From the May issue of Drum | BY JARED FALK | DAY 9 of 10
Today’s Focus: Hands & Feet
Duration: 40 Minutes Practice each exercise individually for ten minutes, and then play them in sequence for ten minutes.
Yes, I stole the title. It’s actually a line from the Tegan And Sara song “Everything Is Awesome,” which is part of the soundtrack to The LEGO Movie. It’s burned into my memory from hearing my kids running around the house screaming it.
Anyway, these next two exercises are fun ones. After studying lots of technique over the years (thanks Dom Famularo, Claus Hessler, Mike Michalkow, Lionel Duperron, and my many other great teachers), I’ve always wondered how drummers can go from 0–100 mph with their sticks using hardly any effort. As I studied more, I found that this is simply a matter of technique.
In order to practice this myself, I’ve played my hands in unison. This helped me determine if there are any weak points with my hands. Most of you will find that your weak hand is much slower and less controlled than your dominant hand. Since you’re only as fast as your weakest limb, you need to make sure to start at a tempo slow enough to allow your weak hand to properly perform the exercises.
Ex. 1 has two beats in which the hands play in unison, with the kick drum stroke on the “let” of the triplet.
Ex. 2 is similar, only this time we play longer groups of unison strokes. You can continue to expand upon this if you like, playing groups of eight, ten, or even twelve notes. I’d recommend starting very slowly at around 60 bpm and then speeding it up from there.
Then, in Ex. 3, we split the hands up and play sixteenth-note triplets. Technically, the hands aren’t actually playing any faster in the third part, but when they’re offset instead of playing in unison, it sounds quite fast! To practice this, I simply throw my sticks down at slightly different times, using the rebound of the stick, which is controlled by the fingers, to keep the note spacing even. This can take time to learn but is so worth it!
Take time to study the Moeller Method and familiarize yourself with the technique’s grip and stick motions.
Enjoy The Process
Remember, you will be drumming for your entire life. Take your time and enjoy the process.