how to warm up on snare drum

i have to tell you about one of the biggest time-wasters of my life.

in high school, every day after school was over, i’d walk down to the band room, set up my snare drum, and start practicing.

first, i'd practice stick control for hours. i’d stand there and repeat each exercise. for hours and hours and hours. i’d also practice the PAS rudiments and some of the other standard snare drum method books.

then, i'd pull out my delécluse book and start working. i’d run through big sections, repeat hard parts, and get annoyed with all the things that i couldn’t do. like soft 4-stroke ruffs and smooth loud rolls.

my assumption was that if i worked hard on stick control and the PAS snare drum rudiments every day, then i would see a direct improvement on delécluse, lieutenant kije, and the rest of the snare drum repertoire.

but...it never happened. my delécluse continued to have problems. and as the weeks and months went by and i didn’t see any improvements, i started getting worried. and annoyed.

stick control didn’t fix my snare drum problems. i was wasting my time.

for me, there was never a noticeable connection between how much i warmed up in the “traditional” way and how much i improved as a snare drummer. it just never happened. i had no idea why.

playing flam accents never made me better at delécluse. playing stick control never made lieutenant kije easier.

and, like i said, it wasn’t for lack of trying. i was constantly desperate to find somethingthat would make the repertoire easier. i warmed up on stick control for years. i was always searching through method books for new things that could help me improve.

it wasn’t until college that i finally figured out how to warm up on snare drum.

i got so exasperated with my problems on snare drum that i put away all my method books and started experimenting with my own personal method to warm up on snare drum.

i told my friends that i was “starting over on snare drum.”

i developed a 45-60 minute warm up. i break it into three parts. it’s a 3-step warmup. and it’s effective as hell.


rob knopper

lincoln center plaza, 10023

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.