Traditional methods for teaching hand technique (take 2)

prokofi5

Junior Member
I'm curious why pretty much all of the material for learning hand technique utilizes the idea of full rebound strokes when I don't see a lot of people play that way. I play mostly jazz and coffee house type music, but even the rock and funk guys I follow seem to use shorter strokes and rely on rimshots for accents moreso than strokes coming from vertical. My last teacher was a big rudimental drumming guy, but aside from playing on the pad if I played those full strokes with a group I'd get kicked out. It just seems odd that the biggest complaint about drummers seems to be that we're too loud, but we're not taught early on to play in a more controlled manner. I spent so much time working things out on the pad for him only to have to relearn it in a different technique on the kit. Is there a school or method that I'm missing?
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
A full rebound stroke teaches you to play off the drum. It’s a necessary component to learning basic technique but as Odd-Arne indicates, it’s only one part of a greater whole of sticking heights. Sounds like you never learned half or low strokes which provide lower volume options.

Many of the rudimental rolls have accented notes so you learn the dynamic contrast between stick heights. The rudiments offer plenty of dynamic control opportunities so I wouldn’t fault the rudiments themselves.

I have no problem playing soft or loud and I attribute that to developing my technique over years and practicing rudiments regularly.

An approach might be to go back and revisit practicing different stick heights, focusing on low stick heights especially.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
The reboundy thing is easy to sell. It looks impressive and there's a plausible sounding rationale for it. It's useful for some things. And if a person has normal, boring looking technique, there's no obvious product-- they have to make videos about something else, and they may not know anything else to talk about.

All the people I listen to have pretty economical, basic looking technique. Some of them are graceful about it, some look ugly or screwed up-- to me Ari Hoenig has really ugly (but highly practiced) technique. If there's an opposite of the reboundy thing, he's it. And he's one of the most burning players in the world.

There is no school of that, that I'm aware of. The hold the sticks normally and play the music school. I guess look at what people talk about instead of technique. Studying with Charles Dowd the whole technique conversation was about touch and sound, and executing the part. When we got into something that looked reboundy, like timpani, that lift was a deliberate technique, it was never a question of bouncing the mallet. Bouncing isn't even an option on most percussion instruments.

I wrote about my basic philosophy, and some technique things I work on, here-- I don't necessarily play that way all the time in normal playing, but those are things that have improved my dynamics and control, and overall abilities.
 
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Mr Farkle

Well-known member
When you learn technique you exaggerate to see, feel and fully understand what's going on.

Practice everyhing at all dynamics.
That’s such an important point and I think that’s what is missing from those videos. When you first learn to bounce a ball you bounce it really high. If you practice enough you can learn to bounce a quarter inch off the floor, but you’re still bouncing it.

I spent years playing and living in an apartment. My strokes were so controlled that I never learned to follow the stick and give it that little extra push to keep it bouncing. I‘ve only very recently fixed that issue.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
to me, rebound is relative to dynamics

a mp (mezzo piano) stroke, that comes from only 3" above the head should rebound back to that 3" if that is what the next dynamic calls for
same with a mezzo forte 6-9" stroke etc.

if you are combining dynamics - by using accents - then you go into the next level of control combining rebound strokes with down strokes. Down strokes are the "stop" stroke that changes the stick height/dynamic level.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I'm curious why pretty much all of the material for learning hand technique utilizes the idea of full rebound strokes when I don't see a lot of people play that way. I play mostly jazz and coffee house type music, but even the rock and funk guys I follow seem to use shorter strokes and rely on rimshots for accents moreso than strokes coming from vertical. My last teacher was a big rudimental drumming guy, but aside from playing on the pad if I played those full strokes with a group I'd get kicked out. It just seems odd that the biggest complaint about drummers seems to be that we're too loud, but we're not taught early on to play in a more controlled manner. I spent so much time working things out on the pad for him only to have to relearn it in a different technique on the kit. Is there a school or method that I'm missing?

When was the last time you taught a beginner? What technique there is, is often complete crap: squeezing like hell with the thumb and index, elbows out, shoulders powering every stroke, no wrist or finger motion at all. And you can't even make it through the simplest song without at least using some wrist.

Maybe your teacher paid lip service to dynamics, but never practiced at lower volumes with you. But you figured it out eventually, right? You learned which parts of your hands and wrist and elbows to utilize, in proportions that would give you proper volume and control. This "re-learning" process was certainly made faster because you learned to fully engage your wrist and fingers in the first place. After a certain point, musicians should own their own education. Don't lay it at the feet of your underpaid, under-appreciated teachers.

Going further, the complaint that the drummer is "too loud" is often a substitute for a more nuanced critique (often by a non-drummer musician). The drummer may simply be unbalanced, in one of many ways. Most commonly with beginners and amateurs, it's the cymbals that are too loud w.r.t. the kick and snare. But there are so many ways to have an unbalanced sound coming from the kit. "Too loud" is what gets said, but who knows what is actually meant?

Personally, when I teach rebound strokes, it's one of four basic types of strokes: full, down, tap, and up. Only in the Youtube era, are there videos that stop after the first type of stroke.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
There are other approaches to drumset technique than the rebound/free stroke approach.

As Todd mentioned, rebound isn't even an option on many percussion instruments.

Check out Riccardo Merlini, who has modified Mike Mangini's approach to a new level and codified it so that anyone with the desire can learn to do it.

He can play just as fast barehanded as he can with sticks. Definitely not a rebound approach.

 

WhoIsTony?

Member
most who preach rebound so hard are just passing the old bill in my opinion

in reality I'm about 80% controlled strokes filled in with 20% of rebound as the webbing between those controlled strokes ... if that makes sense

you cannot play drums effectively without using rebound ... but controlled strokes play a much larger role than most books and teachers will lead you to believe.

