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 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.
‘Take On Me’, by A-ha, is backed by an eighth note hi-hat pattern at 169 BPM. The groove is simple but it’s fast. At 3 minutes 49 seconds long, you’re going to need to build your endurance to keep up the tempo till the end. The simplicity of the beat in ‘Take on Me’ means that you can really hone in on this life-saving technique, and not worry about any unexpected notes or complex fills.
Don’t go too hard too fast. Like all good things, it takes time and practice. When learning the Moeller Method, remember to slow it down and break it down into its parts: the down-stroke and up-stroke. Melodics Daily Warmups are the perfect space to practice the Moeller Method. Use the Quarter and Eighth Notes lesson to build up your speed and endurance slowly.