Leading with your left and open handed playing...

polycrescendo

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From day one we are taught to practice our rudiments righty and lefty. This means that our hands already have the training to execute the same patterns. This also means that it shouldn't take years to learn parts of a song where the left hand may intermittently lead.
I think it's more of a mental challenge than a physical one but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't try. I also think it's a shame to assume that a beginner couldn't pick up an ambidextrous way of playing if they were given the right instruction and practice routine.
 

dcrigger

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Why do you shout so much? Shouting doesn't make you right. If you find it difficult to get your point across without shouting maybe you should take a step back and look in the mirror.
Shout so much?

I made two posts in this thread totaling over 600 words - and I all-capped a total of eight words for emphasis.

Which is honestly something I thought was OK to do. But after your post, I did some research and found out that all caps even in small doses is considered shouting and rude. So I will do my best to reel in that habit.

But if shouting is rude... how would you characterize your post? You jump in with both feet making this about a character flaw... my character flaw. Why?

I mean, you could've simply pointed it out to me - instead you start with an accusatory question, followed by an admonishment, and concluded that my behavior was so egregious as to require self-reflection. Granted if you had pointed it out politely and I reacted poorly, then that would absolutely be on me. But you didn't, I don't know why you didn't. But you didn't.

Anyway, it's just not necessary to attack people in this way. Attack their ideas. Attack their methods. That's what this place is for IMO - to hammer out ideas between a wide range of folks. For instance, did I make any presumption of ill intent towards the teacher discussed here, whose policy I totally disagree with? Of course not. I think his policy is wrong-headed.... not his intent or his motivations. Yes I think his approach could harm students - but why would I assume that was his goal? Why would his personality even enter the discussion??.
 
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dcrigger

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From day one we are taught to practice our rudiments righty and lefty. This means that our hands already have the training to execute the same patterns. This also means that it shouldn't take years to learn parts of a song where the left hand may intermittently lead.
I think it's more of a mental challenge than a physical one but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't try. I also think it's a shame to assume that a beginner couldn't pick up an ambidextrous way of playing if they were given the right instruction and practice routine.
It might seem that way... but you're making assumptions that a beginners short history with rudiments is going level the playing field between the hands. For example, i've been playing for 50 years - and my training and playing experience has still not leveled the playing field between my hands. My best grade A ride pattern (HH or ride cym) comes from my right hand.... for much the same reason as I still throw a ball, use a fork, write my name and wield a hammer better with my right hand.

It's not that I can't do some of those things with my left - but my right handiness has always given my right hand the advantage. I work on both over time and they both get better - leaving the right hand better than the left.

And along the way - even for beginners - learning to play is always about using one's best skills along the way. Have you ever noticed how many professional orchestral players - when playing a string of repeating 1/8th notes with one hand - their dominate hand? Why don't they alternate? Can't they?

Of course they can. But no matter how well they can alternate - playing a phrase like that with one hand will always sound more even... it will always sound better.

So with beginners - my goal is get them to usable results as quickly as possible - without skipping over anything essential.

As the current state of drumming shows - learning to play open-handed for a right handed student or any over emphasis on ambidexterity for it's own sake - is putting the cart before the horse. These are things that the student can explore down the road - and passing them over in the beginning has zero proven downside.

Last example - can you imagine a pee-wee league coach announcing that every one of his players are going to hit both ways. Because once they get good enough, having an entire team of switch-hitters will be a huge advantage. Imagine the outrage that would come with the realization that up until the time they accomplish this - they will be a consistent disadvantage - likely losing consistently against their more congenitally coached competitors.

That IMO is what we are discussing here.

Within the first year of a beginners study, they likely will already be facing playing opportunities. A beginning teacher's job is get them ready for those - along with preparing for the future.

