The kick drum is one of the most important instruments in the band since knowing how to kick drum contributes much to the overall quality of a group's music. Along with the bass guitar, it constitutes the rhythm section and keeps the rest of the band on track. Good kick drum technique is vital to any percussionist to keep the rest of the band together, enhance the rhythm of the music, and to preserve the quality of the instrument and ensure the best quality sound.
There are several major elements to learning to play the kick drum well. Mastery of these elements can elevate not just your playing, but the sound of your entire band.
- Control. Learning control of your drumming is as important with the kick drum as it is with the rest of the kit. Greater control also allows you to perform more advanced techniques like double strokes. Ideally, as you learn more about playing the drums, you will focus as much on foot control as on stick control to advance your abilities across the board.
- Heel up and heel down techniques. Heel up, using your toe to compress the pedal and your full leg to power the drum stroke itself, allows for faster, more powerful drumming and is common in rock drumming. Heel down allows for more delicate, controlled strokes, and is handy for jazz drumming or other, softer music. Mastering both techniques will make you a versatile and skilled drummer.
- Heel toe and slide techniques. These advanced techniques take some time to master, but allow you to perform fast double strokes. Mastery of this kind of drum control will elevate your playing beyond the basics, add color and interest to your bass line, and give your whole band a more polished, professional sound.
Too many drummers ignore improvement of their kick drum technique in favor of improving stick control and technique on the toms and snares. Spending some time on the kick drum will automatically give you a stronger base and a wider knowledge of your instrument than those who neglect this important piece of the standard drum kit.