Knowing how to accent on drums not only adds color and variety to your playing, but it is one of the basic techniques any drummer should master. Accenting not only makes your playing more interesting, but it is one very important way that the drummer keeps the beat lively and easily discerned by the rest of the band. The drummer is responsible for keeping the band on track, on tempo and on the beat and accents are an important part of doing this job.
- Basic Accents To perform a basic accent, you simply strike the drum harder with one drumstick than with the other. You will lift the accenting drumstick higher away from the drum than you do during the non-accented strokes. It is important to keep the non-accented strokes at a consistent height while the accented strokes are lifted higher for a louder sound. An example of a basic accent would be placing emphasis on the first beat of the measure.
- Complex Accents More complex combinations combine accented and non-accented strokes, as well as combining rolls, paradiddles and other drumming techniques. Another way to add interest to a groove is to play the accents on different drums. If you have practiced playing a combo on a snare, for example, try distributing different accented notes to the toms, cymbals or the high hat for texture.
- Maintaining the Beat No matter how complex your drumming patterns get, you must always remember the basic beat. The rest of the band needs a metronome to follow in order to stay together and that is provided by the rhythm section. In a rock band, this consists of the drums and the bass. Your drumming provides the heartbeat of the band, so be sure to construct your rhythms so that the other players can easily discern the beat of the music.
As with any musical instrument, the drums take practice. Practicing and experimenting with different methods of how to accent on drums will greatly improve your technique, your sound and the sound of your band.