Traditional methods for teaching hand technique (take 2)

Rock Salad

Junior Member
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?

My take is learn them all well. It is absolutely helping me.
I just said, "it would be cool if..."
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
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

They've only seen one way, so thats all they know. Anyone of the hundreds of other ways I know and continuously try to expand are obviously all wrong.

The local hero who just puts the on a kit with no plan is just as bad.

They have no willingness to learn and grown themselves and have no ability to look objetively at a situation and adjust to get a desireable result.

Again there's a connection to narcissism and all the issues in music schools, school bands, small town musical and culture life in general which is why I've gotten a bit politically outspoken about this over the years. It gets so annoying because the soultions are there and they're not really all that complicated either. It's just a change of attitude.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
They've only seen one way, so thats all they know. Anyone of the hundreds of other ways I know and continuously try to expand are obviously all wrong.

The local hero who just puts the on a kit with no plan is just as bad.

They have no willingness to learn and grown themselves and have no ability to look objetively at a situation and adjust to get a desireable result.

Again there's a connection to narcissism and all the issues in music schools, school bands, small town musical and culture life in general which is why I've gotten a bit politically outspoken about this over the years. It gets so annoying because the soultions are there and they're not really all that complicated either. It's just a change of attitude.

the old way has obviously produced some killing players ... I just don't agree with it and do not feel like it is affective with today's students who's attention spans and need for instant gratification takes them in other directions when approached with methods like that.

I wish more of my students loved drums and had a burning desire to learn about all the nuances that make this instrument beautiful but that is just not the case

Unfortunately there is a number of them who often need to be enticed with shiny new adventures to get them to even practice

I used to get angry about that because I simply didn't understand it ... at their age you couldn't keep me away from the drums and you never ... literally never saw me not listening to music

just not the case with the majority of students so I focus on keeping it fun with the ones who may not have found the passion yet and crack the whip with those who have
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
It would be super cool if someone developed a teaching method that went directly to "what you use" technique

That's basically what is normally done-- they show you how to hold the sticks, and then you start learning about reading music, quarter notes and rests and everything. When it's time to learn flams, or how to roll, you learn the technique for that, and then you get some music where you work on that. Most of the time technique is not something you work out intensively with a teacher. Maybe if you're extremely ambitious about that aspect, and are basically playing at a professional level, you go work with a technique master. But it's definitely not supposed to be the primary focus for novices or little kids.

The real trick-- which has been my whole project-- is to teach in a way that supports real world playing-- where you have to give a professional performance the first time you play something, without having heard the music before, with or without a chart. Real playing is very direct-- as it is people mostly have to just figure it out, and get lucky in who they're around-- what drummers and teachers. If they don't, they're kind of screwed. They're relegated to learning "parts."

But teachers being primarily technique-focused is a recent thing-- like I said, I think it's people who are primarily media-educated, who don't know what else to teach. Or maybe they know about music, but they're just not that interested, they'd rather experiment on trying to make their students into little technical machines. I'm trying to figure it out.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
That's basically what is normally done-- they show you how to hold the sticks, and then you start learning about reading music, quarter notes and rests and everything. When it's time to learn flams, or how to roll, you learn the technique for that, and then you get some music where you work on that. Most of the time technique is not something you work out intensively with a teacher. Maybe if you're extremely ambitious about that aspect, and are basically playing at a professional level, you go work with a technique master. But it's definitely not supposed to be the primary focus for novices or little kids.

The real trick-- which has been my whole project-- is to teach in a way that supports real world playing-- where you have to give a professional performance the first time you play something, without having heard the music before, with or without a chart. Real playing is very direct-- as it is people mostly have to just figure it out, and get lucky in who they're around-- what drummers and teachers. If they don't, they're kind of screwed. They're relegated to learning "parts."

