Neil Peart – My Studies with Freddie Gruber

SKF NOTE: This morning in St. Petersburg, FL, downloading for a project, several large video files, I pass the time reading, writing, and ridding my MacBook Pro of unwanted files.

I’m also finding some gems, such as Neil Peart’s Freddie Gruber piece Neil wrote for a “graduate student…writing a ‘senior comprehensive research paper’ on the teachings of Freddie Gruber…”

Was Neil’s piece ever published? I don’t know. If I’m breaking any laws posting Neil’s “educational” piece about Freddie’s teaching, let me know, I will remove this post.

On the other hand, if someone has a link to an original post of this essay, I’m happy to include the link here.

Here’s most of Neil’s email in which he sent his Freddie Gruber as teacher piece. I’m including an excerpt from Neil’s piece and a link to the full piece as a PDF file


Mar 22, 2014, 9:58 AM
Santa Monica CA

Hey Scott —

Didn’t know you had crossed paths with Herr Grüber.

Among my sabbatical writings has been some “educational” stuff about drumming, as requested by magazines and authors.

One graduate student was writing a “senior comprehensive research paper” on the teachings of Freddie Gruber, and asked me for a contribution.

Perhaps this was more than he wished for — but, having the time to do it, I was glad to help keep Freddie’s memory alive.


SKF Excerpt from “My Studies with Freddie Gruber,” by Neil Peart:

…I had been feeling a little frustrated, “blocked,” in my drumming. The pursuit of metronomic accuracy in the studio, playing to a click-track, and in concert, having to stay in sync with increasing numbers of sequencers that popped in and out of songs, had made me start to feel stiff behind the drums. I didn’t like the way it felt, or sounded.

So, with time to use and nothing to lose…I commenced a week of lessons with Freddie.

There was a drumset in the room, but we hardly touched it. Freddie watched me play for about five minutes, then started talking—and so it continued for five days. …Freddie’s main topic was motion.

At the end of five rather dizzying days in that little studio, I wasn’t sure what exactly we had accomplished—what I was supposed to have learned. But to my surprise, on the final day Freddie wrote down a long and detailed list of specific exercises for me to work on. Some of them were as small as holding a stick in one hand and releasing it with the thumb so gradually that it was always controlled, again and again, while others were performed at the drums, with patterns alternating from foot to foot, while a medium- tempo swing beat was divided into each of its possible syncopations (what another teacher called “disturbed accents”), to be repeated in combination with each other.

At that point, I had to wonder if I would apply myself to those exercises.

The eventual answer was yes—I was inspired and encouraged, and it is no exaggeration to say that in the next year-and-a-half, I proceeded to learn to play all over again.

Download Neil Peart’s, “My Studies with Freddie Gruber”

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