Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. There’s much focus on the ergonomics of working in the office. There are ergonomically designed office chairs and tables that office workers may be more productive. Well, ergonomics is not restricted to the office. It is also important in the area of sports and of playing musical instruments! For this post we would like to share tips for playing drums ergonomically.
Drumming is a physical art just like playing basketball or football. It can cause tendinitis and pain if you do not keep your posture in line while playing drums. If you love drumming and would like to go the long haul, it is crucial for you to take care of your body.
Stool Height For Playing
Have you experienced any discomfort while playing the drums and decided to lower your stool for a better posture? Many drummers may think that lowering the stool may help with proper ergonomics to playing the drums. But it may cause you to lean towards the drum set.
There is no proper height that you should have or not have for your drum stool to play ergonomically. Be aware of your body while you are playing. You may need to raise your stool or lower it. The feeling you want to get sitting on your drum stool is comfort and relaxation. You are not learning too much forward or backwards from the drums.
No matter what drum kit or set-up you adopt, there is the tendency for you to lean forward to the drums to feel more intimate in playing the instrument. Or else you may tend to lean back. Either tendency to lean toward or backward from the drumset are not good for your posture.
To notice whether you are leaning too much forward or backward requires awareness and discipline. You can find online videos of well-known drummers and observe their posture when playing drums. Muscle tension in the upper trunk may result in resistance in movements in the legs and arms.
With this in mind, notice if you have the tendency to lean forward or backward. Try to maintain not less than 90 degrees when it comes to the angle of your back in relation to your legs. You may find resistance in movement in your legs and arms when this rule is not followed. Make the effort to straighten your spine when you find yourself slouching as it may cause back pain.
Position of Legs
You may want to try to apply the 90 degrees principle to your legs as well. You may find efficiency with a 90-degree angle at your knee, shin, and thigh. However, this is not a must-do rule. It depends on your body build. You may require less than 90 degrees in the position of your leg to play comfortably. Experiment by adjusting your drum stool and the 90-degree rule for the leg position.
Drum Set Position
At what distance then should you place your drum set for the most effective ergonomic effect? The set component that you strike most, such as the snare drum, should be placed within your reach. The hi-hat and ride cymbal in a manner can be placed in a way that enables you to maintain closeness between your elbows and your side. Make sure your arms are always in the most relaxed position and not angled. Try to minimize upper body movement by the way you position the toms, though it depends on the kit’s size.
The most important thing to remember is to place the most frequently used components close enough that you can reach them without effort or needing to contort your body. Adopt the path of least resistance.
Economy of Motion
The surface angles of cymbals and drums are important and the norm is to place the cymbals and drums at almost the same angle. But it also depends on the technique you adopt, such as traditional or matched stick grip and so on. Having your cymbals and drums at almost the same angle reduces swift adjustments in the fingers, wrists and arms. This helps with the economy of motion, which you can keep in mind to help you drum ergonomically.
Try these tips and check if you feel any difference in your drumming. Just remember to pay attention. Your sitting posture and the distance between you and your drum set should preferably provide a sense of ease and comfort when you play.
Don’t forget to stand up and stretch regularly to minimize strain and stress in your body when playing the drums.
Interested in learning drums? Ritmo Music Studio offers drum lessons for children to adults and seniors. Check out our program here.