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I found out about the Moeller Method from my drum instructor Jungle Jim. When I went for my first lesson, Jim pointed out that I needed to loosen up when playing and he suggested I could benefit from learning the Moeller Method. I had never heard of this technique in all the 30 years of my playing. My main approach to drumming came from my years in Marching band. I learned about the power of double stroke rolls and stick control but with a very precise approach and in unison with other players. The idea of a marching unit is to look like one player at all times. This took great discipline and focus. In order to execute well in a Marching unit you had to keep your sticks under tight control and use a lot of wrist control. You didn't want your arms and hands flying around. That wouldn't look uniform to the audience. Although this worked excellent for marching and drum corps, it doesn't transfer over to drum kit playing very well. I order to flow well on a drum kit you need more flexibility and a relaxed approach. I wasn't aware of this except for the fact that I would tire out easily and had troubles moving around the kit. I would watch great players and would be amazed at the fluid way they could execute fills. I thought it was just their nature. Little did I know it was how they were in motion? Using the Moeller Technique allows you to play really fast without working too hard.

Sanford A Moeller developed the Moeller Method. According to the information I read on Wikipedea about The Moeller Method, Stanford got the idea from observing Civil War drummers in the 1800's. He was amazed at the power and big sound these drummers would get out of these old snare drums. He observed them play with such ease. This information is explained well in the book The Art of Snare Drumming. He mainly presented this technique for stand up drummers, but he did also show ways for the sit down kit drummers. Jazz drummers Gene Krupa , Jim Chapmin studied the Moeller Method extensively. Jim Chapmin became the main writer, and teacher of the Moeller Method until his death in 2009. Countless drummers such as Dave Weckl , Jeff Queen and my favorites Billy Canty , Dom Famularo , Jojo Mayer and Tony Royster jr. use The Moeller Method for their Playing.

The First Thing you want to do before attempting the Moeller Method is to get the proper grip of your drum-sticks. You can use either match grip or traditional grip. I use Match grip exclusively, not because it's better, it's just the way I learned. What's important is getting a good bounce off the head from your stick. Make sure you get a proper balance from the spot were you hold your stick. You can balance your stick on your index finger and move it up and down the stick to find the best position for the most rebounds off the head. Once you have found the balancing point of your sticks then you can grip them. Your grip should be relaxed when performing the Moeller Method. Placing the Thumb on the side of the stick without a lot of pressure it's just for keeping the stick in place. Your last three fingers should also have contact with the stick lightly, these fingers will help you control the bounce. You can use either your index finger or your middle finger in conjunction with your thumb to control the rebounds too. It's all up to how it feels for you. I like to use the German grip, which is the wrist facing me as I play. But there are other methods such as the French and American grips. You can find lot's of info on the web about different grips. Find the grip that feels good to you. Also don't be afraid of learning all the different stick grips. This may enhance your playing. The most important part of gripping your stick is to keep it relaxed when performing the Moeller Method.

The Moeller Method consists of three strokes. The first stroke is the Whipping Stroke. You can start to get this stroke down by lifting the elbow while keeping the wrist limp and then bringing the wrist upward in a whipping motion. It's almost like an invisible string is pulling your wrist upward and then pushing it down. There are some cool videos on youtube showing this technique. One of my favorites is a guy named Derrik Pope showing the moeller technique. Try this motion with a loose relaxed feel. At the end of the whip, your stick will contact the head. At this moment, allow the stick to bounce. Get comfortable doing this motion with both hands and allowing the bounces off the drum or practice pad. The second stroke is after the rebound on the up stroke of the whip, leading with the wrist, you tap the head. You then hit another tap on the way back to the beginning of the whip. This motion in conjunction with a triplet feel in mind is a good introduction to exercising both hands for the Moeller technique. Triplet, Triplet Triplet on both hands while keeping that whipping flow and allowing the two tap notes to rebound. So the first stoke is the power note. It becomes a pumping motion when you speed it up. This will allow great speed and power behind your playing. You can also practice double strokes and single strokes with this technique. Check out the video above of myself doing this technique. There are many video examples of different drummers presenting the technique on You Tube as well. And, there are some great videos of Jim Chapmin too. I believe you can really improve your playing learning this method . In my next article I will give you examples of how you can apply this Method for your Bass drum playing. Have Fun and if there are any questions, you can reach me @ darrell.grey@gmail.com



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