Taking Care of Your Hands: Part I
Ultimately your actual instrument in hand drumming is your hands.
Taking care of your drums is a good thing, but the most important thing to take care of is your hands.
The millions of different types of percussion instruments are all fancy, flash, gorgeous, and interesting, but they do not play themselves. Without your hands and fingers, they make no noise at all. Or, even worse, when beat on with sticks (artificial fingers) or drum beaters (artificial palms) they sound hollow, soulless and sad.
There is a warmth to the tone of a hand playing a drum which is why literally hundreds of thousands of years into human evolution and thousands of years of history we are still drawn to it. It is the contact that matters most.
But, there is a cost to all of that wonderful sound.
Drummers can suffer all sorts of injuries to their hands, from simple bruises all the way to fractures. When we strike the muscles in our fingers are compressed against the bones of our fingers, and if we strike too hard are sometimes compressed AROUND the bone. The skin stretches and gathers, sometimes tearing, sometimes snapping.
Not for the faint of heart, or the easily offended, but check out a super slow motion film clip of a martial artist breaking a brick here:
It is awesome, and also nasty, to look at. Each time the hand strikes a solid object it will flex around that object and then recoil to its normal shape. Certainly a martial artist is striking much harder than a drummer, but the effect is essentially the same. This happens hundreds, if not thousands, of times in a single performance by a drummer.
No wonder drummers break their bones, bruise their muscles, and blister or split their skin! Yikes!
With this series of posts I hope to share some of the remedies and exercises I have learned about to not only recover quickly from injury, but to prevent injuries in the first place.