Hot Topics - Excerpts from "Drumming for Life"™

These are small, separate PDF documents you can view or download quickly. All appear in my book too.

Musical Clarity

(60k PDF)

Two simple principles that can guarantee good-sounding, clear, fun, musical grooves from your band. Non-drummers are encouraged to read this one, since it's largely about you. (!)

Click here to read this one online. (HTML) This page now includes new material, including some items on "Groove Construction", and some audio examples of the "on the beat", "behind the beat", and "ahead of the beat" discussion.


(48k PDF)

How good is good enough? It's about commitment.

Click here to read this one online. (HTML)

Interacting with a band

(52k PDF)

We all spend time thinking about ways to sound better, and hopefully that also means adding something positive to the bands we play with. No single approach will work in all situations. Here are some tips to more flexible, musical thinking.


(36k PDF)

As we mature, we realize that "improvising" doesn't just mean "displaying the techniques we've learned". This one-page article gives you my opinion on how to achieve the "magic" with your own band.

Evaluating Yourself

(44k PDF)

We all have goals, and yet we all have differing capabilities. This one-page article describes what I think is a sensible plan to make progress without beating yourself up all the time for your failures.

How Hardware Affects Your Sound

(8k PDF)

If you're having trouble getting the sound you want, maybe it's not your fault!

Maintaining your drum sound

(40k PDF)

This isn't an article on how to use a drum key, but is instead a brief discussion about how pop culture, fads, and engineers can affect your sound.

Take Care of Yourself

(8k PDF)

If you want to be your best, you've got to be in reasonable shape. This brief article points out some things that all drummers should do, as a minimum.

Why It's Good To Read Music

(8k PDF)

Some of the greatest musicians who ever lived did not, or could not read music. So why should you?  If you are a natural "genius", maybe it's not important, but for most of us, there are good reasons.  This short article tells a few of the advantages.

Getting A Good Drum Sound

(20k PDF)

Here's some information related to drum heads, drum sticks, your hands, acoustics, and how to get a good drum sound by using them all correctly. Included is a specific example, using pitch as a reference, on how to tension or "tune" some standard size drums. There are many more approaches in the complete text of "Drumming For Life™" and these will be posted in the main page's PDF file soon. This one works, and will get you started

The One-Hand Roll

(52k PDF)

Every year there are countless discussions about the "one-hand roll". This is my explanation of one several ways to do it, based on my observations of people who can do it really well, and my own experience.  I hope this little article helps take some of the mystery out of it for you

Derrick Pope has some (free to download) videos discussing a Moeller-ish method of doing it, in the video section at Drummerworld. Derrick has produced several different videos, which I think would be great for any drummer interested in these techniques, including foot technique. Check 'em out at Drummerworld's Video Collection

Always something we can improve on...

What's In A Grip?

(12k PDF)

h5>Visit Drummerworld and look at Bernhard's huge video collection of great drummers. Buddy Rich is the textbook example of great technique, so observe what he does when playing the single-stroke roll, and you'll understand how it's done.

We're talking about wrist techniques here. There are many approaches to simply playing "fast notes", including the Moeller method, various finger techniques, and various "rebound tricks", using the rim of the drum, etc.. The way Buddy Rich and a few others played this is completely different, and is worth studying. When Buddy played his trademark slow-to-fast single-stroke roll, it wasn't just one technique, but the seamless combination of at least three different techniques, played perfectly by a master.

You'll notice that the technique is, for each hand, one stroke with the wrist rising, followed by one stroke with the wrist descending. That is the "trick", if you will. Actually it's a basic element of rudimental training, and points to another reason to study what you may think of as "silly" basics... They pay off! Playing it cleanly is more important than playing it fast.

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