Snare drum basics

This evening was the second of the London Composers Forum percussion workshops so I trekked out to deepest darkest Surrey for the evening. This evening we looked at snare drum basics – we were taught how to hold drumsticks properly (actually harder than it sounds) and do (very slow) one-stroke rolls, two-stroke rolls and paradiddles. Our tutor is very keen to demonstrate the difference between drummer thinking and other musicians’ thinking and so we did an exercise where he conducted, starting off in strict time and then introducing rubato – amazing how difficult it became to keep track of what was needed without the phrasing of a melody (or even an inner part) to guide. And of course with drums, there’s no fudging the timing like there is with a sustained note – it’s either on the beat, or it’s not. Very interesting. Tonight’s score-reading was Bartók, which was great. For some reason, I’ve never got around to listening to any of his music before – evidently, on tonight’s showing, he’s well worth listening to – going to make an effort there.

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