Imagining hit surface

svinohryak

Junior Member
Hi everyone.
I've heard a few times from different people that imagining "hit surface" one inch under the real surface is good thing. Because it's good for sound. And in addition, it can help play "ahead the beat".
What do you think about it?
 
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Ghostnote

Guest
I would offer that the best thing for you to "imagine" is yourself practicing on a pad for an hour everyday.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I feel like that could lead to wrist and/or hand problems. Probably best to be aware of and respectful of exactly where the "hit surface" is. Just my 2 cents.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Well it could be that imagining "hit surface" one inch under the real surface improves the sound because; it helps your hands, sort of, get out of the way after the stick hits the drum. You are letting the stick rebound more. Nothing kills the sound of drums more than when you are pushing the drum stick into the drum head.

Playing ahead of the beat is something that needs to be learned using you musical ear, not your eye sight.


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toddbishop

Platinum Member
It's an OK mental trick to get timid players to play a little bigger, I wouldn't base my entire philosophy and technique around it. Now I try minimize any talk about hitting things and focus more on sound, stick height, and stick velocity. You can get the same effect without creating a bad habit/mindset of muscularly playing into the drum.

Never heard of anything about it making you play ahead of the beat, by the way.
 

mitkoni

Senior Member
I do imagine different surfaces when I practice on a practice pad, but from a sound perspective. Like I will be imagine the sound of different toms or a snare when I'm working on patterns or paradidles. The reason for it is when I'm transferring whatever I'm working to the drum set, the biggest obstacle for me is switching from the constant pad sound to the different and louder sound sources the drums have. It's a bigger adjustment to me then the different rebound from the different tom sizes. I hope that make sense.
 

svinohryak

Junior Member
Thank you for answers.
Toddbishop, you are right about timid players. Playing this way help play on the triangle for instance. Because it's the delicate instrument, and I've seen orchestral percussion player recommends imagining that you hit bottom part of the bar.
Ghostnote, I practice everyday on drums, marimba, vibrophone, xylophone, and cymbals. It doesn't prevent me finding new things for practicing and new tricks for helping be better.
 

lepigpen

Member
This was something I heard mentioned in marching band for newer musicians who just wouldn't hit the damn drum. It's not so much a literal statement as it is a challenge to those feather dusters to hit the damn thing. Fact is, if you're not confident in your drumming you're not going to want to be the loudest drummer in the line.

So the first comment in the thread is actually closest to the truth. Don't imagine the head is an inch further... Practice. Practice and study and watch other drummers and use a metronome and give yourself the confidence to play like the head is wherever you want.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Thank you for answers.
Toddbishop, you are right about timid players. Playing this way help play on the triangle for instance. Because it's the delicate instrument, and I've seen orchestral percussion player recommends imagining that you hit bottom part of the bar.
Ghostnote, I practice everyday on drums, marimba, vibrophone, xylophone, and cymbals. It doesn't prevent me finding new things for practicing and new tricks for helping be better.
The worst is when you have 1 quiet triangle note, and you stand up, get the triangle and beater, set up for the note, and then pull back a little too much and miss the triangle entirely. LOL
 

DrumWild

Senior Member
I've never taken this approach, probably because I had instructors, and I had to play the sheet music, as written. Part of this training involved utilizing dynamics, from ppp to fff and everything between. If this dynamic is written on the sheet music, then that was the dynamic that I had to play.

This approach did not please my poor mother, back before we had electronic drums. I remember her asking my instructor, a man who would later be my college professor, if I could "just practice it quietly and then play it regular at the lesson."

I remember him telling her that this would be a waste of time and money, and that if she wanted me to do this, then she should consider just mailing him checks and not bother bringing me out anymore. "King Richard" Paul was sometimes a "Whiplash" kind of guy.

This justified my request for a practice pad.

The concern associated with imaging the surface in any place other than the surface is that this can lead to bad habits. Imagining it deeper than it is to get louder, or higher than it is to get softer, seems like extra steps.

I saw a drummer last weekend in a small venue with cement floors and cement walls. He was hitting so hard that it was unbearable. He was a good drummer, but too damned loud for the building. Conversely, a few weeks earlier I saw David Raven drumming with JackiO, and he was barely swinging the sticks, and yet came through clearly, even though the amps were cranked up.

EDIT: Here is where you can see David more clearly.

Having the control to mindfully generate the proper volume and dynamic for the song, and then be able to adjust it depending on the venue, definitely takes work.

If the "timid factor" is related to performing in front of others, then that's a completely different beast to overcome. My very first performance in front of a large crowd was in 1980 with my high school band. The drum "line" was tiny, and I was the ONLY snare drummer.

There was no place to hide on that big track in front of almost 14,000 people. Plus, being outdoors and alone on the snare presented the challenge of being loud, and yet still maintaining accents / dynamics.

And you kinda have to dance a bit, too.

So I guess I'm skeptical of the "imaginary surface" approach. As my instructors have always said, from back then up to yesterday, "Perfect practice makes perfect."
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I understand the concept, but doesn't having to alter a perception just get in the way of playing the drum? Seems like creating something extra to think about instead of just bringing the stick down in a way that's natural. Different strokes... it's part of what contributes to our personal styles and makes drummers sound different even behind the same kit.

I'm all for control, but for me it's more interactive with the batter (& cymbals) and is purely tactile, rather than imagining a landing spot in a different place, and then meeting the head when I didn't expect it. I'd be constantly surprised and possibly thrown off. Too much to work around for me.

If trying to play ahead or behind, I simply lower or raise the snare, and play normally. :)

Bermuda
 

svinohryak

Junior Member
DrumWild, maybe it's strange but I've noticed that this approach helps play quiet and in the same time with energy, with moving forward. I play in symphony orchestra and I need it often. You just play through surface and you can do it with any dinamic. Now I think that one inch is too much.
 
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Ghostnote

Guest
Thank you for answers.
Toddbishop, you are right about timid players. Playing this way help play on the triangle for instance. Because it's the delicate instrument, and I've seen orchestral percussion player recommends imagining that you hit bottom part of the bar.
Ghostnote, I practice everyday on drums, marimba, vibrophone, xylophone, and cymbals. It doesn't prevent me finding new things for practicing and new tricks for helping be better.
No offence intended, just trying to be funny. What I was getting at was: I wouldn't worry about gimmicky solutions to manufactured problems. A practice regime concentrating on fundamentals will address any problems which may arise along the way. Want to hit harder? Get your motions down by constant repetition of rudimental exercises, then start to raise your sticks higher to increase the length of each stroke. Easy. Want to learn to play ahead of the beat? Learn to play on rhe beat using a metronome, then work on playing ahead and behind the beat. Easy. Constant, religious repetition of basic concepts will get you there. It takes a lot of time and repetition, but its easy as long as tou have the patience to do it right.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
I was taught this when I started marching drum corps in the mid 1980s, the idea being that playing "through" the head instead of "off" it yielded a better quality sound that projected more. Almost the complete opposite of what I'm going for these days on the kit.
 

DrumWild

Senior Member
DrumWild, maybe it's strange but I've noticed that this approach helps play quiet and in the same time with energy, with moving forward. I play in symphony orchestra and I need it often. You just play through surface and you can do it with any dinamic. Now I think that one inch is too much.
If something is working for you, then I'll be the last person to say it's bad, or to stop. My view is definitely influenced by my training.
 
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