Benefits Of The Moeller Method

Benefits Of The Moeller Method

Moeller Method AdvantagesIf you are a drummer looking to increase your speed, power, and control of your drumsticks, then you may want to look into the Moeller method. The Moeller method is a technique used on your sticks to maximize the control and speed of your drumsticks; ultimately improving your overall drumming. The Moeller method is a technique used by every professional drummer, so why not learn it yourself? Learning how to play the Moeller method is not actually that difficulty at all. Before you even start to learn the proper Moeller strokes, let me explain some of the benefits of the Moeller method.

Develop total control of your drumsticks

Whether you use the Moeller method for its full potential or not, learning how incorporate it into your everyday playing will help to develop a complete new feel and control for your drumsticks. With the Moeller method, you learn how to grip your drum sticks in ways never thought of before. These unique Moeller stick grips will enable you to get maximum bounce and control from your strokes. You will learn how to find the fulcrum point, or balancing point of the drum stick quick and easily. For a video lesson on finding the fulcrum point and proper stick grip, watch Mike Michalkow’s lesson on how to hold your drumsticks. You can also read up about the different type of stick grips with this powerful article on drumstick grips. These reasons alone are enough to at least study the Moeller method at least a short while.

Increase your power on your drumsticks

Once you have discovered the proper way to hold your drumsticks, you will be able to get the next benefit from the Moeller method – drumstick power! The Moeller method teaches a number of strokes that use your wrists as a whipping motion to get a very powerful strike on the drums. This motion is fairly easy to maneuver; however you must get the proper style down first. With this technique, you will be able to get the most power out of your drumsticks with very little work at all. Learning the Moeller method will increase your overall dynamics on the drum set.

Double, or even triple your drumstick speed

Probably one of the biggest benefits you will see from the Moeller method is the increased speed on your drumsticks. The Moeller method teaches you how to use the rebound of your stick to control the amount of strokes you get from each hit. When you have the Moeller method mastered, you will be able to get anywhere from 2 to 6 (or more) strokes for each hit of the drum. You can only imagine how much faster you could drum with the ability to get 4 times the amount of strokes from your basic drum roll. In the end, you will be able to master each of the 40 essential drum rudiments with speed, power and control.

When you break it down, there are too many reasons to learn the Moeller method to just ignore it. It may be a change from your regular style of drumming, but once learned, you will notice an improvement immediately. Sometimes learning a new technique may seem to set you backwards in your drumming skills; however once you are comfortable with it your skill level will increase that much faster. So take the time to look into this technique that is growing rapidly in popularity in the drumming community!

DRUM RUDIMENTS

Drum Rudiments

Drum Rudiments are one of the most important aspects of drumming. They are the building blocks to every drum beat, pattern, fill, and solo. Whatever your skill level is on the drums, practicing your rudiments is a must. Even if you are an advanced drummer, it’s always good to go over some of the more technical rudiments. There are 40 drum rudiments; some more complicated then the other. Out of those 40, there are about 5 essential rudiments that are a must for practicing. Read this article to learn the importance of drum rudiments, and gain a little bit of insight as to what a drum rudiment really is. If you would like to start learning some of these patterns, you can check out the drum rudiments video lesson section of FreeDrumLessons.com.

What are Drum Rudiments?

Many of you may be unfamiliar with the term Rudiments; however, do not worry. Drum rudiments aren’t a concept you aren’t aware of, maybe just a term you haven’t heard before. A drum rudiment is basically a sticking pattern. Every sticking pattern you play on the drum set is derived from different drum rudiments. Most are very common patterns that you are well aware of like the single stroke roll, double stroke roll, and flam stroke. Some are more complex and difficult to play. The next time you play the drums, you should look and see what rudiments you are actually playing. Drum rudiments are the essentials of drumming; they should be practiced by drummers to increase their stick control, speed and independence.

