water falls and paradiddles flow
So, what makes my paradiddle different from anyone else's paradiddle? First off that's a funny word, but if you say it you can play it. You understand? Then it's a feeling, and really, when you take the time to break it down, it's a motion. The genius of the way that this was taught to me by my teacher Freddie Gruber, is in the hand motion. Then the trick is to get that motion to flow. In the left hand, you are playing from the grip or the crotch of the hand. You can play it match it doesn't really matter. In the right hand you are palm down and the weight of the stick is over the middle finger. You can play this thumb up too doesn't matter. But, what's important is that you release the stick in the hand when you come up! When you come up, the weight is in the front of the stick and when you strike there is a whip like motion shifting the weight of the stick to the back or the butt end before you follow through with the strike. Upon the strike you are going to squeeze the index finger and the thumb. This will focus the strike and give you tone! The bead of the stick will want to rebound up but you are going to control it with that, "squeeze" between the thumb and forefinger. Which, will put the brakes on for a split second stopping the stick, leaving it in the perfect position to start your next sequence. It's exactly like playing a note on the guitar with a pick, you squeeze the pick between your thumb and forefinger upon picking the note. And, then you relax the fingers immediately after. Same thing with a punch. You are loose, then you strike and clench your fist, then relax the hand again. This way all the energy is going right to the bead of that stick which sends a wave at the point of impact to the head spreading the sound out. If you are stiff and gripping the stick the energy will go back up into your fingers, hand, then arm causing damage. If you are loose the whole time the energy will not be focused and you will get no tone. The drum set is a live sparring partner. It is not an in adamant object that you just beat on. When done correctly the drums will hit back!
I don't know if it's kinetic energy have to ask my friend and fellow Gruberian, Neal Sausen. We have discussed this at length, I forgot what he called it? Anyways, Back to the paradiddles, this exercise is designed to create flow from 6/8 to 4/4 to 6/8 and back to 4/4 into cut time and then back to 6/8. You start with the hands down always returning to the down position about an inch or two off the center of the head. Your hands are in a release and then you, Go! Of course you have to feel this in order to understand the flow.
"The flow is the most important thing."
-- Martial Arts Legend Guro Dan Inosanto
Ruffs to Rolls
What you are seeing here is Freddie Gruber's, Ruff to Roll chart. This is an flow drill that Freddie organized using the Buddy Rich Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiment's Book. Each individual component was worked on at length and only then did he start to organize the Ruffs to Rolls. The whole chart took many months to complete to satisfy Freddie. It must also be noted that you can play this exercise using any grip you like as long as you understand the hand motion of that particular grip and where the balance point are in relationship to the stick in the hand. I am starting with a 13 stroke roll as a reference point because I have to start slow enough to build up to the 13 stroke roll. See? Too fast you won't be able to play the entire exercise. Although the 13 stroke roll was the last piece of the puzzle in completing this chart. What makes this chart unique is the hand motion. The hand motion if you notice stays the same for the Ruffs and the Rolls. The basic stroke here is (down-up-tap) this was intrinsic to understanding Freddie Gruber's approach to hand motion. You may notice here there is a modified Moeller stroke with some sleight of hand stuff happening in-between the up and the down motion, that being the "Tap". This chart took many hours to put together and what you are seeing here is the end result. The student must understand the grips, the releases, and the balance points or fulcrums as well to play this sequence with the proper sensitivity. You could practice with or without a metronome here. I prefer without because there is a built in natural feel and sense of "real time" based on the hand motion when done correctly.
"A man with no form, no shadow, turns into a rice pounder when he pounds rice."
-- Bruce Lee
Staying in the flow is the way to go. Learn about movement and motion.
© 2015 Michael Dubin, All Rights Reserved