lessons

How To Play Accents With Fast Fingers

Last month we worked on four of my favorite exercises for developing fast finger reflexes. This time, I’ll show you how to add accents to your fast finger technique. If you haven’t already perfected last month’s lesson, “How To Develop Fast Fingers,” I suggest you do that before attempting this one. When you’re ready to continue, read on.

While there are various techniques you can use to produce tension-free accents, most of them include getting the arm involved in the action. The one we’ll be working on here uses only the fingers to produce the accent. The four exercises shown below are similar to last month’s, except that each quarter-note is now accented.

Let’s take a look at Ex. 1. Start the flam by dropping your stick toward the drum using a wrist stroke to play the first note (the first little note that makes up the flam is called a grace note). Because the quarter-note is now accented, you’ll still play it with your finger, but you get the accent by snapping your fingers into the palm of your hand while bringing your wrist back up to its initial starting position. Be sure that you do this without tension!

Now apply the same accenting technique to Ex. 4 (5-stroke ruff). Start the ruff by dropping the stick down toward the drum using the wrist to play the first stroke (the first of four grace notes) and play the remaining three grace notes with the fingers. To play the accented quarter-note, snap the fingers into the palm of your hand (without getting tense) while raising your wrist back to the starting position. You will now be ready for the next 5-stroke ruff.

Apply this technique to each of the four following exercises. If my written explanation is confusing, don’t worry. Watch my video demonstration and you’ll see exactly how to apply the technique.

Drum Key
Repeat each exercise a minimum of 20 times using only the right hand and repeat another 20 times using only the left hand.

Video Lesson

Note that although I repeat each exercise only once on the demo, you should repeat each one at least 20 times during your workout. To make the accented quarter-note really stand out when practicing, you have to make certain that you don’t accent the unaccented notes. While not easy to accomplish, this can be done with practice. Just be sure to use a metronome and start out at a slow, comfortable tempo. Practice every day at the slow tempo for a couple of weeks to condition your muscles. Then move the tempo up a notch and repeat each of the exercises for another week or two. Eventually, you should be able to increase your speed to that shown on the video while playing tension-free accents!

Only Proper Practice Makes Perfect!
For further study, try practicing the above four exercises while replacing all rests with the pattern that appears prior to each rest. While finger accents can be frustrating to learn, they will become easier with regular practice. Once you finally perfect this finger accenting method, I’m sure you’ll find it a useful addition to your drumming bag of tricks.

For questions on this month’s lesson, you can contact me at http://www.tigerbill.com.

Stay loose!

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