Are we Learning Drums The Wrong Way?



last week I released a lesson about the practice pad I knew it would be controversial close as possible what's the conclusion and it was clearly I touched a powder keg here are just some of the comments I got to be fair in that lesson I wasn't exactly saying let's just dispense with the practice pad entirely I try to practice pad challenge and been found wanting so I invented a way to improve and I did improve so I had a choice except the minor differences in opinion to move on in the interest of getting along or push back and make a better case for my arguments and what can I say maybe it's the weather this week I wasn't feeling very conciliatory so in this lesson I'm gonna outline exactly which arguments triggered me the most and what I disagree with but there's also the very real issue of my technique deficiency if I don't address that this whole thing will be easier to criticize so we're also going to talk about some alternatives let's start with the technical problem in fact here's some footage of my day one practice for the challenge and here's some footage of me playing singles on the snare of the kit no doubt about it my left hand is slicing not that beautiful up and down motion we like to see so what does the Orthodoxy say about it well according to the orthodoxy the way to work that out is by practicing on the pad here's Jerrod and this is why I love practicing stuff on a pad first because I get it down get to analyze my technique make sure everything's looking good then once I feel like it's ready to go I take it to the kit and give it a try and here's a commenter telling me to do stick control and to be fair I don't think they're wrong if we accept the assumption that your hand technique needs to be pad perfect in order to get a good sound on the kit there are a number of reasons for starting on the pad yes you can probably hear things more cleanly you get more information about the evenness of your strokes you can isolate even if you were just playing on the snare drum sitting at the kit you'd probably be tempted to noodle the sparseness of the pad forces you to focus these are in addition to all the other reasons I mentioned last week like you might not have access to a kit or you might be living in an apartment where you need to keep quiet so we accept that playing stick control or my personal favorite Charlie wilcoxon on the pad is one way to make your hand technique more textbook on the kit but now for the question that's gonna make some of you mad at me is it the best way okay time for a big right turn meet mr. Kenan Cornelius and mr. John Donner Kenan and John are two jiu jitsu coaches with a modernistic approach to coach Keene is still an active competitor while Danaher due to an injury just coaches BJJ instructions seems to be undergoing a little bit of a revolution here was my theory some jujitsu is taught as follows students come into class when it suits them they get the teacher who happens to be teaching the class at that time they learn a concept the teacher happens to be teaching that day then they do at least a half hour of live sparring during which they may or may not find themselves in situations directly relevant to the day's lesson they repeat this and it's hoped eventually connect the dots over the years but Keenan Danaher and some others are doing it differently starting with the real-world scenario so you're gonna do one one guard resistance mid turn away another drill page all right letting it play out you're gonna work the passive guard who's gonna resist one time when you have to transition into a set of half later pull seatbelt get the chair sit position take the back good then pausing making corrections and restarting same thing but as you're going to take it back you can try maybe to do a movement to defend the back back to the drums before I lose you if we take the analogy there's a real-world discipline that you're practicing every day in BJJ it's live sparring and in drums it's improvising on the drums and there's an Orthodox approach which involves taking an isolated concept drilling it and hoping it pops up in a real-world situation for drums this is practicing written exercises out of a book whether it's stick control or Ted Reed syncopation or what happened then there's another approach when in which you simulate real world combat in a controlled environment and derive what exercises to work on from what actually happens in those live situations for instance if we do a live drill and I get my back taken in the first 30 seconds of that drill then the teacher resets us and tells me how to avoid getting my back taken then restarts the clock and I make another attempt but what would this look like on the drums Here I am improvising if you watch my left hand I'm clearly slicing a bit what if instead of taking the Orthodox approach like starting my next session with twenty five minutes of stick control