The suggestions on this topic throughout this thread are contrary to those goals. IMO
 

BennyK

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I'm a right handed person who plays completely left cross handed - Hats on my right, left foot on the bass pedal . When I do things open handed it puts a different inflection and movement on the groove , a crisper more vertically orientated Mel Bay-ish execution . Correct, but very un hip .
 

Hop

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My reasoning is based not on positioning - which while not ideal - has little importance as to a players sound and feel. Or more importantly for a student to develop a good sound and feel.

As some one quoted Kenny Aronoff saying (in another thread) "It is ALL about the HH" - which to paraphrase from a more fundamental perspective - "It is all about the ride cymbal - HH pattern". How a player plays the ride or the hi hat part - the "glue" part - literally defines the feel of their playing.

It takes hours upon hours - stretching into years - to develop the ability to play a great feeling HH/ride feel. It demands tons of control and variation over dynamics (accents) and entails playing two to four times as many notes as any other limb is required to play on average.

This is simply the most physically demanding undertaking that lays firmly between a young player sounding decent and well... like a beginner.

So logically speaking - if our choice of which hand should be tasked with job initially is between one hand that can throw a baseball, write cursive, throw darts, hammer a nail, sink a three pointer and feed our student with a fork... a one that... can't. Doesn't it only make sense to use the hand absolutely most suited to the task???

Of course it does. The only reasoning that would lead one not to would come under-appreciating just how important and critical the ride/hh hand's job is. And how critically important it is sounding and feeling good.

Positioning IMO should be the least of our concerns regarding this.

Again "It's all about the High Hat!"

Or maybe better - "It's all about The Hand that plays the hi hat".

And the best hand for that job is... the student's dominant hand.
Just out of curiosity... why do violinists and guitarist do the important fingering with the non-dominant hand?

One hand may be dominant, but it doesn't mean it's any more "musical" than the other... especially if one hand/limb is continually favored with double the amount of play/development. However, what were talking about here is "adaptation." I believe the neophyte can readily adapt to open-handed playing, especially in the early stages when the movement is pretty coarse and not yet refined. I would be extremely interested to see how somebody with zero exposure to the instrument - I'm talking no prior visuals at all / never-ever - would approach the HH when first placed behind the kit.

As you state in your rebuttal that it "entails playing two to four times as many notes as any other limb is required to play on average." That fact is what motivates me to learn the OH style and develop the neglected left, and helps to manage frustration when I first started the OH process and continue to develop the skills. After a few months I have a pretty good "rocking" motion (to produce those Garibaldi accented 1/8's, and steady 16th's) which took me far, far longer with the right hand. I can concede that this isn't the best comparison as I already put a ton of work in on the dominant side and I could quickly synthesize/apply the prior knowledge and skill to the non-dominant.
 

MBB

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Ha, been playing that way for 50 years. I am left handed, but I never saw a lefty kit when I stared playing so I simply used a "normal" setup. Worked out ok for me so far.
 

dcrigger

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Just out of curiosity... why do violinists and guitarist do the important fingering with the non-dominant hand?

One hand may be dominant, but it doesn't mean it's any more "musical" than the other... especially if one hand/limb is continually favored with double the amount of play/development. However, what were talking about here is "adaptation." I believe the neophyte can readily adapt to open-handed playing, especially in the early stages when the movement is pretty coarse and not yet refined. I would be extremely interested to see how somebody with zero exposure to the instrument - I'm talking no prior visuals at all / never-ever - would approach the HH when first placed behind the kit.

As you state in your rebuttal that it "entails playing two to four times as many notes as any other limb is required to play on average." That fact is what motivates me to learn the OH style and develop the neglected left, and helps to manage frustration when I first started the OH process and continue to develop the skills. After a few months I have a pretty good "rocking" motion (to produce those Garibaldi accented 1/8's, and steady 16th's) which took me far, far longer with the right hand. I can concede that this isn't the best comparison as I already put a ton of work in on the dominant side and I could quickly synthesize/apply the prior knowledge and skill to the non-dominant.
This is the thing... and it's a not uncommon trap and failing of too many teachers...

