Taking Care of Your Hands: Part III
Preventing Bruises and Breaks:
Having talked about the type of injuries drummers can sustain here are some tips to make sure that bruises and breaks don’t happen to your hands.
Build hand strength gradually.
It takes time and repetition to strengthen the bones and condition the muscles and ligaments in your hands to accept the pounding they take during a performance.
If you are only playing casually, just picking up the drum for five or ten minutes a couple times a week and then you play a forty minute set you have a much greater chance of injuring yourself than if you are conditioned by practicing thirty minutes a day, everyday.
Learn, develop, and practice precision.
Learn to hit the drum in the correct spot, with the correct part of your hand.
This is what drummers mean when they talk about precision. Precision will lead to two very desirable outcomes. Precision creates good and deliberate tone. Make the sounds you want to make, on purpose, consistently.
But of equal, if not greater importance, is that precision prevents injuries. Hitting the Tek with the muscle that covers the underside of the distal phalanx of your finger tip (which creates good tone and doesn’t hurt) instead of hitting the Tek with the bone that is not protected by muscle on the inside of your knuckle (which creates bad tone and leads to screaming swear words) is a difference of maybe a quarter of an inch in position.
Play with the proper amount of power.
Do not hit the drum hard.
Force does not equal volume. Technique does. Smashing the drum with an open hand as hard as you can is going to get you nothing but a loud and muddled slapping sound. And also get you hurt when you miss and smack your finger tip against the rim.
Hold your hand in the correct position. Strike firmly, but with control. Make sure that you are rebounding to allow the sound to expand, instead of holding your hand onto the drum head by hitting too hard and choking the sound off.
I know I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: You are playing with the drum, not beating it into submission.
Keep your hands loose and relaxed.
This is crucial. If your hands are clenched tightly into claws and you hit something your hands will have no give, and they will break and not bend.
Be soft. Be flexible. Stay relaxed.
Not only will you be preventing injury, but your tone will dramatically improve, your speed will increase and you will suddenly have far more stamina than you did before when you were clawing at the drum.