As a percussionists, usually everything we play starts with the right hand. This is important, as we have to start somewhere, but the left hand often gets neglected when we practice.
Go to any world class audition and you will see people FOLDING when the instructor calls "Off the left" on any passage or exercise. Or when music is written with left hand leads or demands, performers have trouble with this because they don't practice off the left as much as they do off the right.⠀
This can be easily fixed with a few simple adjustments to the way you practice. Here are 3 ways to make your left hand stronger:
#1 Start All Exercises Off The Left When You Practice
Do you play a Legatos Exercise when you warm up? Maybe some timing exercises and Double Beat? Whatever it is, try starting it with a left hand lead. This will get you in the habit of focusing on the left hand and will build better left hand coordination with the feet. Then, once you feel as comfortable with the left hand as you do the right, make sure you continue practice off the right and left equally.
#2 Play With Double Stops
Any single hand exercise, also known as “Hands Separate” exercises, (Like 8 On A Hand) can be played as double stops. This means playing the exercise with the right and left hands playing at the same time, with the same approach. This allows the strength of the right hand to develop the left hand.
#3 Chop Out With The Left Hand
Try playing a good chop out exercise like Triple Beat (Which can be found in our Drumline Fundamentals Series books) but only play with the left hand. We recommend playing 100+ measures of triple beat without stopping to really get some fatigue going.
Hope this helps! Once you truly commit to making the left hand stronger, you become a better player overall! You just have to put in the work!
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