Stick Control

Many of us are familiar with Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone ... especially the first three pages of sticking exercises. I wanted to share some of my ideas and concepts, inspired by my studies with Alan Dawson, on how you can use and expand these stickings, applying them in creative fashion to come up with new grooves, fills, solos, and general coordination around the drumkit or drumset.

Let me first say that if you don't own STICK CONTROL, you need to go out and buy it RIGHT NOW! It's the bible for drummers (and percussionists) ... and you'll use it for the rest of your life. In fact, you can purchase the book right here through the Drummer Cafe by clicking HERE. There's so much more we can do with this book, more than just playing it on the Snare drum or practice pad. If you'd like to learn more, discovering new ways to play and apply these sticking exercises to the drums ... read on!

Select from tabs below; one, two, three or four surfaces.

One Surface

Using One Pitch or Surface

  • Play the sticking exercises as presented in the book.
  • Accent all Right Hand parts.
  • Accent all Left Hand parts.
  • Accent consecutive down beats (meaning beats 1, 2, 3, 4).
  • Accent consecutive up beats (meaning all the "ands" of the beat).
  • Accent in random patterns of your choice.
    NOTE: More extensive use of accents can be found in George Stone's Accents and Rebounds book.
  • Play each exercise (ie. pages 5-7 of Stick Control) in sequence but add 2 bars of quarter notes (4 rights and 4 lefts). Repeat and add 2 bars of eighth notes (8 Rights and 8 Lefts). Make the additions after each numbered exercise.

I encourage you to experiment and come up with your own ideas on how to apply ANY exercise onto your instrument. Remember to practice slowly at first and always use a metronome.

A few other source materials that work well with my application suggestions include (but not limited to):

The possibilities are endless! Create your own, write out the formula and work it until you get each coordination pattern sounding smooth. Always go for musicality while you practice. Once the coordination is down, use dynamics, phrasing, accents, etc., to add interest to your playing. Music notation for other instruments also makes for great study materials (ie. solo transcriptions).