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Taps - Your Drumline's Secret Weapon

I remember learning biology in 9th grade and discussing the importance of water. Life as we know it does not exist without it and man cannot live without water. For rudimental drumming, replace the word water with taps.

Taps are often overlooked in music. Drumlines tend to focus on the accents to line up passages, rather than the taps between them. In most musical scores, there are disproportionately more taps than accents. When watching your favorite DCI or WGI videos, observe the multitude of taps being played.

But why does this matter? It matters because the drumline’s success in clarity is dependent on the balance and rhythmic accuracy of the taps. All battery music is comprised of dynamics, rudiments, and rhythms. Poor clarity is a result of non-uniform taps player-to-player as the snares, quads, and basses move between rhythms and rudiments.Questions to ask yourself next time as you move through your music:

  1. Were my taps more staccato due to tighter grip on more difficult phrases?

  2. Did my tap heights greatly increase and decrease based on the rudiment?

  3. Were my taps impacted rhythmically and lacked mathematical accuracy due to the rudiment?

The combination of these 3 phrases leads to most dirt in your drumline. So how do you fix it? Just like water is the basis of life, you need to treat your taps as the basis of drumming. Play low 8-on-a-hand and notice how relaxed your taps are. Or for a more advanced player, drum some flam accents and observe your relaxed grip on the taps. The goal is to feel relaxed on ALL rudiments and rhythms. The taps need to rebound and feel just as good on low 8-on-a-hand as they do on paradiddles, inverts, singles, etc. The balance of taps throughout any phrase is the foundation for building speed and hand balance. The sign of a truly elite player is the consistency of their taps throughout any musical phrase. Build  the foundation on your tap sound not your accents. Similar to building your house on rock, not on sand. Author: Matthew Regua

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