40 Essential Rudiments

You may have heard of the 40 Essential Drum Rudiments before; this is the list of rudiments that are played. They say if you master the 40 essential rudiments you are on your way to becoming a professional drummer. This is very true; if you can identify and play each one of these rudiments you will have built up enough knowledge and stick control to be a very skilled drummer. However, this takes a lot of work. Here is the list of rudiments:

Drum Rudiment Practice

Like I have said before, practicing these drum rudiments are very important. The best way to practice these is to take a pair of drum sticks, a metronome, and a practice pad and start playing. Make sure you are playing with a metronome to keep yourself on time. If you do not know where to start, here is a list of the top 5 rudiments you should start with: the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll, the flam stroke, the paradiddle, and the double paradiddle. These are the top 5 rudiments you should start with, as each one will teach you speed, control, independence and endurance on your sticks. Make sure you read up on these essential practice tips before you begin playing these rudiments; it will help you out a lot!

Most of the drum rudiments are variations of each other, meaning it is not too hard to learn all 40 rudiments. For example, if you can play a flam stroke, and a paradiddle pattern, you should have no trouble playing the flam paradiddle. In any case take the time to go over each one if you can.

Drum rudiments are more than just sticking patterns you practice on a practice pad. They are designed to be played in common drumming applications. What this means is they are designed to be played in drum beats, fills, and solos. Check out the drum rudiments section in the drum lessons tab to see a variety of applications for each rudiment. Here you will learn how to play each rudiment in its most simplistic form, as well as complex drum beats and drum solos! For an added challenge, try to incorporate these rudiments into your double bass drumming!

SPEED RATING CHART

The Speed Rating Chart allows drummers to track his or her hand to hand stick speed while at the same time developing a more proficient and overall faster single stroke roll (the most fundamental and important of them all). The rhythms are graduated and increase in speed with each consecutive rhythmic line.

The speed is rated as to how many beats you can play in 60 seconds. Therefore, the first line logically begins with quarter notes. Each (one) quarter note corresponds with one click of a metronome set at 60bpm* (beats per minute). At this slow speed, your speed rating would therefore be measured as a 60 (60 notes in 60 seconds). After that the following speed of each new rhythmic line increases dramatically. **

You will find that the continuous playing of a single stroke roll for 60 seconds, focusing on a specific rhythmic system near the top of your own personal best, can be very chalenging (in other words 60 seconds may seem like a long time).

Use the Speed Rating Chart as a learning tool to improve your single stroke roll speed while at the same time increasing your own ‘personal best’ speed rating to new levels.

*The Guinness Book of Records now recognizes the fastest drummer in the world. This is competition also based on how many single strokes a drummer can play in 60 seconds

**Not all rhythms are even rhythms, some are odd rhythms (ie: 3’s 5’s & 7’s…)


The Speed Rating Chart:

What Is Your Speed Rating?

How to check your speed rating:

Set your metronome to 60 bpm (beats per minute)

Then find the fastest hand to hand, single stroke rhythmic subdivision that you can maintain for one entire minute (ie: 60 ticks of a metronome set at 60).

This then becomes your speed rating.


 

= 60 bpm (beats per minute)
= 120 bpm
= 180 bpm
= 240 bpm
= 300 bpm
= 360 bpm
= 420 bpm
= 480 bpm
= 600 bpm
= 720 bpm
= 840 bpm
= 960 bpm
= 1200 bpm
 

* May also be used to gauge bass drum speed and double bass drum speed.

THE PRACTICE OF PRACTICE

We have all been told that practice makes perfect and to achieve perfection one must practice for hours everyday.  I am not about to say that I have a quick fix that will lessen your practice time but I do have a method that will improve your chances of achieving your goals.  I’ve seen too many players spend hours and hours on practice with little results.  Primarily their fault lay in the fact that they did not have a work schedule that they followed, rated and revised when needed. Here are some ideas that have helped me organize my practice routine and achieve much better results.

