2. Drumsticks

The drumsticks can help create many different sounds and rhythms. We beat at different tempos, which can later be transferred to movement. Many musical exercises for coordination and memory are created this way.

The choice of the drumstick and proper maintenance is extremely important to ensure the safety of the program. Select a stick that is either plastic or of high quality hard wood. Choose a stick of correct strength and circumference for the participant’s age, size and strength levels. Do not select an inexpensive drumstick and always teach safety rules before beginning the program. (Please see below)

Only use a high quality drumstick made of hardwood and non-carcinogenic material. https://www.westmusic.com/drums-percussion/sticks-mallets/drumset-sticks-mallets/263862

* Other materials may not be appropriate for Drums Alive® and are at risk of breaking easily and are not recommended for Drums Alive® programs.



Before beginning the Drums Alive® program, discuss and practice safety cues for both drumming and locomotor movement. Students should learn how to hold and move with the drumsticks, plus be sensitive to the equipment, both for the “home” ball and those of others.


Set Up and Safety Cues

  • Working together in this formation is essential in order to create group dynamics and harmony. In order to assure safety, teach safety cues before beginning the Drums Alive® program.
  • Ensure proper placement of stability balls.
  • Turn the plug of the ball downward at the start of the workout and throughout at regular intervals.
  • Proper height of the stability ball is essential for each individual. If the placement of the stability ball is too low or too high it may cause discomfort in the back, neck, shoulders and arms.
  • Practice drumming skills on your own ball before trying it out on your neighbor’s stability ball.
  • Do not drum on the middle top of your neighbor’s stability ball. Drum slightly to the side of the stability ball .to avoid striking your neighbor’s hand.
  • Check integrity of the stick. There should be no cracks or splinters if using wooden sticks.
  • Learn proper drumming and clicking techniques before beginning the program.
  • Drumsticks should be held firmly either with the “rhythmical drumming” hand position or with the “power drumming” hand position.
  • Never point the stick at another individual.
  • Do not throw and wave drumsticks around carelessly.
  • Instructors should provide “quiet skills” such as “rabbit ears”, sticks held to sides, or overhead gentle clicks, in order for participants to hear teacher instructions.
  • When clicking overhead make sure the participants learn to bring the drumsticks slightly in front of their bodies, not to the side.
  • Keep the hands dry and free of sweat throughout the workout. Keep a towel nearby but out of the immediate area. If you are using step risers, you may place a towel under the ball in the risers.
  • Teach and practice difficult patterns or rhythms slowly before bringing them up to tempo.
  • When performing turning or moving movements, keep the drum sticks either down or held close to the body, elbows bent approximately 130°.
  • When clicking drumsticks together, pay particular attention to clicking the sticks in the middle and not at the tips of the drumsticks. This will help prevent the tips of the sticks from breaking or cracking.
  • When drumming in the “Military set-up” When drumming in the Military Line (see” Class Formation and Set Up” in Lesson 22), make sure that you teach correct drumming. Participants should beat on the side of their neighbor’s ball and not directly on top. This will help avoid accidentally hitting a finger or arm.
  • When performing “side clicks” (see “Basic Drumming”) participants should raise arms in a slightly forward position from the shoulders and not directly to the side to avoid hitting their neighbor.
  • Utilize proper selection of music for the various Drums Alive ® programs. (Power Beats, Kids Beats, Bambini Beats, Golden Beats, Ability Beats, Step & Drum, etc.).
  • Appropriate Music volume – 85 dBA – 90dBA / Instructors voice should not be higher than 100 dBa. http://www.e-a-r.com/pdf/hearingcons/MusicandExer.pdf
  • Adapt to your participant level. Teach and adapt to the level of the class and add variations.
  • Understand the physiological and mental effects of the population you’re working with.
  • Utilize modifications that are safe for all physical and cognitive levels.


Safety Check before beginning your Drums Alive® Workout

  1. Drum Sticks – Check your drums sticks for cracks, splinters.
  2. Clicks – Create an “X” when clicking your sticks together and be sure to click at the intersection.
  3. Risers – invert and stack so when drumming you don’t have to bend forward.
  4. Ball – Anti-burst ball. Position the ball so that the air plug faces the ground.
  5. Check environment to be sure area is free from obstructions.
  6. Class Set Up – Military (rows) is suggested.