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Preparing to Drum

29th Oct 2014

Quite often, the call of the drum has a way of taking over the senses of the drummer. The need to drum on a Djembe or beat the troubles of the day away on a Cajon drum can lead to frantic and cathartic drumming sessions, easily spanning hours when the motivation is present. Drumming has a wide range of health and wellness benefits that can be personally beneficial to the drummer and to the audience, but it is ultimately the health and wellness of the drummer that can be at risk when proper measures are not put into place prior to drumming.

As drumming is a physical activity, it should be noted that injuries and permanent damage can occur, even for the most skilled and talented drummer. Hand drumming runs several physical risks for the drummer, including repetitive stress injuries and tendonitis. Because of the nature of this type of drumming and the positions used for drumming, it is not uncommon for the shoulders, neck and upper back to feel tired, strained or stressed. A drummer should always stretch those muscles prior to drumming for any length of time, as well as remember that proper posture is important for both the body, and can also impact the sound of the drum. Injuries to the hand can also occur while drumming, especially when considering the placement of hardware on a hand drum, and long drumming sessions can cause blisters, cracked skin and general soreness of the hand.

Great Hands Diary Episode 5: RSI and Drumming

For drummers that stand, injuries and accidents can occur as noted above, but can also be a result of faulty hardware or irregular placement of the drum or drums. When setting up drum stands and equipment, be sure to tightly secure all hardware that the right height for the drummer, to lessen the chance of malfunction or stress on the neck, back and shoulders. If a drummer is strapped to the drum, always check to be sure the strap is at the appropriate length, as well, and be sure to stand with the shoulders back to align the spine, lessening the effects of carrying a drum over long periods of time.

Drumming is a tremendous outlet for creativity, and gives back to both the drummer and audience through the act of drumming and the music played. Keeping the good vibes going can be a matter of practicing some proactive measure before drumming, including stretching, posture considerations and the general maintenance and management of drumming equipment.