  • PLAN DAILY: – Organize your routine every day.  Decide how much time you have to practice that day and divide it up between:
a) Warm Ups
b) Rudiments – learning and application of
c) Groove & Fills
d) Learning a song

 

  • CLICK/SEQUENCER: – You can accomplish two things at once by using a click or a sequencer with headphones, improve your timing and protect your ears.
  • WARM UPS: – I find this is essential to help getting the body aligned correctly for maximum effectiveness.  Work slowly, there’s no need for speed at this point.  Work for speed by playing slowly and accurately.  Accuracy is the objective.
a) LISTEN: This is also a good time to listen to the way the drums sound.  Be aware of the sounds produced by stokes on different places on the drumhead.
b) EMPLOY DYNAMICS:  Is each hand producing the same volume with each attack?  The way a drummer produces a dynamic is by how far the stick is above the drumhead.  Then just drop the stick – if you pull back before the drop you have lost the height and are now in a different dynamic.  Lastly watch your hands. Check to see if your wrists are moving, they should be, not your forearms.
c) RUDIMENTS/APPLICATION OF: – Learn your rudiments.  They are the foundation of your vocabulary. Study snare drum solos, either rudimental, orchestral repertoire or a modern solo, by doing so you are applying the rudiments.  Then practice applying the rudiments to the drum set.  Tony Williams, Steve Gadd, and Steve Jordan are three greats that are known for their use of rudiments in their playing.  Paradiddles as fills, diddle grooves, flams in fills.

 

  • GROOVE AND FILLS: – This is the one section of my practice routine that I always find time for because this is what drummers do and we must have complete mastery of it!  As always, work with a metronome or a sequence.  Choose a groove: swing, funk, rock, etc. and play it.  I don’t mean for two minutes, play it for twenty minutes without stopping. Vary the bass drum pattern, employ ghost notes, accent some of the ghost notes, switch from hi hat to ride cymbal, use an open handed pattern, use different sound sources for the pattern, but most of all GROOVE. So, how do we know if we’re grooving if there isn’t a crowd dancing in front of us – LISTEN – we have to be able to judge that for ourselves. Even better is to record 48 bars and listen back.  Now it’s time to add a few fills to the groove. Use two groups of 16ths on beats 3 & 4.  Play the fill first on the snare and then orchestrate it.  You can orchestrate with right hand movement, left hand movement, right and left hand movement and bass drum substitutions.  When you hear one that you like, take the time to stop and write it down, then memorize it.  A good procedure for this is to count with a metronome, 1 + 2 + and then play the fill.  Do this as many times as it takes you to memorize it.  Then back to the groove and employ the fill.  I like to use play a-long tracks to accomplish this. It keeps your practice musical and challenging.
  • LEARN A SONG A DAY: – Sharpen your ability to think in song form. 4 or 8 bar phrases into a fill then into a bridge or chorus employing a different groove for 16 bars with another fill at the end of 16th bar then back into the original groove.  Use a sequence for this process.  Sing a song in your head while you play the groove.  Use play a-long tracks or play to a CD.  Once you have 8 or 10 songs put them into a play list and play straight through as if you’re performing a set.

 

  • CHALLENGE YOUR COORDINATION: – Do this everyday! 
a) Play a busy bass drum pattern.
b) Play one pattern w/feet and another w/hands
c) Work on grooves that you can’t play
d) Add hi hat patterns to grooves and rudiments
e) Pat your head and rub your belly… only kidding

 

  • USE TWO CLOCKS: – Your metronome is one and a clock with a second hand is the other.  As mentioned before – always use a metronome.  Use the clock to time how long you work on a section of your practice routine.  If you have only an hour to practice spend 5 min on warm ups, 15 min on rudiments, 20 min on Groove and Fills and 20 min learning a new song.  Save another 5 min to:

 

  • KEPP A RECORD OF YOUR PROGRESS: – Always keep a small notebook to write down what you did that day, date it, notate metronome markings, styles and fills you played, songs you learned and how you felt you did on each.  Then plan what you want to accomplish tomorrow.

Learning to discipline myself to stick to a practice schedule has helped keep my practicing fresh and exciting.  Consistently rating my practice and scheduling the next day’s work has kept my progress moving steadily forward.  If drumming is your job or your passion, you owe it to yourself to develop your own practice program.

Good luck and as always, enjoy the process.

