Snare Drum Warm Ups

Snare Drum Warm Ups

As an educator and professional performer, I have noticed that over the years, my practice time has decreased for one reason or another. I have also noticed that the older I get, the harder it is for me start playing without first warming up. This summer, I decided to sit down and write out a snare drum warm ups/routine that I could do every day that would take 10-15 minutes. Today, I want to present my warm-up and talk about each exercise that comprises the warm-up. I know there are a ton of other warm-ups that have been posted and written down (see below for a brief list). Creating a warm-up routine is an individual process and what works for me will not work for everyone. It is my goal that you will take this warm-up, use it for a couple of weeks, and then begin to create your own. I know that over time, I will be editing and updating this warm-up, but here’s the warm-up as it stands:

Snare Drum Warm-Up

As I was putting together this warm-up, I wanted to accomplish these goals:

1) It had to be 10-15 minutes. If it was longer, I don’t think I would do it every day.
2) It had to hit the major muscle groups and technical demands required to play snare drum.
3) It had to be something I could share and continue to develop/adapt over time.

With that being said, here’s the rationale for the exercises I chose:

A: I wanted to start with 8 in a hand. I have been teaching Percussion Methods this semester (the first time since grad school) and in the Gary Cook book, he uses the term “cloning” when he has both hands play at the same time. The first exercise does 8 in a hand with both hands playing together. Make sure to start at a slow tempo and use a lot a big range of motion to the get the muscles loose. To take this to the next level, use the fulcrum in the back of your hand to warm up the big muscles in your arm.

B: Now that the blood is flowing, I wanted to do some singles. I use Tempo Advance’s speed up function to increase the speed of the metronome by 2 every time I repeat this exercise. This allows me to start slow and increase the speed gradually throughout the exercise.

C: Next are paradiddles. This is the first time I start to use my arms as I do a wrist lift to execute the accents. To make it different, I start the exercise with triple paradiddles.

D: Next are flams. I go back to 8 on a hand and add flams at the beginning. This also introduces the down stroke on the last eighth note of each measure.

E: More flams. This incorporates 4 flam rudiments that are very common in the Wilcoxin Rudimental books. As I was growing up, I didn’t practice Flamacues beginning on the LH as much as I should have and this helps to work on them.

F: After 8-9 minutes, my hands are ready for rolls. I like to work on double and triple/multiple bounce rolls during my warm-ups so I can work on my fine motor skills. I generally do these exercises for 30 seconds and then switch hands. Make sure that once you start you don’t change the tempo.

G: Long Rolls. Just Relax!

That’s it. Try it out and let me know what you think. What is missing? What do you like and dislike?

Here are some other snare drum warm-up routines:
1) Master Technique Builders for Snare Drum: Actual Daily Practice Routines Used by The Professionals
Cirone has compiled warm-up routines from some of the greatest teachers and professionals. This is an excellent book and great place to start if you are developing your out routine.
2) Jeff Queen’s 10 Minute Warm-Up
3) Left Hand Workout and Snare Drum Warm-ups by Frank Gibson Jr.


Originally posted on on September 29, 2013.

The photo in this post is courtesy of Yamaha Percussion.

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