the movement is in your wrist. There should not be a lot of arm movement unless you are trying to do tricks with your sticks or if the piece requires it. You are supposed to flick your wrist when you play as if you are knocking on a door. When playing you should be striving to bring your stick up to a 90° angle along with your wrist before every strike, in some cases, you should play at lower heights to reach different volumes.

How to Read Simple Drum Music

In early drum music instead of focusing on the notes you should be more focused on which hand is playing. If you are just starting, your music should contain quarter notes. Quarter notes are shaped like a circle with a vertical line connected to the side and they take up a full beat. Your early music should have the letters “R” and/or “L”. These letters mean right and left, they tell you which hand is going to play on each note. If it says to play “R L R” this means to strike with the stick in your right hand, then your left, and right again.

What Are Rudiments

Rudiments are drum rhythms that focus on certain parts of your drumming technique to help you improve your overall playing. There are many types of rudiments and many of them have their variations. One rudiment is called a double, or a double-stroke roll. To play doubles you are going to play “R R L L ” for as long as you can at a continuous speed. It is better to try to improve the speed of your doubles because they are the basis of much more complicated techniques such as a drum roll. Another rudiment is called a paradiddle, to play a right paradiddle you are going to play “R L R R”. To play a left paradiddle you are going to play “L R L L”.


This is all that you should need to start off as a snare drummer and I hope that what I have written in this blog can help put you on the road to success in your music career.

Cristian Solorio – Marian Catholic High School – DMSF Class of 2027