COUNT OUT LOUD

 There has never been one student of mine that has accepted this concept without resistance. I have students that have been with me for years and still have a problem with it. They just don’t want to do it. What is the reason? After careful examination, I think I have found it. It is just easier not to count. I mean c’mon!!! You have to play with four way independence, establish a groove, play in time, with dynamics, and now count on top of it all?? It’s just too difficult to count. So the reason not to count becomes all the reason in the world why we should!! Let me explain. The reason counting out loud when we practice is so difficult is because it involves a great deal of focus and concentration. These are two key elements to develop if we want to master our instrument. It’s not easy mastering these two elements but lets be rational. I think it’s safe to say that any exercise or concept that has drastically improved your playing skills was probably not easy to do. However, after sticking with it and getting used to it, it has made you a much better player. So let’s count!

Our single most important role as drummers is to keep great time. Therefore, it is imperative that what we play as a groove or fill falls correctly against the time being stated. Counting out loud when we practice is one of the greatest tools we have to develop our abilities in this area. Before I explain why, I need to touch on my definition of “good time”. Having good time is the ability to play a groove feel or pulse (whichever you prefer to call it) that feels good to everyone involved with it while it remains consistent throughout the tune. I hate to view good time as playing perfectly to a metronome. Although I recommend playing to a metronome to my students to start their development of good time, musicality and feel becomes an afterthought if we never stray from this as we progress. I do think it is important to practice to a metronome as long as you realize that it’s not the only step involved with developing good time. It is a great tool for making us aware of how much space is involved between beats at various tempi and to reference your playing to but it does not lend itself to the creation of “life” within the time that is stated for any given piece of music. This is the main reason why the lifeless drum machine never took the place of the drummer like everyone predicted it would when it arrived on the music scene. It can’t breathe. There is a tool however that will help you accomplish both good time and great feel. Your voice!!! Let’s play a groove and count with 16th note subdivision. 1 e an du 2 e an du… etc. You can hear perfectly if your note placement for each instrument being played is off by where it falls against the syllables being counted. The best part is that the time being established is provided by you and only you. Not by a machine. So how do you know what tempo you’re playing at?? Who cares?? The more important issues are: Does it groove? Does it swing? How does it feel? Use your metronome as a reference for your desired tempo. Listen for a few measures then turn it off. Feel what you are playing. Don’t let the machine tell you how to feel the music. If you do, you will end up like the machine. With no life to your “pocket”! I have never listened to a drummer and made a remark like, “Wow!! That guy’s groove at 120 beats per minute is great”. Have you? I only ever talk about is pocket (where he feels and puts the groove against the time). How do you know if you’re speeding up or slowing down? The fact of the matter is, if you are playing without a click, your time could fluctuate. But again, who cares as long as it feels good!! Now I don’t mean to imply that if you are playing with a variance of 10 or more beats per minute within an exercise being practiced that this is ok!! It’s not!! But you would obviously recognize this if you were counting out loud by the mere sound of your voice speeding up and work to keep the speed more under control. Let’s put this into perspective. If you listen to a song that starts at 120 BPM and it fluctuates to 123 or 124 BPM, and you can tell the difference, don’t be a drummer!! Get a job with a circus freak show! You’ll make more money!!

Can you count to yourself? NO!! You need to have an audible reference for what you are playing so you can hear and notice obvious tempo change easier as well as if your notes are being placed on the right syllables or subdivisions of the beat. Your reference for time must be audible. If you were using a metronome as your reference source, would you set it on your desired tempo and then never turn it on?? No, you have to hear it to play to it!!

Counting out loud also improves your independence. Now, instead of concentrating on just 4 way independence, we need to concentrate on the voice as well. To get a full understanding of this concept, count quarter notes against a nice anticipated funk or Latin groove and you’ll see what I mean. To take full advantage of this concept, play all of your exercises count in with all the various subdivisions, quarters, 1,2,3,4… Eighths…1+2+3+4+ …and Sixteenths… 1 e an du 2 e an du …etc. Your awareness of the pulse that is the common thread that runs through any song which is usually the quarter note, will reach a new level!! You’ll now understand that it’s not the notes we can play that makes us great, but how these notes we are playing feel and fall against that pulse within the tune.

I can not stress enough how counting out loud will build you a solid internal time feel. You will establish your own personal consistent groove and feel that will become evident in everything you play. The sooner you utilize this concept, the sooner you’re “pocket” will arrive!! Just count out loud!!!