"I believe the neophyte can readily adapt to open-handed playing,... "

So you have a hypothesis... "You believe"... You don't know... you simply believe. And you might be right. But then again, you might might not.

So as a teacher of beginning students, do you set out to prove your theory using your students as test subjects - test subjects who are assuming they are "signing up" for the established course of study - "you're a good drummer, could you please teach me to be a good drummer similar to the way you were taught to be a good drummer". That is the implied contest here.

So IMO - if a teacher would be honest in front about their "theory", giving students a real, informed choice about whether to become guinea pigs or not... great.

In other words, simply state "The method I will be teaching will in part, not be the way I was taught, nor the most commonly recognized successful way of teaching, but rather a method based on a theory that I believe will be better. Please study with me so we can find out if I'm right".

Huge number of teachers end up thinking - they can do it better. Look at the number of new drum books that are published year after year after year after year. Then look at the number that stick - the scarce number that are actually adopted by the drumming community at large. What has there been? Maybe a half dozen in my lifetime???

Anyway the answer to your violin question will come in the form of some, hopefully, leading questions...

Did you forget about the bow?

With it's weight and the weight of the arm extension required to use it, plus all the motion required in it's use, doesn't it really speak to using the dominant hand for it?

Like this drumming, this is a great example of there being plenty for both hands to do - so why not cast each hand to the role most naturally suited to it?

Another example, would be baseball... not hitting, but in fielding... Why do wear our gloves on our sub-dominant hand? Couldn't we catch better with our dominant hand?

This is an exact parallel to your violin question. Yes, we would be able to catch better with our dominant hand - but then we wouldn't be able to throw worth a crap, would we?

Again everyone, I'm not saying crossing over to play the hi hat isn't an irritant - a problem that would be great to solve. But we can't solve it by "throwing the baby out with the bath water" - by raising it's importance to being paramount above all other considerations. And certainly not by cherry-picking our considerations to create seemingly logical arguments - that aren't, when the whole picture is considered. Like the base ball mitt, or the violinist's fingering.
 

jansara

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But if shouting is rude... how would you characterize your post? You jump in with both feet making this about a character flaw... my character flaw. Why?

I mean, you could've simply pointed it out to me - instead you start with an accusatory question, followed by an admonishment, and concluded that my behavior was so egregious as to require self-reflection.
I mean, you could've simply pointed it out to me - instead you start with an accusatory question, followed by an admonishment, and concluded that my behavior was so egregious as to require self-reflection. Granted if you had pointed it out politely and I reacted poorly, then that would absolutely be on me. But you didn't, I don't know why you didn't. But you didn't.
You're a big boy now. You can handle being told - it's what you do best. Have a great day. Be cool.
 

gwbasley

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I didn't learn open handed playing until I was almost 40 and ,to this day, I only actually use my left lead for certain songs. The best thing that stayed with me is that I became open handed with my fills , crashes, and sticking in general.

With my beginner students, I let them start with their dominant hand (generally right) and after they have learned basic playing on the kit I will throw in some left hand lead...and they soak it up like a sponge! Down the road I bring them into the "New Breed" book with some of the systems revised so they can be played on a standard set up.

I don't think this is anything new because we have all been taught from the beginning in parade drumming to play the rudiments "hand to hand".
 

dcrigger

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You're a big boy now. You can handle being told - it's what you do best. Have a great day. Be cool.
So again - more personal attacks - rather than just discussing the topic like adults.

At this point, you've contributed two posts to this threads.... both to personally attack me... I don't know what your problem is and honestly don't care... I'll leave to the mods to sort out...

I'll skip the facetious "Have a great day" because again, that would be rude. And "Be cool" doesn't apply because you certainly haven't been.
 

dcrigger

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I didn't learn open handed playing until I was almost 40 and ,to this day, I only actually use my left lead for certain songs. The best thing that stayed with me is that I became open handed with my fills , crashes, and sticking in general.

