Learn How To Play Quads/Tenors

I often get the question, “What advice would you give to someone who is learning quads for the first time?” In many ways, this question is very easy to answer, but of course, one must practice the concepts I’m about to lay out and work to understand the multitude of layers within the art of Tenor Drumming. That being said, one must start somewhere right? :)

So if you are new to Tenor Drumming or if you are interested in learning more about it, here are some basic concepts that you will need to get started:

1.) Be as loose as you possibly can - In order to play 4,5 or even 6 drums, you can’t have any tension when moving around the drums. So stay relaxed from the shoulders down and try to avoid any tension anywhere below the shoulders (hands, wrists, fingers, etc).

2.) Know the “zones” - In addition to playing loose, playing within the “zones” helps you with your efficiency. When playing drum 1 to drum 3 for example, you want to hit at the edges that are closest to each drum. If you play outside of that zone, you’ll be traveling much farther and therefore will be working a lot harder than you need to. Not to mention the zones give you the best tones out of the drums as well.

3.) Be able to to execute on 1 drum first - As a private lesson teacher, I always start quad players on one drum first. Once they can play an exercise (for example) somewhat proficiently on one drum, I’ll have the student start trying to around patter for that exercise. All the while, I stress the need to maintain the need to play as if they were playing on one drum. For example, some students may want to slice their sticks sideways when moving from drum to drum. But when you play on one drum, the stroke is up and down, so even around the drums, you want to maintain the up and down stroke as if you were playing on one drum.

Well, that’s the basic gist of it! But if you are really serious about getting good at quad drumming fast and want the best tips to get you really rockin’ and rollin’, then you’ll want to check out #quadphilosophy

For more context, you can check out this fun little video I made to help beginning quad players out so they can get started:

Karl Arrieta