Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It Works for Me

A trap many of us fall into is the assumption that what's true in one instance or situation will be true everywhere else as well. A large part of our existence is spent simply trying to sort out life’s stuff -- separating the good from the useless -- and in a field as complicated and subjective as drumming, sorting things out can be a full time job.

There are more superb drummers in the world today than I would have ever thought possible. And it's so easy to watch these people in action via the internet. At one time you had to go to a club or concert to see how they did it. Now you just have to 'google' it. And that makes it easy to compare ‘the way it is’ with how it really is. I especially love watching ‘educational’ drum videos on YouTube and the like, and I get a big kick out of drummers who flatly declare, "This is how it's done; this is the way." Oh, really?

Take the right hand grip -- the hand that the majority of drummers use for the cymbal. I don't think I've ever seen such a wide variety of approaches to the grip and to striking a cymbal as there are today. Traditionalist drum teachers must be horrified to see the way some people approach the ride cymbal.

What I glean from all of this is that there is no single right way. There are many, many ways. Some work well and some don't work very well at all (your teacher can help you avoid the poor choices). There is also a lot of latitude for how you adopt and adapt the best practices.

So when someone says, “This is how it's done", take the information as a suggestion. Try it on for size, if it makes sense. It may be what you were looking for. I think a better approach would be, “This is how I do it, and it works for me.” Perhaps it will work for you too. If not, don't sweat it; there are lots more opinions and options available.

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