With my beginner students, I let them start with their dominant hand (generally right) and after they have learned basic playing on the kit I will throw in some left hand lead...and they soak it up like a sponge! Down the road I bring them into the "New Breed" book with some of the systems revised so they can be played on a standard set up.

I don't think this is anything new because we have all been taught from the beginning in parade drumming to play the rudiments "hand to hand".
Exactly how it's done IMO Kudos.

There is no reason to fix something that isn't broken... and the time-proven tradition of drum set pedagogy is in no ways broken.

IMO - but also, by my observation...
 

cribbon

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Sorry but IMO that's about the stupidest, most irresponsible thing one could do to a young student.

Yes there are a few - and I mean literally ONLY a few - that play this way like Simon, etc. But most like Billy and Lenny came to this BECAUSE THEY ARE LEFT HANDED!!!!! And did it to adapt to a world of sitting in and subbing on right handed drum sets.

So this teacher - ON PURPOSE - sets these students up for having a harder time qualifying for a high school marching snare drum line.... sets them up to have to deal with the same workarounds that Lenny and Billy had to deal with - and all for what???? To not have to crossover when playing the hi hat??!?!?!?!???? Because that's it. That's the single only advantage to playing open handed.

And don't get me wrong - players as they progress should absolutely work on their ability to expand their orchestration chops - which invariably includes working on open-handiness.

But to shoot a beginner in the foot - by ignoring handiness - in the naive belief that if they can work through that self imposed handicap they will be better players down the road is IMO just simply BAD TEACHING. It is hard enough and rare enough for a student to actually make it through the hump from beginner to intermediate/advanced with all their fundamentals in place without purposefully making it harder.

Sorry to be so harsh - but I'm sorry but "teachers" that so casually throw out decades upon decades of pedagogical tradition based on their egotistical belief that "they know better" just light me up big time.

So per Dan's original topic - yes, everyone should explore this. But any teacher that even imagines pondering going against handiness, when pulling out the Haskell Hard book on a student's first day shouldn't be teaching period IMO.
Yes, you are harsh (while not seeming "sorry" for it at all), but maybe your biscuit got burned because of errors on my part, not this instructor's approach. To try to pour some water on this fire, I went back to him to clarify his approach. This was what I originally said:

A local drum teacher who teaches students of all levels/abilities told me that if he has an absolute beginner (who is right handed), he teaches them open-handed/matched grip/left hand lead on a righty kit from the get-go. It makes more sense in the long run.

I misremembered what he told me I am to blame for that. I just checked with him and this is what he does when he gets new students who are absolute beginners. (His drum set teaching takes place on a standard, right-handed set up - nothing special or unconventional in any way.) If they are left-handed, he sets them up to play open-handed. If they are right-handed, he has them try playing both right- and left-hand lead and then lets them then choose which option they prefer. He does not force anyone to learn in a manner they don't want to use, he simply makes sure they try different approaches so they can decide for themselves - there is no forcing a square peg into a round hole. Traditional grip, matched grip, right-hand lead, left-hand lead - he teaches it all based on the student's preference.

He pointed out that if he gets someone who's been playing drums before they come to him for lessons, he does not attempt to change what they've already been doing if it works for them. He mentioned that one of his instructors at Berklee told him, "if anyone tells you there's only one way to do something, run away!" (I personally prefer that philosophy to the "it's my way or the highway" approach.)

I hope this somewhat mollifies the flash fire that flared up around this topic. That said, I still stand by my opinion that playing left-hand lead on a right-hand kit makes the most ergonomic sense. And it in no way stops drummers from also employing right-lead if they so choose.

Look at any kid who picks up a pair of sticks and sits down at a drum set for the first time: the natural instinct is to play things located to the left side of one's body with the left hand and things located on the right with one's right hand; to cross over for no reason is not a natural physical move - it has to be taught or learned - no matter what kind of physical activity a person is involved in. Most crossover moves on the drum set are done for show, not for convenience or efficiency. I would bet that any beginner would only cross their hands because they've seen other drummers do it (the monkey-see-monkey-do scenario), not because it's a natural, comfortable position.


