How To Play The Snare Drums

Learning how to play the snare drum takes a lot of patience and practice, but it isn’t hard to get started. After all, if you have ever picked up a drumstick and started banging on things, you are already well on your way. This tutorial is a good starting point for those wondering how to play the snare drum and it will give you some essential tips you shouldn’t forget.

Before you get started learning how to play the snare drum, you’ll need these things:

  • A snare drum
  • A snare drum stand
  • A pair of drum sticks
  • A metronome
  1. Set up the snare drum correctly. Before you can learn to play the snare drum, you have to learn to set it up. Using the snare drum stand, the drum should be flat (relative to the ground) and the top rim of the drum should be aligned with your waist. Many new drummers may be tempted to tilt the drum toward them or place it higher than their waste, but this is the best setup for easy playing.
  2. Learn to hold the drumsticks correctly. When you’re learning how to play the snare drum, the most important step is learning to hold the sticks correctly.  Most new drummers think they should hold the stick tightly wrapped in their fist, but this grip won’t give you the bounce or speed you’ll need later on.  Instead, create a pivot point between your thumb and the middle section (between the two joints) of your pointer finger. Place the stick in this pivot—it should be held in place but still be able to move freely up and down on the axis. 
  3. Use a light, quick stroke. Don’t have the misconception that just pushing your drumsticks onto the head of the drum will produce the sound you want.  Playing a snare drum properly requires you to strike it with a light, quick stroke of the drumstick that pulls away from the drum as quickly as it moves toward it.  Using only your wrist (not your elbow), hold the drumstick and make a motion similar to a wizard flicking a wand. The stroke should be a fluid motion, not a sporadic stopping and starting.  
  4. Use a metronome to practice playing in time. Knowing how to play the snare drum but being unable to keep a beat won’t do you any good. So, use a simple metronome to help you learn how to stay with a steady tempo and get comfortable playing different rhythms with the beat. Start out with a simple “Right…left…right…left” while hitting the snare drum once every time the metronome clicks. Then, move onto playing twice as fast as the metronome but still making sure you stay in time. If you get bored, try playing simple rhythms along with your favorite songs.

Learning how to play the snare drum certainly isn’t easy, but these easy steps will help get you off on the right track. Remember to be patient and practice, pretty soon you will be an all-star drummer.

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