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Bobby Jarzombek’s Stick Twirling 101

Put It All Together

Playing & Twirling

Now that you’ve got a handle on the twirls, the next step is to learn to perform them while playing various patterns. And that comes down to keeping time. You can just tap your foot to provide the pulse but it’s better to use a metronome. Practicing with a metronome will help you develop the twirls in rhythm, making them more even and consistent, which is imperative when alternating right- and left-hand twirls.

Twirls 1-5 are great to use while playing, because they’re very visual and can be performed quickly. This is important because you should be able to continue drumming with one hand while the other is twirling. Ex. 1-3 are preliminary exercises to get you started. Try playing Ex. 1 while performing The Fake Twirl. Next, try the Matched To Traditional Twirl and the Traditional To Matched Twirl.

Even though both of your hands strike on counts 1 and 3 in Ex. 3, they should be played in unison rather than as a flam. You’ll notice that the same sticking is used in Ex. 4, except that the hands now play together on beats 24. I included the hi-hat in the sticking pattern for this example to create a constant eighth-note groove.

Normally, the right hand plays all the notes when you play an eighth-note hi-hat beat pattern, but by switching off between the right and left hand, you allow yourself time to perform the twirls. Slowly work out the pattern before attempting each twirl. I suggest that you move your hi-hat to a position almost directly in front of the snare drum. This will open up a bit more room without having to crossover when performing the hi-hat/snare pattern and twirls at the same time.

Now that you have the right and left hands playing and twirling at once, add the bass drum. Start with a basic pattern playing on counts 1 and 3 and then gradually experiment to create various rhythms as busy or funky as you like.

You can further the visual effect and add some variety to the twirls by mixing them up. While playing the patterns, try performing Twirl 1 with the right hand while performing Twirl 4 with the left hand, or Twirl 3 with the right hand and Twirl 2 with the left hand. There are tons of possibilities, so have fun!

Bobby Jarzombek has played with Juggernaut, Riot, Spastic Ink, Halford, Iced Earth, and has most recently performed with Sebastian Bach.

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