BILLY ET AL
I don't know how Billy and Lenny started out or what their natural handedness is (although Billy did parade drumming and his left-handedness didn't seem to do him any harm), but Simon started out playing in the conventional manner and deliberately decided to switch to left-hand lead/open-handed playing to make it easier to play a large kit; he can also play conventional right hand lead but chooses not to in most cases. Mike Mangini took a similar approach in his development and he is right handed. He has worked so much on open-handed playing (he calls it "open stance") that he once mentioned that it has become his default and is almost more natural now than leading with his right.

BOTH, NOT EITHER OR
Developing left-hand lead does not necessarily mean that one cannot also lead with the right hand when appropriate - it's not an all-or-nothing/zero sum approach. We have two hands, why not try to use them both equally or as equally as we can? Being completely one-sided -- either right or left -- is not the goal. The point is to use the body to its fullest potential, not just ignore half of it.

As to left hand lead being the "only advantage to playing open handed," I don't know about you, but even if that's the case, it's a major advantage to me. In most of the music I play (rock, pop, some pseudo-jazz), over the course of a gig I find myself playing the hi-hat possibly more than the ride cymbal. If I had to do a gig with just either a hi-hat or a ride cymbal, it would be much more practical to opt for the hi-hat.

HEALTH
And from a physical/medical perspective, constantly twisting off to one side in order to cross one's hands for hours at a time over many years may lead to long-term problems, possibly involving the neck and/or spine. I suspect that sitting in an upright position and facing forward is medically preferable to sitting in a twisted position to one side, especially for the spine and the nerves that run along it.

MARCHING
Regarding making it harder for students to qualify "for a high school marching snare drum line," please keep in mind that these students come to this teacher to learn how to play a drum set and he will teach them whatever they feel most comfortable with, be it right-hand lead/left-hand lead, matched grip, traditional grip. Not everyone who plays drum set is interested in marching band (in fact I suspect many of them aren't), and if they were, what's to keep them from playing bass drum or quads or pit (which often employs drum set nowadays)? The issue of left- or right-hand lead concerns a drummer playing a different instrument with each hand (usually snare and hi-hat or ride cymbal), not playing a single instrument with both hands, such as a marching snare. Open-handedness is an approach used when playing on a drum set containing multiple instruments, not something needed when playing just on a snare drum. Calling it counterproductive for someone who wants to play marching snare is beside the point.

PRACTICALITY
If crossing over is such a practical approach, why not teach left-handed drummers to flip their kit and just reverse mirror the standard right-handed layout so they have to deal with the same problem only in reverse? For left-handed students, it seems to me that it makes life much easier for them to apply left-hand lead on a right-handed kit rather than requiring them to flip their kit around to left-hand orientation so they can cross their hands. Learning left-hand lead on a right-handed kit makes it much more practical for them to sit in. Worst case scenario is that the drummer merely has to pick up the ride cymbal from the right side of the bass drum and put it next to the hi-hat and then put it back again when done - doesn't seem too onerous to me.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Tony Williams once said (Rhythm magazine, Jan 1990, p thirty-eight): "You can do anything you want to do. What matters is how it sounds. The end result. You can play left-handed, upside down, with ten bass drums, ambidextrous like some guys want to be. All that sheeet is superfluous. If it doesn't sound good, it doesn't mean sheeet. You got that? I don't care what you do. You can play with garbage cans, billboards, tape recorders, anything you want to do. You can play with three hi-hats, knitting needles, spoons. It's all fine with me. But if it doesn't sound good, if it doesn't make music, then go away. Run away!"
 