But teachers being primarily technique-focused is a recent thing-- like I said, I think it's people who are primarily media-educated, who don't know what else to teach. Or maybe they know about music, but they're just not that interested, they'd rather experiment on trying to make their students into little technical machines. I'm trying to figure it out.

this is great... I literally do this at almost every lesson with my more advanced students ... or at least I did when we were in person.

we play a game called Hired/Fired

luckily the majority of my teaching happens at a music school where there are musicians in the hall all the time ... so what I do is hand them a chart when they walk in and grab a bass player and a sax player or whoever is around and they run the chart

either that or I make them listen down to the tune ... make their own chart ... then after they make their chart I make changes on the spot like what would happen in a real situation... then they play with the musicians

I've never seen students learn faster ... honestly
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Can I ask, what are ‘these’ exercises you feel should be by-passed?
From my own personal experience, it was stuff I wasnt going to use. On day 1 my instructor asked me "What kind of drummer do you want to be?" to which I replied "A metal drummer." We talked about the music I like and wanted to learn, and he tailored my learning around it. He explained to me that all drumming will be based in the same exercises, only how you use it will be different. This was in 93, so no internet. My instructor was an old school jazz guy. He showed me brush stuff, but didnt teach it to me. He didnt bother to teach me how to swing the ride while keeping time with hats. Instead he taught me rudiments, how to move them around and apply them to the kit, and how to build speed with them. He showed me how to do the same with my feet. We did do some very slow sight reading so I would know how, and so I could write charts if needed. He straightened out and fixed my hands, but he more of less let me dictate the direction he was going to take me.

If we had only gone over things in a generic formation, I probably would have gotten bored and not learned anything. But by tailoring my education to what I wanted, it kept me engaged and didnt waste either of our time.

I've still never used a brush on a drumset, nor have I ever owned any. And in the same regard, it would be pointless to teach a kid who wants to be a country drummer blast beats and double kick.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
From my own personal experience, it was stuff I wasnt going to use. On day 1 my instructor asked me "What kind of drummer do you want to be?" to which I replied "A metal drummer." We talked about the music I like and wanted to learn, and he tailored my learning around it. He explained to me that all drumming will be based in the same exercises, only how you use it will be different. This was in 93, so no internet. My instructor was an old school jazz guy. He showed me brush stuff, but didnt teach it to me. He didnt bother to teach me how to swing the ride while keeping time with hats. Instead he taught me rudiments, how to move them around and apply them to the kit, and how to build speed with them. He showed me how to do the same with my feet. We did do some very slow sight reading so I would know how, and so I could write charts if needed. He straightened out and fixed my hands, but he more of less let me dictate the direction he was going to take me.

If we had only gone over things in a generic formation, I probably would have gotten bored and not learned anything. But by tailoring my education to what I wanted, it kept me engaged and didnt waste either of our time.

I've still never used a brush on a drumset, nor have I ever owned any. And in the same regard, it would be pointless to teach a kid who wants to be a country drummer blast beats and double kick.

Yep. This is the first question that any teacher should ask of any student. I Totally agree with his approach.
 

Mr Farkle

Well-known member
From my own personal experience, it was stuff I wasnt going to use. On day 1 my instructor asked me "What kind of drummer do you want to be?" to which I replied "A metal drummer." We talked about the music I like and wanted to learn, and he tailored my learning around it. He explained to me that all drumming will be based in the same exercises, only how you use it will be different. This was in 93, so no internet. My instructor was an old school jazz guy. He showed me brush stuff, but didnt teach it to me. He didnt bother to teach me how to swing the ride while keeping time with hats. Instead he taught me rudiments, how to move them around and apply them to the kit, and how to build speed with them. He showed me how to do the same with my feet. We did do some very slow sight reading so I would know how, and so I could write charts if needed. He straightened out and fixed my hands, but he more of less let me dictate the direction he was going to take me.

If we had only gone over things in a generic formation, I probably would have gotten bored and not learned anything. But by tailoring my education to what I wanted, it kept me engaged and didnt waste either of our time.

I've still never used a brush on a drumset, nor have I ever owned any. And in the same regard, it would be pointless to teach a kid who wants to be a country drummer blast beats and double kick.

This approach has kept me playing. I hired a drum instructor after being self taught for a few years. Right away he corrected some of my bad habits, but only enough to keep me moving forward. Virtually no hand technique other than STOP chopping wood. I have often faulted him for not teaching me the fundamentals that I had to learn later but maybe he was wiser than I give him credit. He knew what I needed at the time to stay in the game.

