Need a recommendation for a teacher for technique and hand rebuilding - specifically for faster singles and one hand multiples ("LLLLLLLL" etc)

Greg Critchley

New member
HI - First post!!

My hands are not working for me. After many years of playing professionally, I still have a very slow left hand, and find that any attempts to gain speed always results in stiffness. I feel like I'm genetically doomed to slow hands, especially my L hand, and especially when it comes to singles, and multiple strokes on one hand, which is such a requirement in jazz.

I'd like to find a teacher (ideally, locally, but open to skype) that can help be rebuild and/or undo whatever is keeping me from progressing. I'm on the east coast (Hilton Head Island, SC, not far from Savannah GA, or Charleston).

I play matched grip, so ideally the teacher could demonstrate in matched.

Any suggestions for a teacher that would fit the bill? I thought about Yoni Madar, but I can't get a response from his website. Bruce becker is also an option, but I don't necessarily play in his style. Antonio Sanchez would be an amazing option (but he doesn't teach). Same with Steve Smith. I have the Tommy Igo and Jojo Mayer's DVDs, but they don't get into the "how" part of gaining speed. I need someone that can prescribe what to do to get there, and to ppoint out where I'm getting in my own way. I'm open to any/all suggestions.

Thanks!!
Greg
 

drummage

Junior Member
Hello Greg! I'm hoping I can offer you a simple technique that has helped me tremendously. A well known teacher named Murray Spivack used this as the basis of developing speed... Use the middle finger as the fulcrum as opposed to the "pointy" finger. I've also gotten allot of mileage using a Gel pad, following that line of thinking guys like Dennis Chambers and Buddy Rich were advocates of practicing on a pillow. If you do even a cursory search on Murray Spivack you will see exactly what I'm talking about... Best of luck to you.
 

blinky

Senior Member
Hi Greg,
I've been in the same position as you and still am, but I am starting to see progress. I think many of these problems lie in stiff hands, and that the way to fix this is slow, relaxed and deliberate practice on the pad. There are several good teachers out there, but I feel the ones that work for me are Bruce Becker and Daniel Glass, both have studied under Freddie Gruber.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Becker, Famulara, whomever you find to help you, I don't think you can go wrong with any of these teachers, regardless of the style they play.

But, I am/somewhat was in the same boat as you (minus the professional part), and I decided earlier this year to do a hard "reset" and focus almost exclusively on my hands. I, too, have been working through Igoe's GHFAL, and I dedicate almost an hour a day practicing only the Rebound and Accents exercises in the beginning of his book.

One thing I had to realize, and it was humbling to do so, was that my left hand was truly holding me back. Where I once thought that merely practicing leading with my left hand would improve it, I realized that I had to revamp my left hand technique and start again from square one. This is where Igoe's GHFAL comes in.

I would suggest that you focus on those to parts of the book, and honestly ask yourself whether you are really using the fulcrum in your left hand like you do in your right hand, or whether it's still trying to "muscle" its way through whatever you're playing like mine was (and still does at times). Once you start to incorporate the fulcrum in your left hand, you'll find that you start developing the control you need to gain speed. As many have said here and in other places, speed is a by-product of control, and until both hands are even and utilizing the fulcrum to play, only then will you start to gain speed. For sure, it's difficult and downright humbling at first as you find yourself starting all over again like a newborn doe trying to walk for the first time, but, once you do start to "get it", the results come fast. Remember what Igoe says on the DVD that it can take weeks, even months, to get it down. So, hang in there, it may be tough, but it's definitely feasible.
 

danondrums

Drum Expert
I injected steroids into my left this summer by doing the following:
Technique Patterns - Chaffee - Pgs 6-7 - single finger exercises - This is so critical in getting your finger muscle memory to follow the stick. When you use all fingers, your strong ones take over and your weak ones get weaker. - Metronome, I started at 40bpm - Slow motions get the muscle memory to stick more quickly.
Then I played a lot of line 1, pg 18 from Chapin's advanced studies. It's just the basic swing pattern with the snare playing every single triplet.
Then I played a lot of line 1, pg. 4 from Chapin's book. Basic swing pattern with shuffling the snare.
And finally double stroke roll exercises while leading with the left more often that with the right.

I felt these exercises got me going really quickly. I always use a metronome and I have a digital notebook where I track my tempos as well as grade myself on overall accuracy of the exercise. I had taken ten years off from the drums and went pretty rain man this past summer.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
When I saw you mention the desire to work on the one hand multiples the first person that came to my mind is Kenwood Dennard. I know he's on faculty at Berklee College of Music. I bet he might do a Skype lesson too. I'm sure you'll be in good hands with whoever you choose.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Another +1 for individual finger exercises in the Chaffee book.

Practice on a variety of surfaces. To my hands the Aquarian super pad is the most realistic. The rubber pads tend to “grip” the stick as it bounces, whereas the super pad will allow the stick to slide off to the opposite side, if your stick path is anything but slightly vertical. The rubber pads allow you to cheat a bit on your stick path; the super pad doesn’t.
 

TMe

Senior Member
Technique Patterns - Chaffee - Pgs 6-7 - single finger exercises

Which Chaffee book are you referring to? My fulcrum keeps wandering all over the place lately. I'd like to sort out exactly what I'm doing.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Which Chaffee book are you referring to? My fulcrum keeps wandering all over the place lately. I'd like to sort out exactly what I'm doing.

You quoted the name of the book before you even asked the question. The answer is right there in your own post.
 

drummage

Junior Member
I'd suggest reaching out to Dom Famularo for a Skype lesson...
Yes! I know Dom very well. Super nice guy, great teacher..! I love him on a count of his eclectic approach. He's been teaching for like 40 years. Last I spoke with Dom he had just gotten back from Brazil for a clinic. Good luck!!!
 

drummage

Junior Member
Hello Greg! I'm hoping I can offer you a simple technique that has helped me tremendously. A well known teacher named Murray Spivack used this as the basis of developing speed... Use the middle finger as the fulcrum as opposed to the "pointy" finger. I've also gotten allot of mileage using a Gel pad, following that line of thinking guys like Dennis Chambers and Buddy Rich were advocates of practicing on a pillow. If you do even a cursory search on Murray Spivack you will see exactly what I'm talking about... Best of luck to you.
 

drummage

Junior Member
Hi Greg, do you use a practice pad? I highly recommend a Gel pad, made by Rtom, there's virtually no bounce. If you use a conventional pad, take a bath towel, fold it in half and cover the pad. I use mine (Vater) for 2 hours a day. I fold my towel 3 times, really negates the bounce. If you like, try a pair of graphite sticks on the aforementioned gel pad... Or a pillow for similar effect. I hope these suggestions help you as much as they have helped me. Good luck!!!
 

drummage

Junior Member
Ps... And practice to a metronome!!! It will reinforce your timing, and you can gauge you progress...
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Hi Greg, do you use a practice pad? I highly recommend a Gel pad, made by Rtom, there's virtually no bounce. If you use a conventional pad, take a bath towel, fold it in half and cover the pad. I use mine (Vater) for 2 hours a day. I fold my towel 3 times, really negates the bounce. If you like, try a pair of graphite sticks on the aforementioned gel pad... Or a pillow for similar effect. I hope these suggestions help you as much as they have helped me. Good luck!!!

One of my favorites is to put a snare reso head on a gel pad or a pillow. You can hear your mistakes clearly that way, but still work without much rebound.
 
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