Hey guys, thanks a lot for the kind words (for the most part :) ). I'm always happy to see when my books/lessons/drumworkout.com and such are helping people out. I saw this thread last week, but have been too slammed teaching/rehearsing/gigging to check in. I should be doing my taxes right now, but here I am!
I always start my first lesson with people with a disclaimer like this: "Realize that what I'm telling you technically is almost always geared towards exactly what you are currently playing with a certain technique at a certain tempo and to please avoid absolutes. Virtually every potential "rule" I tell you will get broken down the road doing something else. Plus, sometimes I'm making you over-do something a certain way such that you'll maximize the concept and then we'll reel it in as step 2." So, only sometimes for certain techniques/situations do I teach things like "more wrist & less fingers", "no gap between thumb and hand", "make the stick heights strict", "sticks point downhill" and such. Other times you'll want to do the opposite.
People love oversimplified rules as if technique were a "one size fits all" type of thing. There are many different tools for different jobs. On that note, I don't differentiate between marching technique and drumset technique, but instead believe in having complete
technique which makes all the options available. Old school snare drumming did tend to be quite rigid and that style makes me cringe. (Quad players always have had more flow than the snare guys anyway.) The concept of rudimental guys guys being rigid and drumset guys flowing is now pretty much completely reversed, the drumset guys I get as students almost always have way tighter hands than the rudimental guys (and I've only ever had one student who didn't play with too much tension coming in the door in my nearly 20 years of teaching).
Also, my book Stick Technique
isn't just "a collection of articles", the first 1/3rd of it is my technique opus written for the book and then there are all the chapters which started as articles (in an organized series) which were then improved and adapted for the book format. So far every bit of feedback I've seen on it has been overwhelmingly positive which makes me happy.
As for "playing stiff and not swinging", I do what I can and am certainly not happy with everything out there on youtube. Aside from occasional nerves, I believe part of it is that many have no idea what it takes technically to pull that stuff off. There are some techniques where the upper arms/shoulders need to do work in order to make it easy on the hands--playing quads for instance can require a lot of upper-body muscles. Plus, if you watch me walk down the street my shoulders tend to look like they're up a bit and my arms stick out a bit like a weight-lifter's. It's just the way the Lord made me!
Here are a couple videos with some playing that I'm really happy with you guys may want to check out:
" -my old band cutting a demo in the studio (dig the half time shuffle in the bridge)
"Random Love Song
" -a couple friends and I creating a tune on the spot for potential TV placement
" -this is just a rudimetal improv on a pad
OK, back to work! happy drumming, Bill