Thread: MOELLER METHOD
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Old 12-14-2005, 05:13 AM
TWH TWH is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Default Re: Moeller Technique

RE: Moeller

First, may I say, thank you for the comments concerning the Ďancientsí
online snare drum article I put together (mentioned above).

I have received many direct e-mails about it as well.

Please feel free to check out a recent e-mail I received
(and my response). It covers a number of the usual FAQs.

I think many drummers might find it an interesting read
================================================== =====
MY RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS SENT TO ME BY "Howie"

Hello

Thank you for your e-mail. This is a lengthy reply, but you asked a number of great questions.
Just to let you know, I have two articles online...

__One is for the 'traditional grip' drummers (called 'vintage')
http://www.DigbyDoodle.com/Moeller/Vintage.htm
__The other is more or less geared to the drum kit (called Jazz-Rock)
http://www.DigbyDoodle.com/Moeller/MoellerJazz-Rock.htm

Each has different videos...
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YOU SAID...
<Excellent site!
<A couple of questions.
<What do you think of the Jim Chapin Moeller video and the Dom Famularo Vic Firth web site clips and the <explanations in his book "it's your move?

ANS -->
I was in my early twenties when I saw a Joe Morello clinic (in the mid 1960s). I became a Moeller enthusiast from then on This was before videos and CDs came out, etc.
But in the end, I really learned Moeller from Moeller (his self-instructor book). I went back and studied the book that I was given in ninth grade.
Please visit the following page, because I give credit in my articles to those who have published before me. Notice that I give credit to Vic Virth, here, as well.

http://www.DigbyDoodle.com/Moeller/Chapin_.htm

In short...I have no up or down answer to your first question...except to say that well respected drummers (led by Chapin), over the years, have many times advertised the benefits of Moeller's concepts (books, tapes, CDs, clinics, etc.) That, for sure, has been a really good thing.

Regarding the other parts of your question, I feel it's not appropropriate to critique anyone else who has found the time to extol the benefits of studying the snare drum (at least a little) with the 'Moeller' point of view.
There are many Moeller detractors in the drumming world, and the talk and rehashing about Moeller's ideas is good.

It's too bad that different terms have been made up that circumvent terms and descriptions Moeller used in his book. This has really confused people, it seems to me.
But, it keeps his ideas alive and ready for those who eventually tune into the 'Moeller world'... I would say that the drive to understand Moeller is almost magical among young drummers!

Here's where I'm coming from...
...Moeller for beginners. I merely went through the book and put together a review or explanation as to what's in the book. Period.
If anyone doesn't care for my grips...compare them with the pictures in the book. If one doesn't take into account when and why the book was compiled and written...there's a good chance that they won't get what the book is saying and what is being demonstrated. Perhaps I can help in that regard.

Think of Moeller as experiencing a really great novel. Many will read it, but how many will 'understand' and 'see' all the levels and such?
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YOU ASKED....
<Also, my drum teacher told me that he was going to teach me "modified moeller" that he learned from Joe <Morello. How does it differ?

ANS-->
With all due respect ... when someone tells me "I have a modified such and such" ... why not just go to the 'real thing' ... GO BACK TO AN ORIGINAL SOURCE and check it?. You must read all of Moeller's words and study all the pictures, however. Keep in mind that it was written during the jazz age, as well.
Then, you can better consider and learn what a 'modified' Moeller technique looks like...anyone can say 'this is Moeller'...even though it isn't!

In his book, Moeller writes...a person may " go to some drummer more or less known and throw himself at his mercy, give him money and follow his teachings minutely and still be found fault with."
He continues..."Sooner or later [he/she] will become aware that no one drummer knows it all or has invented any new system that all bow to."

My article is only suggesting, to those who are interested, that their goal should be to imitate the book first, and then modify (make adjustments) afterward. Just to sum up...if it is necessary, and there is no one to show you...THE BOOK CAN BE AS GOOD AS A TEACHER...(direct from Moeller to you)...One must take into account when it was written, that's all.
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YOU ASKED....
<Also, how can Moeller be used for fast singles/finger control?
<Thanks for your time,
<Howie

ANS-->
I don't recall Moeller discussing finger control as did Gladstone, Wilcoxen and others, etc.
I have a 'Moeller-like' answer / innovation, however...

If I am doing fast singles on a marching drum (or a kit snare drum situated at an angle - traditional style), I have learned to render the finger bounce from above (without changing the grip) (my personal approach).
In other words...I grip the right stick with the 'Moeller grip' (drum at an angle) and, using the index finger only, 'dribble' the stick from above (as if a ball).

This is how I do fast 'finger' single strokes when using the grips pictured in Moeller's book. Because I am copying the pictures in his book...I have to use both index fingers.

This technique seems to be original on my part...finger bouncing on a drum, while maintaining the little finger grip (Moeller grip). You have to have a strong little finger, though. Lot's of practice time.

But to finally clarify, ...
If I am rendering fast singles on a suspended cymbal utilizing the finger bounce, I would not be using the 'Moeller grip', as the Moeller method (in the strictest sense) is not involved here.
I would personally use the popular matched grip (thumb fulcrum) and make use of my middle fingers to push up from below. It's perfectly compatible to incorporate Moeller concepts into your technique AND use, for instance, the 'Gladston approach' for finger control as well.
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And lastly, If I may say... most of the inquiries I get have to do with worrying about technique.
Many years ago I was involved with some of Jeff Hamilton's master classes (I like his brush work). He reminded me that having a great set of hands isn't all there is! Why spend so much time on technique if no one is going to hear your playing? What good is how well you understand Moeller, then?

But I agree with what Jeff was getting at...play with what ya got...keep trying to improve on what works for you. If Moeller helps your playing...sweet. If he doesn't, what's the difference? Something else may work better for you.

I personally believe that Moeller's methods are the best place to start. Nobody will be able to get everyone to agree with that, however! Many will always feel that Moeller is totally backwards and old fashioned. Their loss!

Technique is merely the vocabulary you have to work with. Miles Davis became famous by playing 'slower' (fewer notes) than the boppers (Dizzy and Charlie, et al of the late 1940s and 50s). He's considered just as important to jazz as Dizzy, right?

My advice...express yourself musically, not just technically!

All the best...Tommy
TWH
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