TIM KANE’S DRUM TIP OF THE DAY: My top 10 drummer resolutions

Yes, it is New Year’s eve day and time to once again generate my musical New Year’s resolutions. So here’s my top 10 drummer resolutions:

1 – To never drop a stick again (yeah, right)

2 – To play more paying gigs because I am worth being paid

3 – To always carry the backbeat and be THE timekeeper

4 – To share my drum wisdom more on this page with a wider audience

5 – To play more jazz and funk styles since that is what I am built from

6 – To always smile at gigs and not have weird facial expressions

7 – To compose and record another full album on all instruments

8 – And to then put a band together and play all my originals at a live show

9 – To further refine my drum instructional prowess

10 – To be thankful and gracious at the true blessing being a musician is

Happy New Year!!!

TIM KANE’S DRUM TIP OF THE DAY: Why clean your cymbals?

When our fingertips (and others) touch the cymbal surface, acid transmitted through fingertips interacts with the alloys. They are amino acids to be all-scientific on you, and they can source approximately 100 times the concentration of amino acid found in a New Zealand fossil shell. That’s a lot of acid, dude, but the molecule also is the cleaning solution to your problem. Cymbals can easily tarnish from the dust produced by human skin, airborne grime emitted from nearby appliances such as boilers, and even wooden chafe from your stick strikes. There are a thousand ways to make cymbals dirty, but thankfully only a few methods actually work to get most of that shine back.

Most drum and cymbal manufacturers sell relatively mild and effective acid-based cleaners, and there are a few specialty products on the market that contain even stronger ingredients. “Groove Juice” is a hot one right now, for example. Most of these cleaners will over time take your logos off of your cymbals, however. So unless you want to eventually remove your logos, then you must clean around them or wash that area immediately if it comes into contact with your chosen cleaner.

TIM KANE’S DRUM TIP OF THE DAY: Too many legs and not enough room

No leg hi-hat stands make a lot of sense for today’s drummers as they eliminate the challenge of fitting three-legged varieties in between other drum gear. For example, if you play a double kick drum pedal, positioning the cymbals of a traditional two or three legged hi-hat stand to your stick sweet spot can be difficult, as can leaving enough room to move your left foot between your hi-hat and left kick pedal. A medium to heavy weight no-leg hi-hat stand solves that dilemma.

The same can be said for three legged boom stands. Finding enough floor area for boom stand legs without interfering with your drum rack base legs can be haphazard at best, especially at gigs where quick and efficient set-up is a must.

If you want to reduce the leg clutter around your kit, and the sheer weight of your filled hardware bag, use some of that Christmas money in 2015 to invest in no leg or two-legged cymbals stands.


For most part-time and hobbyist drummers out there – and many full-timers, too – you probably will never be asked to read a chart or define how a 5/4 time signature breaks down.

I stress with my own students that learning how to sight read has a lot more to do with opening up new avenues of musical expression across the entire drum set; discovering cool new rhythms and patterns you would never have played without sight reading them first; and providing yourself with an instant framework to focus yourself during practice.

Drum tip of the day

Fuel your drumming technique instead of failing it

By Tim Kane


I recently played a packed Halloween club gig in which I ate no real food of sustenance most of the day, employed no floor monitor or in-ear device, forgot to bring bottled water, drank too much free beer, allowed the sound guy to cram his PA speakers on either side of me so I had no way out, failed to fight for my rights when our lead guitarist set his large amp up directly in front of my kick drum, and skipped the pre-gig band warm-up. Suffice to say, I violated almost every rule when it comes to fueling your drumming technique.

So where did I go wrong? First of all, I should have known better than to not understand the gig logistics prior to actually showing up with my gear. Come to find out, this particular club didn’t even have a stage area. I helped the bar manager move tables and chairs to open up room. If I had taken just a little more time before the gig to analyze how many tables would actually have to be moved in order to comfortably accommodate a 5-piece band, many challenges that particular evening would have been erased. My bad.

Moreover, the band I was filling-in for on drums did no sound check prior to the first set. We just started playing. If one were held, I would have requested a monitor and more room to maneuver. As drummers, we have just as much right to ask for certain amenities at gigs as our fellow musicians do. My bad.

Getting muscle cramps like I did during the gig is never cool, either. Dehydration and lack of food to power your muscles are the primary causes of cramps. Given bottled water is usually hard to come by in bars, I should have brought five bottles and placed them behind my drum kit. I also should have arrived much earlier at the gig and ordered dinner there. If not, a couple of high-energy bars stuck in your stick bag will do the trick. My bad.

As for floor monitoring and getting proper levels, all I heard that evening was mush from other bandmates (and they actually played well). And with the lead guitarist’s amp placed directly in front of my kick drum, I am sure the audience had trouble hearing me, too. The band ended playing tight against two walls in an L-shape. It was one of the most maniacal stage set-ups I have ever experienced. I should have asked that question well before the gig and also allowed time for readjustment after the sound check that was never conducted. Again, my bad.

This all takes me back to bagging out on the pre-gig band practice (I was teaching drum lessons at the time and should have just rescheduled those students). That dress rehearsal would have been an ideal time to talk about the gig dynamic, my needs, stage set-up, sound levels, and overall expectations. You should have that group discussion well before the gig.

All of this combined into the perfect storm of a third set meltdown for me personally with near exhaustion and frustration. In the end, lack of advance preparation killed my drumming technique at that gig and I have no one else to blame but myself.

Tim Kane is a freelance drummer, instructor and writer living in Massachusetts. http://www.kaneschoolofdrums.com

Playing faster 16th notes on the hi-hat

TIM KANE’S DRUM TIP OF THE DAY: Wanna play lightning fast 16th notes on the hi-hat, but your arms fall off after 16 measures? Here are a few tips to try:

A) Practice at a slower pace and work 16ths up to desired speed as it really is all about developing that muscle memory.

B) For faster beats, make sure you play the hi-hat with the tips of your sticks and not the thicker neck/shoulder.

C) Open your hi-hats slightly to compensate for mistakes.

D) Be sure to breathe with the pace of the song.

E) Play upstrokes. Let the sticks do the work for you.

F) If your arm muscles are burning, you are doing something wrong. Slow down and re-evaluate the process.

Good luck!