Bass Drum Technique (Marching)
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Bass Drum

  Begin with both arms hanging down to your side with the thumbs on the top of the mallets and your hands by your legs.  The mallets should point forward and down at a 45-degree angle.  Next, bring your arms up (bending at the elbows) until the forearms are parallel to the ground.  The position of the hand, wrist, and mallet should not change.  This playing position should feel very relaxed and natural.  From this position, we will adjust the carrier and stand so the center of the bass head is lined up with the head of the mallet.  It is important to adjust the drum to the player, not the player to the drum.  Once the drum has been positioned to fit the player, bring your forearms in so they touch the bass drum rim.  Memorize what part of your arm touches the rim so you will be able to always find the center of the bass head.  The size of the drum will determine whether your forearm, wrist, or fingers make contact with the hoop. 

    In playing position, the mallets should be parallel to the drumhead.  Your arms should hang naturally on both sides of your body.  The amount of space between your elbows and ribs depends on the size of your body frame.  Your upper body needs to remain relaxed and free of tension at all times.