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JDA

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he simply makes sure they try different approaches so they can decide for themselves
I s'think it may be 'too early' to decide for themselves and could may be confusing... a reason One attribute- is to have the bass drum come down on the same side as the lead hand. When you break that- say right foot bass Left hand cymbal- there is a 'disconnect" that can work to advantage, but also has some dis advantage..as far as...weight..in zee notes...but even if 4 way independence is mastered (each limb getting 25%) (versus a 50%/50% approach..say) ..one still has to decide- and I think this should be done way later on- how they want to play. It's an extra burden introducing (that) too early I think/ maybe...

edit: I observe and notice with myself (I've done and experimented (on-stage) over the years) too. when left hand leads and bass drum foot is right side there's a "lightness" to the beat to the point where you (sometimes) cannot tell where the "weight" is within the beat/phase/measure ..floaty. Not always (if ever) desirable.

in other words, when 'one' is breaking ' it up' (the in/out the down/up) (distributed) , so evenly, that a dominant tessitura is not noticeable..and it (your measure your beat) becomes a blank. a flatline. non-existent. a draw.. "too" even... (that's all.
25%25%25%25% vs. 50%50% ....in weight of the phrase note's. (even among naturally left handed /right-footed drummers). I've known some (drummers who naturally play that way) (are left handed right footed) (one in particular) and their ride was always extra very light; they were yes left handed.

It appears to me everyone's left/right share the same characteristic. It's in the brain that tells which leads; yet, that doesn't change the right/left character. Think of a boxer. The right is the powerfuller knockout jab, the left the distance long distance reacher arounder.

Or do left handed boxer's reverse their stance etc? Their left the inside close jabber etc and their right becomes the outreach extender. Anyone know?
 
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Pounder

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WOW everyone step a foot back please.

OP has been playing for decades. My suggestion would be to simply devote some time to open-handed playing techniques. Don't get impatient about it.

As far as the "tragic nature" of starting a righty kid playing lefty or open-handed, to the possible expense of never finding groove, that sounds too harsh. I mean any reasonably good teacher understands there has to be first and foremost an assessment of what innate skill set the young beginner has. Said teacher needs to be receptive to this and teach accordingly. So the truth and best practice is probably somewhere between the extremes. But if a kid shows serious coordination skills and a proclivity towards the beat, I see no reason why not to have them practice ambidexterity early on, although not to the exclusion of learning efficiently. If they require leading with their dominant hand they probably need to work more with that before going lefty-open.

Still, you could look from a guitarists' perspective. Oftentimes a left-hander still is taught right-handed guitar. Both hands are necessary, correct? And, Dan's problems stems from the very assertion Crigger makes, being only learning right-lead, closed handed. That is where you end up with that mentality.

So, in a nutshell--lets' get back to the original topic--I suggest if you're a reader to try out the New Breed book by Gary Chester. There are other methods you could employ. If you have the extra practice time, just be patient, and realize you start again near square one, and get to woodshedding. Mirroring is a nice method, whereby you play something right-lead then left lead. How extreme you go is up to you. Heck you could set up a set left-handed for a year and see what happens, just for practice. I've always found practicing these sorts of things has improved my groove even when playing with others and going back to the comfort zone of righty-closed handed.

It's an interesting discussion, but I hesitate to assume there's only one right way to proceed and succeed. Good luck! Old Dog, new tricks!
 

dcrigger

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Yes, you are harsh (while not seeming "sorry" for it at all), but maybe your biscuit got burned because of errors on my part, not this instructor's approach. To try to pour some water on this fire, I went back to him to clarify his approach. This was what I originally said:

A local drum teacher who teaches students of all levels/abilities told me that if he has an absolute beginner (who is right handed), he teaches them open-handed/matched grip/left hand lead on a righty kit from the get-go. It makes more sense in the long run.

