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Percussion Technique

Image by Lasse Møller

A really good way to develop your drumming and hand techique, is to study the snare drum

(or drum kit) alongside hand drumming (djembes, congas, timbaus).  

However you can develop your playing by literally tapping your thighs!

When walking down the street, tap a pattern on your legs with your walking steps as the pulse..

Practise tapping 'caterpillar caterpillar caterpillar caterpillar' on your legs (hand to hand)

That's the same as counting '1 e & a 2 e & a 1 e & a 2 e & a' ... or indeed the same as reading the notes below. These notes are known as semi-quavers or 16th notes.


Rudiments are excellent exercises to develop your stick playing. Singles, doubles and paradiddles are a good place to start.


Rudiments can be played with sticks, on a hand drum, practise pad, table, cushion... anywhere!

Singles: Playing 4 evenly spaced notes, going from right hand to left, continuously...




Brazilian Swing is a tricky ol' thing

Swing describes the feel of the music. It is the lilting way that rhythms are played. Brazilian swing feels somewhere between a jog and skip. The opposite would be a straight feel, more like a march.

Swing is something that defines samba music. It's what makes samba different from any other musical style.

To understand swing, first it's best to listen. You can hear the swing most in instruments such as the caixa (snare drum), caxixi's and ganzas (shakers) and the pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine).

Canta Canta Minha Gente - Martinho da Vila (Music only)

'Sing sing my people, leave your sadness behind'

Banho Cheiroso - Rita Ribeira (music only)

'A lovely smelling bath'

Once you've got your single strokes down, have a go playing them along with one of the recordings. Can you feel or hear the swing?

More coming soon...

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I state here in good faith that I have included video links within this page completely for the purposes of teaching and research and that my action, i.e. my inclusion and sharing of it here is not for the purpose of anyprofit.

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