Happy Monday everyone. I just came back from Fort MacMurray where I was doing some adjudicating and I thought I would address a common set up issue with the hi-hat that I see quite frequently. Young players tend to set their hi-hat cymbals too close together, sometimes to the point where they're almost touching. There are a few problems with this. The first issue is that it doesn't give us any dynamic range with the left foot. I often tell people to imagine wanting to play a huge loud backbeat with the snare drum but only being allowed to lift the stick 1" off the drum. That's the same thing we're doing when we don't give the hats any play.
Also, if we set up that way we don't develop and strength or flexibility with the hi-hats. If your hi-hat cymbals are less than 1" apart, please open them to at least twice that width. It will feel weird and uncomfortable at first, but be patient and experiment with it as your foot adjusts.
Being able to play your hi-hat loud and clear is an important way of controlling the time in certain situations, as well as a nice colour. Don't ever let your physical set up limit your ability to make effective music.