and hoping it renounce to my kit plane I just stopped the clock isolated the exact thing I was working on on the kit and was mindful about not slicing I could break the lick down to as essential an element as I need it to and drilled that for a few minutes then gradually add speed and other stuff back in when that was done I could move on and improvise more until I got to the next bit then repeat the process I could check for slicing by comparing a snare cam video from before to one from after as I did for the practice pad challenge last week here's the thing about martial arts many of the teaching methods old and new do work but many of the folks I speak to agree there's kind of a fast lane and a slow lane one way to get better quickly is to be super athletic and just train three times a day but another is to use a superior method gordon ryan arguably the world's best grappler had both advantages sure he's a human specimen but he also learned a specific system from John Donne ihara that allowed him and his teammates to defeat much more experienced opponents what if relying solely on the practice pad isn't a bad way to improve one's hands but it's just not the fastest way here's the other thing about martial arts for better or worse they're a good laboratory to test what's working because you're facing resisting opponents either the instruction works and you prevail or it doesn't and your opponent does in drums by contrast there isn't really a lot of data on what causes quick success nobody's saying Eric Harlan got his black belt in four years whereas most people take 10 you don't have those measurements which might be good after all art isn't zero-sum the way competition is and that's good but if we're being Frank it can also slow innovation but there's another problem with the whole premise of this last summer why do we care so much of hand technique is pretty if it doesn't contribute to the final result for years martial arts had this problem which is better aikido Shotokan maybe muay thai nobody knew because nobody put the forms against one another in the modern era then came UFC one all of a sudden we could see what worked in real combat at least in the ring against a single opponent with no weapons permitted more importantly technics can now be measured along some objective standard whether they worked in the ring against a resisting upon the upshot there were a lot of techniques that looked pretty many of which simply didn't work in the ring if an opponent knew what he was doing in drums it doesn't seem like anybody's really run that experiment but what if we took the same standard and applied it to Jones what if we threw out any orthodoxies that weren't the best method for helping real kid playing seem radical well there are 80 techniques which we've gotten rid of over the years which looks showy and cool but don't improve the overall sound very much watch Sonny Payne one of my favorite big band drummers and a master showman you'll see some of his tricks and drum lines but you won't see them very much in kit playing anymore probably because they weren't make-or-break for sounding great on the kid and I'll throw in another conjecture as the venue in which we listen to music moved from primarily live to primarily through our headphones the showy stuff to translate it to a live crowd probably fell by the wayside too like Here I am improvising is my left hand slicing a bit but does it affect the sound on the drums and my ability to improvise here's the plot twist it does a little a few years back when I switched back from trad grip to matched on the kid I noticed my left hand was starting to get tired a little faster than my right now that I know I'm over controlling the stick it makes sense so even by our martial arts standards a clean hand technique that allows unfettered vertical travel of the sticks does seem important to real kit playing insofar as if you don't have it you'll eventually hit roadblocks but that doesn't change the fact that I'm trying to convey in this lesson maybe the answer was yes we need it but no one was asking the question and very few voices are asking is the conventional way of doing this the fastest way Oh small sales pitch well it's clear I need back to the drawing board time with all of this I've got an entire course of helpful real-life derived handed coordination exercises on the kit that course is called the coaching course and I only open it up a few times a year but if you'd like to be notified or when I open it next and if you'd like a completely free gateway drug to the type of stuff I teach in the course go ahead and click the link below this player enter your email on the next page and I'll send you three free videos in three weeks which I assert will make you better in the next three weeks then you've gotten in the last six months dudes always have fun breaking this stuff down we'll see you very soon in another lesson of the week you

