Choose the Right Cymbals
It is important that you choose the cymbals correctly in regard to their intended use. While thinner cymbals do have a lower volume than heavier ones, that does not automatically mean that you shouldn’t deploy them in high volume environments − you just need to be aware of that limitation. That is, choose cymbals that fit in the musical context when played with moderate force. Hitting cymbals excessively hard will not only make them sound less than ideal, it might also lessen their durability, and vice versa, having to constantly hit cymbals with too much care for fear of them overpowering other instruments will negatively affect your performance.
The above goes for choosing the cymbals according to their liveliness or dryness, too. Damping the cymbals with various make-shift ways will hinder their ability to resonate as expected and strain the instrument. Try to find a cymbal that naturally produces the sound, volume, and sustain you are after.
Set Up Properly
Check your cymbal stands. They need to be sturdy enough to hold the cymbal safely and not fall over when you are performing. Take care to setup the stands so that the legs are supporting the cymbal weight as much as possible. The stand should also have a nylon tube over the rod acting as a buffer between the cymbal and the metal, a support washer under the cymbal and a felt on top of the washer, directly under the cymbal. Many times it is also beneficial to have a felt and a wing nut holding the cymbal in its place, but many drummers do without these, too.
In case you are fastening the cymbal to the stand with a wing nut, never tighten it too much. The cymbal needs to be allowed to vibrate in order to both produce the sound and receive the drumstick hit without breaking.
The angle of the cymbal is dependent on your playing style and the height you are playing the cymbal from. It is usually good practice to tilt the cymbal slightly towards you to maximize the cymbal’s movement and still protect the edge from careless hits.
Play the cymbals with light stick grip; allow the stick to move freely in your hand and bounce back from the cymbal. Never hit “through” the cymbal, as this will prevent the cymbal from vibrating and risks it cracking from the edge or center hole. Try not to hit directly to the cymbal edge, but always on the cymbal backside (or bell).
When playing the crashes or other accent cymbals, play them with glancing strokes, allowing the stick to enter and escape the cymbal surface in a vertical motion. With rides and hi-hats, use the stick bounce to your benefit, resting your hand muscles and allowing for faster patterns without taxing the cymbal.
Store and Carry with Care
Never leave your cymbals on a floor, where they risk being stamped on, or on their edge against a hard surface. Even a small nick quickly grows into larger crack. Always use quality cymbal bags or hard cases to store and transport cymbals. In a bag, deploy cloth liners between individual cymbals in order to prevent metal-to-metal contact.
If you prefer your cymbals clean and shiny, handle them by the edges with your fingertips or use gloves. In case you want to clean a cymbal, use standard washing up liquid and water instead of any abrasive cleaning agents, and dry the cymbal thoroughly with a cloth. However, sweat and dirt do not damage the cymbal as per se, though they do affect its sound by slightly damping the cymbal surface − which may be just the thing.