Tag Archives: Vic Firth

Tuesday: Never Practice Struggle

The idea to “never practice struggle” was first presented to me by Total Immersion swimming coach Terry Laughlin. I would like to take this idea out of the water and onto the drum (or pad) with today’s lesson.

Challenge: Revisit Murray Gusseck’s “MasterClick” article from the Vic Firth Exchange. The goal today will be to begin playing either:

  • 1/16th-note book reports,

  • or 1/8th-note triplet flam drags.

Once the tempo increases to the point where you cannot maintain the quality and consistency of the rudiment, remove one diddle. In the book report you will play a diddle on ‘1’ to make it a diddle choo-choo,

and in the flam drag you will switch to flam accents.

Moving along in tempo, once you can no longer maintain this rudiment, remove the remaining diddle or flam to make either a choo-choo,

or straight triplets.

Lastly, at a certain point you will remove the flam in the choo-choo and begin playing paradiddles.

Still with me? The idea is to never practice struggle. Begin with a challenging rudiment at a slow tempo, then as the tempo increases switch to a more manageable rudiment at the appropriate time. When? That depends on your experience level and chops.

Post experiences to comments!

Tuesday: Double-Stroke Roll

Today’s challenge comes from Murray Gusseck’s article “The MasterClick” from his Stick Yoga Series on Vic Firth’s The Exchange. Download the 31-minute click track here, and play a left-hand lead 16th-note double-stroke roll (LL RR LL RR) the entire time. Read his article as well, as it explains the logic behind playing slowly in order to habituate accurate rhythms and consistent sound quality.

Also, here is an insightful Ted talk to watch while playing your half-hour roll.

Post your experiences and comments below.