24 thoughts on “Are we Learning Drums The Wrong Way?

  1. i am not a fan of intense practicing on a pad because when you switch to a snare the feel, bounce,tension are so different than a pad ,i feel like i
    wasted so much time because the transition to the snare so different that i felt like it was of very little help, now i only practice on my snare, why should i practice on a surface that does not represent my true playing surface

  2. I’m a beginner drummer and the moment I sit behind my gorgeous sprawling kit, I immediately go into my “Lars Ulrich” mode smashing every drum, cymbal, tambourine, zil bel, cowbell, pedal, etc imaginable.

    The pad, although painfully boring, forces me to isolate one technique without going into Lars mode.

    I hate to admit it but the practice pad helps me improve technically; the drums allow me to have fun and imagine myself in a sold out Wembley Stadium rocking the world.

    Keep Rocking folks! 🤘😝🤘

  3. I always said the same thing about drumming. Hands on it will make me better at it every day! I’m a hand percussionist play bongos congas and cajon practice is the key of success doesn’t matter what way you do it. Concentrate on what you think need help the most. Thank you for this video open up my way of approaching my kit thanks

  4. Interesting that you use a high rebound surface. My technique got so much better when my teacher had me playing heavy sticks on a loose head-like Remo pad. It's like increasing resistance so that when you go back to the kit everything flies. But I also understand your point of younger players needing to feel that rebound come back to them and not get in the way of that. Have you ever checked out the Full Down tap up method? It's an amazing revamp for your muscle memory. It's about "loading the gun" on your strokes long before you have to hit an accent. (Most of us kinda jerk the stick up last minute to gain the distance necessary for accents).

  5. There's a Danish percussionist called Henrik Knarborg Larsen, who gave a class at my undergrad talking about his 2-year study of ki-aikido into percussion playing/technique. While I didn't "believe" some of it, I found it fascinating, and there are some videos of his explanations.

  6. So, guitar player here. I think that the perspective you’re offering is unbelievably valuable–not just for drummers of course. I’ve developed many of the same views that you have, and share the perspective you so clearly highlight by the BJJ analogy. So much to say… I’ll just leave it at this: those who succeed in developing a refined set of skills by means of a method, often have an extraordinarily difficult time understanding why anyone else might want to— or have to— acquire new skills in a different way. Look: if you’re building a car methodically from scratch, it’s fairly easy to swap parts—especially in the early stages of the build; but, once the car’s rolling down the highway, it’s a lot harder to change the carburetor from the driver’s seat.

  7. Very good point! The pad can be useful as pointed out in this video. However, 1) a drum kit is a multiple-percussion instrument (idiophones and mambranphones), each one being a different surface with a different response or rebound; 2) on the pad our body movement is limited and quite different from playing on the kit; most people are not aware of their balance – a fundamental principle – while playing on the pad. Thanks for this video!

  8. Continue to love your mono/diaLogue 🙂 Couple things that poke out: please define "good sound on a kit" | You have airpods when you're improvising. are you improvising to a click? If so, we need to redefine improvisation. | "Either the instruction works and you prevail; or it doesn't, and your opponent does." : false dilemma |

  9. What about Feet ( LF & RF ) and Hands ( LH & RH ) coordination cells and combos?
    LF – LH
    LF – RH
    RF – LH
    RF – RH

    etc, etc

  10. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is the best drumming YouTube channel bar none. Much love bubba. Keep pumping out this great content!

  11. Why do people insist on making videos on nothingness …just cause you have had a light bulb moment ..every one needs to find their own method of practice ..everyone is different just like every player is different and need to isolate what makes their style and focus practice on that…most people waste years practicing the wrong shit ..

  12. Who cares about how you come up with your chop strength…
    Stop talking text book theory ..crap and learn to play with feel and a musical head …

  13. Very clever direction thinking!
    I'd like to ask drummers several questions:

    1. Why do you make your strongest upper limb to perform the dullest function – time on a hat?
    2. Why do you make your strongest lower limb to perform the least important rhythmic function – to play "one" on a kick?
    3. Why do you neglect at least a century of tap dance experience trying to squeeze all your groove into your upper limbs area?

  14. Sonny Payne. Sonny Payne playing Old Man River was so good, that even Sonny was standing by the ending: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJg4bHKICa0

  15. This approach sounds rather exactly what Morgan Ågren (www.morganagren.com) described to me having done more than anything. I don't think he's ever opened a copy of Stick Control – which isn't to say he despises it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *