Drum & Percussion Lessons
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Developing and mastering The Four Basic Strokes, that is Full, Down, Tap and Up, is an essential ingredient to playing relaxed, developing speed, and playing hand-to-hand accent patterns. The reason I reference these strokes with the Moeller Method is because they are the cornerstones to Moeller technique. The Four Basic Strokes can be used with numerous other techniques, such as the Gladstone/Free-Stroke, simply because the concept behind these strokes is to work with the natural rebound and pre-stroke placement of the drumstick.

There are other stroke types and names out there. For example, Dom Famularo says that the Full Stroke is only played using the highest position; half that height is called a Half Stroke, and lower to the drum is a Low Stroke. While I agree with the terms, I consider all three of these strokes (Full/Half/Low) to be types of Full Strokes; the Half and Low strokes are just subcategories of the Full Stroke. Why? Because the motion of the Full, Half, Low Strokes are essentially the same, but at different stick heights. It is for this reason that I say you can play a Full Stroke at different heights. Stick height, along with velocity, is what controls a stroke's volume and intensity; sounding louder or softer. So if you are going to study the Moeller Method or Gladstone/Free-Stroke, yes, you'll need to learn and use these other strokes/terms. This lesson, however, is on the Four Basic Strokes, the essential building blocks to all drumming, which I believe every drummer and percussionist should learn and master. These same four strokes happen to be foundational strokes for the Moeller and Gladstone techniques.

Please note, I am only demonstrating these strokes slowly. I am controlling the stick and each rebound; actually pulling the stick up so you can see what is going on with the drumstick in each of the four strokes. Once these elementary strokes are understood you should begin to work with the rebound, allowing the stick to rise on its own. You can liken this to dribbling a ball; throw the stick down and allow it to rebound naturally as your hand follows.

Subscribers can view/download/print a collection of worksheets written by Jim Chapin which covers more of the Moeller method and technique.

Bart Elliott Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician and founder of the Drummer Cafe. His 35+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA.

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