"Official" Techniques vs. "Natural" Techniques

BattleArmor

Silver Member
We all know about the official, or standard ways of playing the drums as far as technique is concerned. But some guys around the globe don't learn these things and still rip it on the kit.

I'm sure everyone has something they do that isn't considered "right" by drumming technique perfectionists...

What are you guys' opinions?

EDIT: Cool so now I remember there is a Technique specific forum here...so feel free to move it mods before I get bashed.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
We all know about the official, or standard ways of playing the drums as far as technique is concerned. But some guys around the globe don't learn these things and still rip it on the kit.

I'm sure everyone has something they do that isn't considered "right" by drumming technique perfectionists...

What are you guys' opinions?
Yes, you have a very valid point. Take the Moeller stroke. It was not invented by Moeller. He named and popularized it based on watching the best players of his day and noticing that they all had that same natural motion. The technique came to people naturally first - the analysis and name came later.

Jeff
 
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Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Good question. Personally, I was taught the basics by my father and developed the rest from there myself. If he was aware of Moeller and Gladstone/Stone(??) etc, techniques, he certainly never taught them to me. I was taught this is a single stroke, double stroke, paradiddle, flam etc, but just how to play them as opposed to any real analysis as to the way I was playing them.

Terms like Moeller, Gladstone, finger technique, push/pull and the like, whilst I'd heard them mentioned, I only really became familiar with what they actually were when I started using these forums several months ago (talk about late bloomer!!). After learning about these and reading the emphasis many people place on them, I have closely looked at the way I play and realised that I was using many of them without knowing it (for around 20 years). I have a natural Moeller action on the first stroke and employ my fingers to assist with double strokes at higher speeds etc.

As one who wasn't taught any of these techniques, yet somehow managed to use some of them in my playing (at least as far as I can gather), I'm as interested as you are in hearing from others as to whether you think there are times when too much emphasis is placed on the perfect stroke and not enough on just playing the drums. I see so many posts from people who are petrified that their Moeller stroke isn't up to scratch and will spend month after month doing nothing but trying to perfect it. Can we be too technical at the cost of being expressive?

Great post Sinsyk.
 

oops

Silver Member
Bill Stewart strikes me as one of the guys who learnt without much formal tuition (at the start)... He's come out with a very weird looking technique, and it's obvious he knows what he's doing and he coaxes an awesome sound out of his drums and cymbals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQuDAhMXwQA
 

grannydrums

Senior Member
I think there are some people who's bodies naturally find the best way after lots of playing to play well, and those of us who just have no natural ability and so need to study the greats to find out how what they do and emulate it.

Unfortunately I fall into the second category.
 

armilos

Junior Member
it's true, alot of drummers dont play with "official" techniques. jim chapin said in an in-dvd-interview that some of the gratest drummer he knew were'nt that good on the drums - "techniquelly".

however, the thing I've noticed the most about the "official" technique is that it's healthy. if done right, injuris are very few. that is pretty much the main reason why I try to keep on with the "official" technique.
 

Tim Waterson

WFD ACEDRUMMER
There is no right way or wrong wasy to play.
Some drummer develope techniques that can allow them to play effortlessly for hours and other drummers just build their control and endurance through trial and error.
Some drummers claim they have no technique and just play.....
but if you study ANY good drummer they all use some sort of technique whether it is controlling the shiver or lock wrist or whipping the arms and wrists its still a technique.
The difference between learning a technique like moeller or gladstone etc is you are learning to control the sticks and once learned LIKE CHAPIN you should be able to play as long as your health allows you to without pain to a ripe OLD age.
FYI Jim said a lot of drummers cant play the things HE and others can ....
but they MAKE great music with their bands and he can appreciate them from that viewpoint.
Tim
 

JT1

Silver Member
We all know about the official, or standard ways of playing the drums as far as technique is concerned. But some guys around the globe don't learn these things and still rip it on the kit.

I'm sure everyone has something they do that isn't considered "right" by drumming technique perfectionists...

What are you guys' opinions?

EDIT: Cool so now I remember there is a Technique specific forum here...so feel free to move it mods before I get bashed.
I never really studied a technique, i'm self taught and my stroke developed through just years of playing, i just wanted to get on the set and play without having to think about it too much and that's what i did. Obviously, learning techniques that have proved themselves over time will probably make you a better player and will make playing easier, i just do what's comfortable for me.
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
one technique ive used for a number of years is holding the stick in the middle and rocking my wrist back and forth to hit my ride with the tip and butt of the stick. it wasnt till i watched a mike mangini video about six months ago that i finally saw someone else do it. it just always seemed to make sense to me same amount of effort for twice the strokes, really helps with some of my bands faster parts. but of course some people have told me its cheating.
 

JT1

Silver Member
one technique ive used for a number of years is holding the stick in the middle and rocking my wrist back and forth to hit my ride with the tip and butt of the stick. it wasnt till i watched a mike mangini video about six months ago that i finally saw someone else do it. it just always seemed to make sense to me same amount of effort for twice the strokes, really helps with some of my bands faster parts. but of course some people have told me its cheating.
Well i'm sorry but there is nothing cheating about that, it's called using your initiative, and it's a damn good idea if i do say.
 

SAINTDRUMS

Senior Member
My take on this topic is simple - if you play and it's causing pain, injury or even blisters, your technique is most likely wrong or should be adjusted at the very least. I would like to add this - when you listen to music either on a CD or on the radio, you don't get to see the drummers technique but you do get to hear their ability. No matter what your technique may be, at the end of the day, it's how you play that I think matters most... As an example, you're listening to Neil Peart play and you think he's great and then you get to see a DVD of him playing and realize that his technique is absolutely horrible (just an exaggerated example here - don't flame me!). Would you think any less of his playing or him as a drummer? I wouldn't because as we all know playing the drums requires many things to work in concert together.
 

donv

Silver Member
Yes, you have a very valid point. Take the Moeller stroke. It was not invented by Moeller. He named and popularized it based on watching the best players of his day and noticing that they all had that same natural motion. The technique came to people naturally first - the analysis and name came later.