I think it is just harder to teach a student how to USE rebound and not RELY on it that makes it such a focal point
 
Tempo and the subdivisions you're playing also put a hard limit on achieving that idealized (and as already discussed exaggerated and often unnecessary) full rebound.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
When was the last time you taught a beginner? What technique there is, is often complete crap: squeezing like hell with the thumb and index, elbows out, shoulders powering every stroke, no wrist or finger motion at all. And you can't even make it through the simplest song without at least using some wrist.

Maybe your teacher paid lip service to dynamics, but never practiced at lower volumes with you. But you figured it out eventually, right? You learned which parts of your hands and wrist and elbows to utilize, in proportions that would give you proper volume and control. This "re-learning" process was certainly made faster because you learned to fully engage your wrist and fingers in the first place. After a certain point, musicians should own their own education. Don't lay it at the feet of your underpaid, under-appreciated teachers.

Going further, the complaint that the drummer is "too loud" is often a substitute for a more nuanced critique (often by a non-drummer musician). The drummer may simply be unbalanced, in one of many ways. Most commonly with beginners and amateurs, it's the cymbals that are too loud w.r.t. the kick and snare. But there are so many ways to have an unbalanced sound coming from the kit. "Too loud" is what gets said, but who knows what is actually meant?

Personally, when I teach rebound strokes, it's one of four basic types of strokes: full, down, tap, and up. Only in the Youtube era, are there videos that stop after the first type of stroke.

church!!!

I also sometimes refer to the downstroke as a "half rebound" stroke to avoid any excess tension in creating the lower level height
 

LittleLegs

Senior Member
Lots of techniques have benefits that go beyond their literal application. For me, the biggest benefit of learning a rebound approach is that it trains you to stay relaxed. No matter what volume you play at, once you can control your sticks’ rebound, you can relax the hand, wrist, elbow with confidence. This helps you keep better time, gives you a better feel, and - maybe most importantly - means drumming takes less of a toll on your body.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Lots of techniques have benefits that go beyond their literal application. For me, the biggest benefit of learning a rebound approach is that it trains you to stay relaxed. No matter what volume you play at, once you can control your sticks’ rebound, you can relax the hand, wrist, elbow with confidence. This helps you keep better time, gives you a better feel, and - maybe most importantly - means drumming takes less of a toll on your body.

I've relearned this the hard way a couple of times.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
It would be super cool if someone developed a teaching method that went directly to "what you use" technique and by passed all these exercises (that I'll bet we all still do.)
In other instruments there are similarly non musical exercises for sure.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It would be super cool if someone developed a teaching method that went directly to "what you use" technique and by passed all these exercises (that I'll bet we all still do.)
In other instruments there are similarly non musical exercises for sure.

I don't really think bypassing is a good ideas, but taking the time to make each student understand the benefits, discuss various views, explaining why I choose to do something and maybe som other drummers do things differently is part of being a good teacher. At least this openness, honesty and transparancy is how I'm able to sell things to my students. Many old teachers can't understand how Iget the results I do, but it's simple. I choice to be openminded and don't pretend to have anything than an opinion and a general understanding. I don't force them to use my technique I just want them to be informed, try things and make conscious desicions.

Part of being a good teacher, especially as the only resource a young student has access to, is to not only know what you need to play what you like but being able to give any type of student the tools they need. Most of my predecessors fail terribly in this regard and have taught a lot of wrong things that have no relevance to the situation at all. They only know how they were taught to them by their school band many many years ago. This is why when I started learning this instrument because I had to teach it I went to as many different people as possible.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
They only know how they were taught to them by their school band many many years ago. .

I run into this almost weekly ... especially with the influx of virtual students lately because of parents trying to keep their kids occupied

they've either been taught by a band director who is a trumpet player or something like that... or they had a very old school teacher who is one of those "play on a pad for a year before touching the drums" kind of guys

not a fan of either of those
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
It would be super cool if someone developed a teaching method that went directly to "what you use" technique and by passed all these exercises (that I'll bet we all still do.)
In other instruments there are similarly non musical exercises for sure.

It would be nice, yes, but those things simply can't exist. You have to develop dexterity overall, first, and then you can specialize and refine from there. Besides, how are you supposed to know what the demands of your gigs will be, 10 or 20 years into the future?

Surgeons don't learn to do open heart surgery on day 1; they take gross anatomy and microbiology like everyone else.

EDIT: If I had some "direct line" or "cheat code" to developing useful technique, while skipping the fundamentals as they're currently taught, saving the student lots of time -- I'd do it. And I wouldn't even raise my rate. But the hard truth is that learning a wide dynamic range, and a handful of other techniques (Moeller, push/pull/throw/catch, mallet-lift, German/American/French) is the fastest, most proven way to give the student the tools they need in order to develop their own approach and style, for whatever comes their way in the future.
 
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LittleLegs

Senior Member
It would be super cool if someone developed a teaching method that went directly to "what you use" technique and by passed all these exercises (that I'll bet we all still do.)

Maybe, but if you’re playing in AC/DC or Zappa “what you use” is going to be different. And you can’t know what someone will
play when they start. So give them the tools they need to get to a level where they can focus how they want to develop.

I must admit that this is interesting. I’m an older drummer who learned a long time before drumming videos and most of the techniques these days didn’t have fancy names back then! If I was a younger player I think I’d be overwhelmed by all the information; I’m sure people loose years of their lives to some more advanced/esoteric push/pull technique that they find they have limited use for (but it’s bound to improve their hands and touch).

Can I ask, what are ‘these’ exercises you feel should be by-passed?

This thread was talking about controlling rebound of the drum head which is surely a fundamental skill?
 
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