All drummers have experienced this: there’s a complex 16th note fill you want to play, but it’s just too fast. Or maybe it’s a simple groove but the band wants to play it at 200 BPM and you can’t keep up. You start to tense up. Your timing and accuracy is slipping. Your bandmates are glaring at you, urging you to stick to the tempo.
There’s a physical limit to how fast you can play. How do you overcome this limit and increase your speed and endurance on the drums?
Speed and endurance comes from working efficiently. And efficiency comes from technique. Let’s uncover one of the most influential techniques in modern drumming that makes fast drumming effortless: the Moeller Method.
The Moeller Method
The Moeller Method is a technique that uses a ‘whipping motion’ to increase speed and efficiency. This technique combines multiple drum strokes into a single arm motion, letting gravity do all the hard work. Now that’s efficiency.
Here’s how it works for a straight eighth-note pattern.
The down-stroke: Lift the stick up high above your drum using your whole arm, loosening your wrist on the way up in a whipping motion. Use gravity to bring it back down to strike the drum. This is the “down-stroke”.
Use your fingers to control how far your stick rebounds off the drum. The stick should just hover above the drum after the down stroke. This will set you up for the next part of this technique.
The up-stroke: With your stick hovering above your drum ready for you to lift up again, why not tap the drum while you’re there? With a flick of the wrist, tap the drum on your way back up. This is the “up-stroke”.
Try repeating the down and up strokes in a single, fluid, “whipping” motion. Remember to stay loose and relaxed.
Watch this video for visual guidance on how to play this this technique.
Remember: you’re getting two strokes for the price of one arm movement, which takes less physical effort and you’ll be able to play faster for longer. This is the secret to increasing your speed and endurance.
Applications of the Moeller Method.
From fast sixteenth note hi-hat patterns, to ghost notes, to complex fills, the Moeller Method will help you achieve new levels of efficiency. Here are some examples of ways you can use the Moeller Method to take your drumming to the next level.
Fast sixteenth note hi-hat patterns.
One of the most common applications of the Moeller Method in contemporary music is to increase speed and efficiency while playing fast hi-hat / ride cymbal patterns. Because you’re able to achieve two strokes for the price of one arm movement, your speed and endurance will increase.
Ghost notes and dynamics.
Drumming is all about creativity. We use different drums and cymbals to add sonic variation, and we use dynamics (volume) to add complexity and expression. Ghost notes are one of the most common uses of dynamics. Use the tap stroke to effortlessly add ghost notes to your drum grooves and fills.
Accents and power.
Accents can take a lot of energy to play. Whether you’re playing hard-hitting snares or powerful fills, the Moeller Method can help you increase your volume and stamina. Use gravity to get more power behind your drums without putting in more effort.