Drum & Percussion Lessons
Drummer Cafe

Over 25 Years of Drummer Cafe


Serving drummers and percussionists since 1996.

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, some say 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 with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of DrummerCafe.com, which he founded in December of 1996.

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