Weak left hand

NEWWORLDMAN

Junior Member
So- just getting back into drumming. I'm working in rudiments on a pad with a metronome. My left hand us literally about half the speed and the strokes are much lighter than my right. My question is: I'm doing single hand exercises. I can play 16's steady at around 80 BPM with my right, but only 55 BPM with my left. Should I stay at the same bpm's for both hands until my left catches up, or continue working on each hand at their respective comfortable bpm's (bumping up 5 bpm's after 5 minutes)? Also- any good resources out there on how to read drum notation? I can read basic notation, straight 1/4, whole, half, 16, 32nd, sixtuplets, etc., but get confused on rests, dotted notes, etc. Thanks
 

simianhacker

Junior Member
Play to your slowest hand, otherwise you will always have an imbalance. Work on a 8 on a hand consistently everyday. Try and do 3x strokes with your left hand as your right. At this point your right doesn't need as much work. Be patient it's going to take a while for it to catch up.

I would also only going as fast as you can cleanly play. If that means you're stuck at 55 bpm (but they are all perfect) for a month, that's ok. Think of it like weight lifting, you need to build up your muscles and endurance. Go up 5 bpm but drop back down once they get dirty.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Try leading with your left about twice as much as the right when practicing snare drum/pad stuff. Practice in front of a mirror and correct any weird motions you see, and make sure you're getting an even sound out of both hands. I'd be seeing how much of the first three sections of stick control I could play through in a practice session. Endless fast singles are not the only thing to work on, so don't just gauge your success on that.

Oh, if you're having problems reading rhythm, play through Syncopation/Ted Reed on the snare drum, or get any intermediate or beginning snare drum book-- Mitchell Peters, Garwood Whaley, Podemski-- and play through it. You can figure it out.
 

JohnW

Silver Member
All of the above advice. But occasionally throw in an exercise where you mix up eighths and sixteenths, say L_L_L_L_/LLL_LLL_ or L_L_L_L_/L_L_LLL_ (and with the right, of course). This way, you're not taxing your hands so much but can work at a slightly faster tempo. As your left hand gets better, you should work on balancing your hands as well- Still eighths and sixteenths but maybe: L_L_L_L_/LRLRLRLR/L_L_L_L_/LRLRLRLR. And as simianhacker says, "Play to your slowest hand". Agreed. Though I would qualify that to say "...but at the volume of your strongest hand." Bring your left hand up to meet the level of your right, don't drop your right down to meet your left, within reason. So as you're trying to build up, work on medium to loud strokes with a full range of motion. But also work on playing quietly.

Try different surfaces as well: hard & soft pad, snare, floor tom, pillow, moon-gel pad, etc. The object of the softer surfaces like a pillow isn't to muscle things out by slamming the sticks down, but to lift the stick up after each stroke. You'll build stamina and feel each stroke. The object of the bouncier surfaces is to control the stick- not over control it; you're letting the stick do the work. But you're also not throwing the stroke away.

Cleanliness and control is the goal, but you may experience dirt and slight tension, at least temporarily, when you increase tempo. If it's more than a moment, take a break and go back to it. If it keeps happening, drop the tempo back down a bit. You don't have to go in 5 or 10 BPM increments either. One day that may work and another day it may be a challenge to go 1 or 2 BPM faster. And concentrated practice is the key. 10 minute sessions with purpose; where you're practicing at your limit or trying to push past it will get you much further than an hour of playing in your comfort zone.

Anyway, this is my opinion. Although I reserve the right to edit it after reviewing in the sanitized light of day, tomorrow.
 

NEWWORLDMAN

Junior Member
Thanks all. It's all appreciated and valued advice. It helps a lot and I will get to working on it. I now have a new goal: to one day be in the position to help someone with my experience.
 
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