As a follow up to “Be water, My Friends”, I’d like to try and provide insight by actually going back to the beginning and the first exposure to drum technique or simply put, my foundation.
Sometimes when working with private students, I’ll refer to drum technique as the foundation of a house. Hopefully that foundation will provide solid footing in which to build upon. I think of the different styles of drumming as the rooms in your house, (rock, rudimental, jazz, funk, concert, etc.). And if you’re like me, you hope to enjoy as many rooms as possible! It just so happened my foundation began with rudimental drumming. More specifically, rudimental drumming in drum and bugle corps from the mid to late sixties and early seventies. If someone was to check out recordings from say 1966 to 1976, this would definitely serve as styles and sounds that were my formative years. There was a transformation that took place during this (and probably all) periods of time that helped me become the player I am today. I also feel whatever technique or drumming of this period of time helped me adapt and incorporate elements of playing then as well as what’s going on now.
So, here I am this 3 year old kid with 3S sticks in his hand learning paradiddles, flams, and various single stroke roll patterns (I think single stroke rolls are GREAT for developing chops), and learning solo’s from Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights 1969 and 1970 years, 1972 Bleu Raeders (still one of the coolest solos ever written) 1975 Muchachos and Santa Clara Vanguard (ok, I might be able to play “The Clock” but still can’t get through all of “Birds Of Fire”!). I encourage my drum friends, especially those into the marching activity, to just check these out. Definitely water err, I mean variety () there and some really quality playing I enjoy and, were an obvious influence. These are examples or reference points in my drumming I’d like to share however, it was definitely the approach my dad took with me that allowed me to add the number of rooms or addition onto my house of drumming. He showed me what the wrist or arm movement could do. Now, my dad was a lefty. I’m sure there were challenges for him when learning things mainly off the right hand. However, back in the day, it was not uncommon that rudiments and/or phrases started with the left hand and that my friends is something he taught which was huge! For me AND whoever he taugh!. Learn rudiments and patterns starting with both the right AND left hand! If anyone wants to know more about this, feel free to get in touch and I’ll be happy to share the benefits with you. Another thing I’m grateful for is, he was encouraging and supportive of me, my brother and sister in our drumming/percussion journey even if it was different than the drum corps activity he devoted his music career to.
Some may find success starting with rudiments. Some may find it on a set listening to and applying the characteristics of that drummer or style. Maybe concert percussion led your way… doesn’t matter to me. As long as you learned what you could that allows you to express yourself then great! It just so happened my journey began with a pair of marching sticks and many a destroyed car arm rest!