I misremembered what he told me I am to blame for that. I just checked with him and this is what he does when he gets new students who are absolute beginners. (His drum set teaching takes place on a standard, right-handed set up - nothing special or unconventional in any way.) If they are left-handed, he sets them up to play open-handed. If they are right-handed, he has them try playing both right- and left-hand lead and then lets them then choose which option they prefer. He does not force anyone to learn in a manner they don't want to use, he simply makes sure they try different approaches so they can decide for themselves - there is no forcing a square peg into a round hole. Traditional grip, matched grip, right-hand lead, left-hand lead - he teaches it all based on the student's preference.
(sorry I had to clip the quote for length)


No you're right - I don't in the least feel sorry for stating that opinion so strongly - not on something this important. Some will call that hyperbole - but for me, it comes from the years of coaching I did with adult intermediate students at the Grove School and Musician's Institute. Trying to figure out how help too many young drummers with their hearts set on pursuing a life in drumming - with gigantic holes in their basic skills - in spite of having taken private lessons in their past.

I believe it's important because, even today, I constantly call upon things that I learned in my first few drum lessons. So yes, I believe it is important to serve the student as best one can. Particularly the beginning student.

My biscuit got burnt??? Hardly. This is not personal - yes, I believe any teacher doing as you wrote about would be doing their students a grave disservice. My aspersions were never aimed at that teacher personally... but professionally. And I'm sorry, but there are many unqualified drum teachers out there (I've spent too much trying to undo their damage) so I have zero problem with calling out substandard professional standards. It is not personal - and I'm not emotionally lit up one bit about it.

I really don't want to go point by point through your post - because at this point it seems like it would just irritate people...

But a few points...

1) I don't sit beginners down at a drum set at the same time they are introduced to stick grips, etc.

2) Movement around the drum set is far from a beginning student concern or issue - we've got hand positions, basic stroke, the rudiments of counting, of tapping one's feet on the beat, while counting and playing the most simple hand to hand exercise appropriate to having that skill level.

I have no need to start them on a basic drum set beat - because if they have access to a drum set, they will have already figured that out for themselves. But that is not square one to learning how to play the drum set as quickly, efficiently and competently as possible. That is my job - to teach them how to do this really well. If I skip ahead to trying refine their drum set pattern play - I'm going to be skipping over a bunch of stuff, that will absolutely bite them in the rear later on.... when it is much more difficult to fix.

3) You make all of these cases for developing open handed playing - which is great and fine. I totally support players to explore this and adopt to the degree that suits them. You are preaching to the choir.... Except not for beginners.

We simply don't know enough about any incoming beginner - except which hand they throw the ball with, which hand they write with, etc.

4) And then, if I find that more amberdexvterous beginner, then what? If they truly show no propensity one way or the other - then no question, absolutely I would start them right handed. Why?

Because right handed players simply have an easier go of it in our right-handed world. As this beginner is likely going to be from 8-12 years, I don't the luxury of presuming what may lay ahead for them... and certain can't be irresponsible enough for saddling them with a decision that have zero qualifications to make... that's what I'm getting paid. "Prepare my son or daughter to be the best drummer they can be moving forward" - that's my job. Not second guessing their future.

5) As for changing the curriculum... why? The standard approach is to always work towards strengthening the weak hand, towards making the hands as equal as possible... So this more ambidextrous student will simply be more successful at that quicker - how is that a bad thing?


6) Both not either or - sorry I disagree, when it comes to more seriously into drum set. You're suggesting that a student learn to play everything two different way - both ways producing the exact same results.

Sorry how can I advocate teaching with that goal - when only a half dozen (if that) players have achieved that across the entire planet? And maybe, theoretically, that indeed might be better. But it's going to take a lot longer.

And as every teacher knows, we are always in a constant race between either achieving results and losing interest. And what you're suggesting will take longer. I can't ask a teenage student to go through the Chapin book and then go through the Chapin book with the opposite hands. Or suffer through the time it will take to do it simultaneously.

And what drummers am I going to point to justify wasting that students time on that? Im sorry, I see no evidence that Simon's ability to do that makes him all that better (if at all) player than Steve Gadd - or the countless other drummers that have simply never bothered with it.

