The question I ask to drummers is:
"What is, in your opinion, the single most important aspect of playing the drum set? The one thing that if removed from the equation, nothing will happen?"
Good time? Good Technique? Breath control while playing? Creating a beautiful sound? Correct Posture?
All these potential answers are correct, but are all part of a larger theme. I say this because if I sit at the drums, nothing will happen unless I move to make something happen.
Movement is the basis for all physical ability on the drum set. From great motion comes almost all positive attributes that we associate with playing the drum set: great time, great technique, great sound, musicality, etc. Yet, when we look at drum set pedagogy, standards for movement don't even make the list of agreed upon criteria for greatness. Incorrect motion while playing the drum set is so pervasive, that it goes unnoticed, even at the highest levels of performance. It is so common that we mistakenly believe that incorrect or unhealthy motion is how drummers are supposed to move! There are many complex causes for this breakdown of information, but perhaps more importantly, there are solutions.
Great movement comes from having the realtime physical awareness and knowledge of what muscles should be used to perform a specific musical task in a way that uses an evenly channeled distribution of energy to produce the most intentional and precise sound, while, at the same time, mitigating the risk of injury.
Injury from drum set playing is real, again, often going unnoticed. Nearly every drummer today is moving in ways that could lay the groundwork for injury and become become detrimental to playing ability as years go by.
Some examples while playing can include acute muscle or joint pain, compensatory discomfort, muscle tension or limited range of motion.
Bad movement compounds on itself, which results in the deterioration and regression of one’s ability on the drum set. Many people rationalize these injuries, because they are searching for the cause of their problems from the perspective of the lack of body awareness that got them into that state in the first place.
It’s very important to realize that if your movement is bad, or you are injured from years of bad movement on the instrument, it’s likely not entirely your fault. Playing the drums is not widely respected or regarded as an athletic endeavor. Drum set playing requires one to have the skill level of a high-performance athlete, without access to trainers, coaches, or medical professionals who understand the proper biomechanics of our sport. On top of that, most drum teachers are dealing with the same movement issues as their students, and don't know!
For now, it’s up to us to change our situation.
While reprogramming your movement patterns on the drum set can be an uncomfortable process, it is possible to permanently change how you move on the instrument for the better if you understand and apply the proper methods.
So how do we begin?
My concept as an educator centers movement. How to become aware of it, how to reprogram it and how to train for it. Essentially, how to become a better athlete of music!
I have developed proprietary methods for solving motion issues that thousands of drum set players deal with, since they used to be issues that I dealt with! I trained myself out of injury and years of unhealthy motion patterns that were limiting my ability on the instrument.
So what does studying with me look like?
We start by doing a full Movement Skill Assessment on the instrument to figure out what’s going on on a macro and micro level. Then I create a report of findings from the information gathered in the assessment, and from that, I create a custom tailored program for you that targets the specific issues you’re dealing with, as well as more general aspects of movement while playing, and some aspects you may have not considered before. All lessons are currently virtual (over zoom).
No matter your age, skill level, preferred style of music, or geographical location, I am here for you!
If you are ready to take your playing to the next level, please reach out for information on rates and scheduling.
Remember, how you move is how you play.