Jeff
Actually Jeff, Moeller never used the term. He referred to it as the technique of the ancients. Why ancients? Got me, and no one I've asked has been able to answer that one. Moeller also encouraged matched grip and the finger technique, but the Moeller Technique was a term used by others to describe that one technique he wrote about and we all know to be what it is today.
 

donv

Silver Member
one technique ive used for a number of years is holding the stick in the middle and rocking my wrist back and forth to hit my ride with the tip and butt of the stick. it wasnt till i watched a mike mangini video about six months ago that i finally saw someone else do it. it just always seemed to make sense to me same amount of effort for twice the strokes, really helps with some of my bands faster parts. but of course some people have told me its cheating.
Nothing cheating about it at all as JT1 stated. Quad players have been doing it for years.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
Actually Jeff, Moeller never used the term. He referred to it as the technique of the ancients. Why ancients? Got me, and no one I've asked has been able to answer that one.
i think i might know. i've heard very old drum corps called names like "the ancient and honorable order" and things like that. maybe that's what he was referring to. i'm sure he wasn't referring to ancient egyptians drummers or whatever.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Technique:
  1. the manner and ability with which an artist, writer, dancer, athlete, or the like employs the technical skills of a particular art or field of endeavor.
  2. the body of specialized procedures and methods used in any specific field, esp. in an area of applied science.
  3. method of performance; way of accomplishing.
  4. technical skill; ability to apply procedures or methods so as to effect a desired result.

First of all, We all have a form of technique. And, if you have ever played a flam you have used a formal technique!

Why does it have to be either or. If we develop our technique as a means to better express ourselves than it is worthwhile.

It isn't one or the other unless we personally decide to make it that way.

Understood what the intent of the question was, but, a better question would be... How can I develop my technique to allow me to better express myself and make the song better..?

EXAMPLE: Take a look at Keith Carlock..! - Expressive, Creative, Musical, and Tehcnical.
 
W

wy yung

Guest
We all know about the official, or standard ways of playing the drums as far as technique is concerned.
Is their really an official board regarding technique? I do not think so. Technique is a means to an end, not an end in itself. There are many techniques at this time. Each player is different. I do know of some "technique Nazis" out there. But I believe they need to get a life.

I think a good technique is something that makes life a bit easier, that doesn't cause problems. French, German etc all have their advantages.

One needs good motion to play well. Whether "taught" or not. If the action is bad there will be problems. From my experience most beginners have poor grip and motion. A good teacher who has lived in the trenches can offer help and advice. But is a teacher seen as a board member in this idea???
 

BattleArmor

Silver Member
Is their really an official board regarding technique? I do not think so. Technique is a means to an end, not an end in itself. There are many techniques at this time. Each player is different. I do know of some "technique Nazis" out there. But I believe they need to get a life.

I think a good technique is something that makes life a bit easier, that doesn't cause problems. French, German etc all have their advantages.

One needs good motion to play well. Whether "taught" or not. If the action is bad there will be problems. From my experience most beginners have poor grip and motion. A good teacher who has lived in the trenches can offer help and advice. But is a teacher seen as a board member in this idea???
Wouldnt French and German be a standard technique...?
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Is their really an official board regarding technique? I do not think so. Technique is a means to an end, not an end in itself. There are many techniques at this time. Each player is different. I do know of some "technique Nazis" out there. But I believe they need to get a life.

I think a good technique is something that makes life a bit easier, that doesn't cause problems. French, German etc all have their advantages.

One needs good motion to play well. Whether "taught" or not. If the action is bad there will be problems. From my experience most beginners have poor grip and motion. A good teacher who has lived in the trenches can offer help and advice. But is a teacher seen as a board member in this idea???
There have been many attempts to formalize a standard list of snare drum rudiments. The National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD), an organization established to promote back to Swiss mercenaries armed with long poll arms. The use of long pike in close "hedgehog" or Phalanx formation required a great deal of coordination, and the sound of the tabor, which cut through and could be heard above the battlefield noise, was used to set the tempo and communicate commands to pikers. Short sustain sound produced by tabor drum allowed to produce easily distinguished patterns which were used to convey different formation commands. These drumming patterns-commands became the basis of the snare drum rudiments.

A friend of mine got locked up because they found him with a concealed Double Paradiddle without a permit!
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
We all know about the official, or standard ways of playing the drums as far as technique is concerned. But some guys around the globe don't learn these things and still rip it on the kit.

I'm sure everyone has something they do that isn't considered "right" by drumming technique perfectionists...

What are you guys' opinions?

EDIT: Cool so now I remember there is a Technique specific forum here...so feel free to move it mods before I get bashed.
Interesting question to ponder. I can tell you that if put sticks in the hands of someone who has never played a set, they will try to play hands open. That is the natural thing to do, as no one crosses their hands to do anything - type, eat, drive, read, open doors, use tools, play any other instrument, etc. etc. Only the drums regularly require that that people cross their hands to play (although even drummers like to play open when they get a chance, which is why they put the ride on the right).

Crossed playing evolved because hihats were originally cymbals that clapped together with the left foot; advances led to the raised hihat stand. But by then, people were already playing ride patterns with the right hand, so they had to adapt to crossing over to play those same ride patterns on the hats.

Of course, they could have just learned to play open, or they could play open now, but the die has been cast. So the inherently more awkward way (crossed arms to play hats) is considered "right," while the more natural/ergonomic way (open) is considered a deviation from proper technique.
 
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