One of the most important aspects of playing the drumset, and one that is often neglected by many players, is that of balance. Too many times rock drummers play with no bottom (i.e., too much cymbal volume, and too little snare drum and bass drum), or jazz drummers play with an overpowering bass drum and too little cymbal volume. Of course, there are as many types of drumset dynamic balances as there are types of music. As a general rule, for rock playing, the snare drum and bass drum should predominate, and for jazz, the cymbals should predominate, using the bass drum under the bassist for support. These rules apply for basic timekeeping, while accentuations, fills, etc., all require differing ratios of volume between the four limbs. In order to obtain control of the dynamic balance between limbs while playing time, you must be able to focus your attention on any limb and adjust the volume of that limb.
The following exercises will help you improve your balance control. Play each of the following rhythms with these volume relationships:
After you have mastered these exercises, listen to your favorite drummers playing your favorite styles of music, with respect to balance. Now, with the control gained from practicing these exercises, adjust your balance appropriately.