One way of improving your strumming ability is to build resistance to faster strumming. This will enable you not only to maintain your rhythm whilst playing any piece, but it will also help you increase the tempo with which you play.
This is one aspect that is also rather unique to the Cuatro. There are very few musical instruments that require you to play with a high tempo of 120Bpm and above. There are instruments such as the Brazilian Covaquinha which can do this but not as much as with the Cuatro.
Take a close look at the instructional video presented by Cuatrista Luis Natera. He will take you through the mechanics of how to improve your high-speed strumming ability. The method used is called the Saca Chicha which is equivalent as “Beating the Heck Out of It”, something rather appropriate as you will see int he video. (ensure that the subtitles are turned on in this video).
Luis Natera – The Saca Chicha
Be sure to activate the Closed Captions for this video
NOTE: The motion is in the wrist….not in the arm
Here is where you as a musician can start to improve your ability with strumming and apply it directly to other string instruments if you desire. Imagine driving or running at a high pace and in need of increasing your awareness as you speed up and pass objects. Then you go from a high speed to a slow walk….you will find that the objects come easier, you have more time to take a look at your environment.
Well, with the Cuatro it is no different. Once you master going at a high pace and then switch to another instrument requiring a much slower tempo, you will be able to execute the pieces and play anything with little difficulty. This is what most Cuatristas experience as they then begin to experiment with different instruments.