Tenor Drums (quads)

    The tenor mallet is held comfortably between the thumb and first finger with the fulcrum around the smallest part of the AT-1.  The mallet follows the natural inside crease of the hand at the base of the fingers and the remaining fingers are wrapped comfortably around the stick.  THERE SHOULD BE NO DAYLIGHT VISIBLE BETWEEN THE THUMB AND FIRST FINGER, EVER!  Playing position for both hands should be as low to the drums as possible, so that when at rest, the mallets are parallel to the floor and the beads are one half inch above the surface of the drums.  When in playing position, the crease of the thumb and first finger should be at a 40-degree angle in relationship to the playing surface.  Arms should hang naturally down either side of your body.  They should not be tight against the body, nor pushed out away from the body.  Both of these scenarios create tension and thus reduce efficiency.  Shoulders need to be low and relaxed at all times.


    All strokes in the tenor line are VERTICAL!  Basic strokes must be mastered on one drum before one is to move around the drums.  The forearms provide lateral movement around the drums.  The arms should not be used for downward momentum unless it is called for in the music.  This is rare, and does not need to be discussed at this point.  When playing a grouping of two, three, or even four notes that move around the drums, all notes must be played vertically.  We do this for a number of reasons.  The first one is that the technique in the hands does not need to change to move around the drums.  Everything should feel the same to your hands on one drum as it does around the drums.  The second reason is that the sound will be different if the drum is hit at an angle.  A slicing, or sweeping motion will impede your quality of sound tremendously.  The last reason is that you are going to have less control of where the notes are being placed if the motion is not straight down into the drum.  This causes bad playing areas as well as hitting lots of rims.
    To master this approach one must create a separation of vertical and lateral motion.  To best achieve this, the forearms must GLIDE on an imaginary “glass surface” which rests about 1/2 of an inch off the surface of the drum.  This is the same distance one will have his sticks when at rest.  This imaginary surface is called the PLAYING PLANE, and it is the foundation of our approach.  Forearms should carry the wrist from drum to drum while the upper arms rotate around creating a “wind-shied wiper” motion that will naturally place the beads in the correct playing areas on each drum.  Moving the upper arm while playing patterns around is discouraged.       



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