Bret Kuhn on Left and Right hand Techniques
July 22, 2002
Great question concerning the fingers and traditional grip. I will give you some ways to work on both the left and the right hands.
When working on the fingers for the left hand traditional grip, you can start by angling the drum forward as shown in the photographs. (Left hand #1/ Left Hand #2) This way, you can start to learn how to bounce the stick with your index and even middle finger on top of the stick. In the beginning, this usually feels easier. Remember to stabilize your wrist so that it remains motionless. As you become more comfortable with the motion, you can gradually flatten the drum and allow the left hand to move to the normal playing position.
Now you will be pulling your index finger more towards your palm. Again, rebound the stick with out the use of your wrist. (Left hand #5) You can also work on isolating your thumb and using it for rebound as well. Try to maintain your hand in a vertical position to the drum and make sure that your thumb is moving towards the bead of the stick. Again, remaining motionless with the wrist.
You can even hold the bottom of your left hand with your right hand to remind you to keep it stationary. (Left hand #3/ Left Hand #4)
With matched grip, we will also work on isolating the fingers without any wrist motion. You can start with the middle finger only, keep your fulcrum set and make sure you don't move up the stick while doing these exercises. (Right hand #1).
Then you will work on your fourth finger only, with an even flow and rebound. (Right hand #2) You then practice switching fingers. Try not to let the sound quality and timing be affected. We should not be able to hear that you are changing fingers. Then, you would begin to work all of the fingers together as a group. Sometimes, I have even had students work on the bottom half of their index finger. If you try this, make sure that you do not lose the fulcrum. This technique with the index finger can also be used with buzz rolls.
These are advanced techniques, so take your time and be patient. Remember, these exercises are for isolating individual parts of the hand, and when you go to play, make sure that you have good hand form and proper grip on the sticks. Good luck and keep drumming.