When you play your drum, be it djembe, congas or a kit, how tempting is it to slouch over? Resist the urge! Proper posture is the first step to playing with the professionals.
After the news of Phil Collins' retirement from drumming as a consequence of back surgery to repair dislocated vertebrae injured due to poor posture while playing on the last Genesis tour, drummers are looking for ways to prevent similar damage to their spines. After all, if Collins had kept posture in mind, he might be playing for another fifty years!
Though beginners should learn to practice good posture from the beginning, it's as important to learn for a veteran.
Darcy Macrae, drummer for the National Tour of the Broadway Musical "Wicked," stated that "As far as posture at the drums is concerned, it's important to sit in a comfortable position with your thighs parallel to the floor, back straight up, and arms as relaxed as possible." Keeping your body straight will prevent any stress from accumulating on your back. Try sitting upright the next time you play a show, and notice how different you feel.
In terms of better playing, practicing better posture can make it easier to play the lower drums when your legs are kept at 45 degree angles, which allow you to move your heels up and down on the pedals. One of the most important aspects of being able to move your legs as needed is choosing the right drum throne. Buy whatever throne is the best quality in your price range. Macrae suggests the Roc N Soc saddle throne, claiming that it provides "great support all around."
In addition to buying the right drum throne, you need to make sure you have your seat at the right height. The height varies for each drummer depending on their own height and the build of the throne. You need enough space to be able to move your knees up and down; so be sure that your thighs slope downward towards the floor, making it easier to kick the bass drum.
As with practicing any instrument, it's imperative to remain relaxed. Keeping your breathing even helps keep your body relaxed, preventing tension from impeding your practicing. Be sure that no matter how comfortable you get, you don't sacrifice your hand grip technique, as too much relaxation in this respect can create a serious problem in your playing. Yoga is a great exercise that can combine physical exertion with relaxation, leading to the importance of staying in shape.
Drummers who keep their physical health in mind tend to me better drummers, because they have better control, can stretch farther, and play longer. Remember how physically trying drumming can be - staying in shape is integral to your success.
Whether you're doing a quick practice or you're planning on playing for hours, performing with better drum posture is a quote to playing better and longer than ever before. The professionals are working on their posture - shouldn't you be thinking about your posture too?