Freddie Gruber: How A Drum Student Hears Pt. 2

I posted Part 1 of my exchange with Freddie Gruber here.

During our interview, however, I stopped our hypothetical conversation and asked Freddie to use me as a real-life example. So this second part of our interview began after Freddie says in Part 1, Just relax and invent something rhythmically based on what you just played.  This part of the interview ended, and Part 1 resumed, with Freddie saying, I’m getting an opportunity to view what you’re doing at that moment.

So, here is the missing linking from Freddie Gruber: How A Drum Student Hears

[SKF NOTE: At this point I volunteered for a demonstration. Fred had me play a double-stroke roll on a magazine and then on a hard table top. He instructed me to relax and not think about what I was doing.]

FG: Okay. You responded differently to this harder surface with another sound than you were playing on the magazine.

You’re the instrument. In the final analysis, you are the instrument. The instrument you are sitting behind is just an extension of you and what you hear and feel.

Something changed when you played on another surface. Let’s do it again.

[Again I play a double-stroke roll on the table top.]

FG: Okay. You can hear that the strokes are not as even as they were on the magazine. You’ve backed off a little because the sound of the table is harder. In other words, it discloses more of what you’re doing. It hides less. So you’ve backed off a little which only means that you got mildly apprehensive. So we dismiss that. It doesn’t really count. We’ll try to get relaxed and we’ll do it again.

[I once more play a double-stroke roll on the table top.]

FG: Okay. On the left hand, the first stroke of the double-stroke was much louder and the second one came down as a rebound. The right hand was following the left hand. It was just hanging there limp and just playing a little rebound. Whereas, the left hand was actually playing the more aggressive lead.

So in technical terms it means simply that it’s uneven. One hand is different than the other. And if we’re talking technically, one hand should be able to do what the other can do.

We’re not talking about sitting down and playing music now. We’re not talking about swinging. We’re not talking about phrasing.

Technically speaking, that means that one of your hands is not matched to the other. And there’s a slim possibility that sometime in your playing life you might want to express something you’re hearing that might not come out because of the technical deficiency. And you find yourself saying, I can’t get it out.

I’d notice right away that the hands are not matched. I’m not referring to match grip. I mean, that they’re not equal to each other in terms of development.

Now this may or may not be relevant because we’re sitting together for the first time and you might not be doing what you can actually do.


About Scott K Fish
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