The first time I met my latest instructor (jazz oriented) he had me play for a few minutes and then he put on some music and had me listen to the drummer while he commented. I’ve only seen him four or five times, but each time for most of the lesson we do that same thing. I don’t think he’s ever even looked at my hands. Again a man of great wisdom.

Either way at some point, if you really want to progress, you’re going to need to get off YouTube and find the right teacher.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
I believe in employing any technique that enables you to play. A lot of the theories of rebound, free strokes, Moeller, and others, were methods adopted by snare drummers. I believe in UTILIZING, but not RELYING on rebound. Use it as you must. But every stroke is to be a rebound, the sound, I believe will me mushy and unclear. If I were to subscribe to a method--and believe me, I've worked at many--I was return to my first drum book, "The Gene Krupa Drum Method." I use traditional grip, mainly, and I've found none better than Gene's explanation of stick grips. For the right hand, Krupa mentions three grips, but only illustrates one. For most playing, I like to employ the grip as exemplified by Tony Williams in his Zildjian Days video. It offers the drummer power and control. But to each his own; many, many drummers have defied the classic techniques, and yet have become drummers of legend. Remember, there are many paths to the waterfall.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
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
Yeah, son, lay on top of this mannequin for a year before you get a girlfriend. Not a fan of that either.
 

BillBachman

Gold 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?

I always start with the free stroke all the way up past vertical (that's step 1 of the Extreme Hands Makeover on drumworkout.com). I do this because the only way to get all the way up/back there is by all but eliminating any extra tension in the hands. Once a player gets the feeling of those relaxed physics then things can come down and the loose flowing freedom will stay intact. Plus, having the full range of motion dialed in will make things better at all dynamic levels.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
Take what you like and leave the rest. I played for years professionally before taking lessons and learning to read. I did long drum solos, but wouldn't know a drum rudiment from a porcupine, though I did play many without knowing what they were called. It is possible to watch and listen to great drummers and get a working knowledge that way. But I needed to learn to play jazz, so I got a teacher and set about slaving for literacy in jazz. As far as technique goes, there are many paths to the waterfall, many ways to go about it. Some drummers hold their sticks in the classic, traditional way, and play gracefully. In recent decades, most drummers went the way of matched grip, and sound terrific that way. If you look at Ari Hoenig and Bill Stewart, you'd think they learned to hold the sticks from an ape. YET--there are few better drummers than those two. John msey, who teaches and Berklee and traveled for years as the manager for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, couldn't understand how Art could play so great with the grip he employed. And remember, no matter which way you hold the sticks, it'll be judged as wrong by somebody. That ought to tell you something.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Take what you like and leave the rest. I played for years professionally before taking lessons and learning to read. I did long drum solos, but wouldn't know a drum rudiment from a porcupine, though I did play many without knowing what they were called. It is possible to watch and listen to great drummers and get a working knowledge that way. But I needed to learn to play jazz, so I got a teacher and set about slaving for literacy in jazz. As far as technique goes, there are many paths to the waterfall, many ways to go about it. Some drummers hold their sticks in the classic, traditional way, and play gracefully. In recent decades, most drummers went the way of matched grip, and sound terrific that way. If you look at Ari Hoenig and Bill Stewart, you'd think they learned to hold the sticks from an ape. YET--there are few better drummers than those two. John msey, who teaches and Berklee and traveled for years as the manager for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, couldn't understand how Art could play so great with the grip he employed. And remember, no matter which way you hold the sticks, it'll be judged as wrong by somebody. That ought to tell you something.

that is true in any activity for sure....there does become a point where you have to say, "I am not gonna please everyone"...and I think it comes down to not so much as the "wrong way" to do something, but "the least effective" way...and that is going to be different from player to player...

I could NEVER fathom playing the way/holding the sticks like Blakey, or Baard Kolstad, or Josh Dun...all of them seem so ineffective....but they pull off what they need to do brilliantly, so it is obviously effective for them
 
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