Stick to Hand Alignment/Drawbridge Exercise

  • The first thing to do is to find the balance point of the stick (which is the flag on a Vic Firth stick)
  • To test out the balance point or if you don’t have Vic Firth sticks, you can try the “basketball exercise.” Create a fulcrum by placing your index and thumb fingers at about ⅓ from the butt end of the stick.  Using your free hand, dribble the stick just like a basketball.  The balance point is the area where the stick bounces the most effortlessly.  If your fulcrum is too high on the stick, it will be back-heavy and won’t bounce quickly and if your fulcrum is too far back,  it won’t barely bounce at all.
  • Now that you’ve established this point, place our middle finger on the  balance point.
  • The butt of the stick will rest against your palm at a 7 o’clock position.  The centre of your palm being the 6 o’clock position. We are looking for the 7 o’clock position.  Avoid going past the 7 o’clock position into the 8 o’clock position, where your fingers begin to curl.
  • Now, press your 3 fingers flat against the stick.
  • The other important contact point will be just outside the first knuckle of your index finger. You should see a skin crease in that area of your hand.
  • Now turn your hand over and let the stick rest in the centre of your practise pad while balancing primarily over the fingerprint of your middle finger.
  • For now, your thumb and index finger will create an inverted U shape.  Later the thumb and index finger will attach to the stick, but for now we are working on getting the right alignment within the hand.
  • To practise the drawbridge exercise, Keep the shoulder relaxed and your elbows resting by your sides without squeezing them against your ribs.
  • Now slowly, bring the stick into your hand and press the stick against the 2 contact points within the hand that we spoke about.  The fingers should flatten as the stick presses into your palm.  As the stick comes back down to the pad, the fingers should return to a natural curled position.
  • When the stick is resting on the pad the wrist is falling forward when the fingers squeeze the stick in, the wrist aligns with the forearm.

The stick should align with 2 important points in the hand.  The first is just inside the big joint of your index finger.  There is a line in your skin that you can match it to.  Avoid having the stick in the centre of the inverted U.

For the second point, find the 6 o’clock position inside your hand.  Now rotate the stick to about 7:00 o’clock and gently wrap your middle, ring and pinkie over the stick and squeeze slightly. This gentle squeezed will flatten out your fingers against the stick. 

Now, turn your hand over and let the stick come down to the pad.  Like a drawbridge practise slowly bringing the stick back into your hand.  Make sure your fingers are flat.

Make sure the stick is nicely balanced over your middle finger.  Do the basketball exercise.  In order to utilize rebound, it’s important to understand the concept of fulcrum.  The term fulcrum basically means a lever point.  Picture a see-saw.  This a foundational element for good drumming technique.  In the german grip, we use the middle finger as our main fulcrum because it is perfectly positioned with our palm facing downward.  In the case of the french grip, the fulcrum becomes the index finger.

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