Again it is not my job to make that decision - to embark on a clinic trial in way that even Simon Phillips didn't grow out of. This is all totally hypothesis - that starting this way would be somehow better. And as a teacher, I would be irresponsible for purposely doing so. I'm a teacher, a coach, an instructor... not a runner of clinic trials or experiments.

7) Health - I don't twist to one side to play the hi hat and don't suggest anyone else doing it either. Because there is no need to. I do not rotate my spine at all to play the hi hat. If added power or clearance is needed, I suggest something out Steve Gadd's bg of tricks.... raise the hi hat. In my experience, most folks that find crossing over most irritation position their hi hat way too low. Just an observation YMMV

8) Marching - But I'm not talking about this teacher - I'm talking about all beginning teachers. And yes, a left-handed player might have an easier time marching quads. All I'm saying is that beginning teachers have no right to put their thumb on that scale - based on the yet, far from commonly accepted, belief that open handed playing is better.
 

dcrigger

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part 2 -

9) you do realize there are scads of left-handed players that play on left-handed kits? I went to school with more than one - and have taught/coached many. And flipping the drum set is exactly what must be done to accommodate them.

And as any teacher that has tried to get a more advanced student who stubbornly can't seem to "unlock" their RF from their RH knows - it is easy to understand why many lefties start out playing that way. Because it is most natural for them.

The practical inconveniences come when a player branches out past playing their own kit - school, college, dealing with house sets, subbing, jam sessions. The things you suggest as workarounds certain work - but frankly aren't always possible.

Touring with Bacharach, we did tons of gigs - where the opening act had to pretty much play my set-up as-is - raise the stool, tilt the snare, sure, usually. Move cymbals around with the kit already mic'd up and squeezed into position on the stage. Nope - not possible. I'm sure a competent working player that played open handed could make it work... though I never saw it. And that scenario came up 40-50 times a year for 30 years. Just a personal observation as to how uncommon open-handed playing really is.

10) Sorry I do not understand why you are quoting Tony Williams to me - when over and over and over again I have stated that each player should certainly explore this - heck if for no other reason than there are sometimes patterns that simply can't be played any other other way - I have been incredibly clear that my concern here is only about teaching beginners.

But actually re-reading that quote - isn't Tony supporting what I'm saying? I think certainly in dissing ambidextrousness as goal in and of itself. Would Tony support learning to play great feeling samba pattern only to then go back to the shed and learn it played with the opposite hand? As he says "All of that sheeet is superfluous". Or would he say - "I already hear that... and one of them sounded better than the other - so while in the world did you waste my time playing the crappy sounding one - why wouldn't just play the good one twice - or play something else the second. Are looking to score points for being ambidextrous???" "Didn't you hear me??? All that sheeet is superfluous"

And he's right.

So that last part is a bit of a comment on open-handedness - IMO it's a means to an end - rarely it is a panacea (except for those left-handed players trying to function in a right handed world). But for right-handed players - IMO it is a way useful technique - but it is not a game changer. Not for most players. If it was a huge majority of us would've adopted it years and years ago. Because this is the furthest thing from a new topic. Personally I started experimenting with in the mid-70's - 45 years ago! And it still hasn't caught on.

Which doesn't mean it can't be a game changer for some players - Great. If that's the case, wonderful. But like Tony - I hear no difference. No clear superiority. So I have no reason to be a proponent of it except as a cool option to explore - but not for beginners. Which is 99% of all I've said in this entire thread.

Anyway again, thanks for such a through thoughtful response. I hope this one has been as well. I've read every word everyone including yourself has written. I think I may have some understanding of your reasoning... but at the same time, I also believe that you are wrong (in the many ways I've tried to explain). If you read my words and don't agree... cool. It's a discussion, not a duel to the death.

Anyway thanks again - and DH sorry that your topic got hijacked a bit.

David
 

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