How to Play the Snare Drum?

The equipment of a drummer is quite a lot to get used to. There are the cymbals, the sharp sounding, metal plates that sit balanced on top of poles. The bass drum, which is extremely deep sounding and one of the largest parts of the drums.

But then we also have the snare drum. The snare drum is an important part of the drum set, and it is often used in marching bands. So let us talk about that today. How do you play the snare drum? How do you improve upon it?

The snare drum is essential to almost any kind or genre of music. Fast-paced, slow-paced, heavy, soft, even genres that may not seem like they do not focus on drums probably have an element of the snare drum in them.

Styles may differ from artist to artist, band to band, genre to genre. So it is important to consider these factors before learning how to play the snare. What style do you want to focus on? What traditional method should you implement?

Ways to Play the Snare Drum

The snare drum happens to be a multipurpose instrument. In many cases, it is played by individuals who have never and don’t intend to play a complete set of drums in a band or by themselves. 

In Marching Bands

How to Play the Snare Drum?

The most key element of playing in a marching band is to be able to stay in synchronization with the rest of the group. To be aware of your surroundings is extremely essential. When do you stop playing? When do you continue? In some ways, it is almost as if discipline and following the rules are more important than the actual playing. But do not worry! We still got you covered.

To play the snare in the way a marching band plays it, the first thing to learn is your grip. Place the palm area below your thumb on the rim of the snares. Then, hold the sticks in such a manner that you can effortlessly beat down on the drum’s body.

The goal is to ensure that you can beat the drums very easily and without any trouble. As playing in a marching band means that you may have to keep at it for a long period of time at one go. 

There are other drum patterns found in a marching band, but we have decided to talk about the most common one. The other technique that is commonly used in a marching band is the ‘beatdown’. This is fairly simple. Simply grip the stick by the back of the handle and beat it down in synchronization with the rest of the band. Keep the motion up and down in a continuous gesture. 


Rudiments are basically the ABCs and 123s of percussive instruments. These are small, fixed patterns that most drummers learn or have to learn at the very basic stage of their skill. There are as many as 40 kinds of rudiments, and the range increases further the more you dive into it. The 40 are just the base level rhythms, and combining or improvising on them creates a lot more of them.

Using rudiments, you can learn how to play more complex drum patterns as you keep improving over time. They may seem challenging at the starting stages, but they will prove to be very useful as you get better with a snare over time. Like it is with everything, big or small – learning will be a slow process at first. But you will be thanking those difficult hours in the long run when you have gotten good at it!

Drum Rolls

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This one is a very commonly seen technique at events, performances and exhibitions; the drum roll is a very ancient technique. The purpose of a drum roll is to build some suspense before revealing something. It may be a reveal of a project by a company or organization, or it can be a reveal at a small familial level event. Drum rolls are very widely used.

A drum roll is not really too complicated to pull off if you are familiar with the snare drums. If you are not, it probably will not take you too much to nail after some dedicated practice. Basically, you are to place your hands at the rim-edges of the drum, while holding onto the drumstick between your thumb and other fingers. The grip is sort of like holding chopsticks.

After getting the grip down, like the marching band motion, beat the drum up and down in a sway that does not require too much effort. You will have to keep the speed of your beats faster, rather than keeping the beats loud and heavy sounding.

Once the suspense is built, you are to slow down the process gradually. At the end of it, simply beat the snare down once loudly to end the suspense. This is intended to be the ‘reveal’ moment which your suspense was building towards or trying to build towards.


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Drumming is no easy feat, given all the energy that you spend doing it. But it is also of the utmost importance to not only music, but other segments of society. Old tribal rituals require drums for morale support and motivation. The military uses drums to keep their soldiers focused at events. It’s a part of societal culture in many areas, there is no doubt. And most commonly, the snare drum is what is used. Hope it help you to learn how to play the snare drum

We hope this article has been able to help you get an understanding of how to play snare drums. It is always advisable to get an instructor to guide you along the learning process. This will also increase your learning curve greatly. Self-learning is always an option, but in cases such as this, like learning musical instruments, it’s easier to take the shortcut. Thank you for reading!


You can also read: How often should you change your Drum Heads?

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