Holy Moeller (Technique)

A drumming friend of mine turned me on to Jojo Mayer’s DVD, “Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer.”

I went to Amazon and ordered it right up. He does a great job of explaining different hand positions (French, German, traditional grip) and the mechanics of each. Even though I’ve played for decades there are plenty of “ah ha” moments on this disc. In fact, he’s got me using traditional grip again after many years of neglect. Some things you forget and some things you don’t. For me, traditional grip falls into the latter category.

Jojo’s demonstration of the Moeller technique is worth the (not super cheap) price of the DVD. I had heard of it, but being a classical percussionist, it wasn’t something that I really thought much about. Basically it involves getting arms, hands and fingers working together in a relaxed yet powerful way. It’s not particularly difficult, but it takes practice, so that’s what I’m doing.

There is a natural swinging of the elbows that the Moeller method produces. When I saw it on the video I immediately thought of the way my late great teacher Roland Kohloff’s arms moved when he rolled on the timpani. The technique is quite old. Sanford Moeller described it in the late 19th century. Hmm. Could Roland have used it? More likely he just moved in a similar way but you never know…