Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Joe Morello's Natural Approach - Part 1

Hard work and a lot of woodshed time can pay off. This post is going to critique Joe Morello: Drum Method 1--The Natural Approach to Technique and will follow-up in a subsequent post for Part 2.

There are a few things I want to say about this video:

First, Joe Morello's on-camera teaching style can be frustrating because he is whips through each lesson quickly. However, you can replay any segment of lesson as often as necessary, and Joe does provide a constant stream of advice and tips that - if you heed them and actually put them to use - will dramatically improve your technique.

Second, this is NOT a video to be watched from start to finish without interruption. Watch it one exercise at a time, breaking at the end of each exercise to actually perform the exercises, and repeat until you feel that you are comfortable with, and have met the objectives of, each exercise before proceeding to the next. Then, incorporate those exercises into your personal practice regimen. This may not sound like much fun (and at first it isn't), but it does build muscle-memory, which means that the techniques and exercise objectives are incorporated into your own playing, which is why you purchased this video in the first place, right?

Finally, regardless of your level of proficiency or ingrained style with respect to grip and technique, if you follow the exercises and work at employing the techniques Joe teaches, you can "unlearn" any bad habits you bring to the lessons and exercises. For example, I started playing in 1964, took a long break from drumming, and took it up again years later. I brought a plethora of bad habits and questionable technique, all of which I was able to rectify through diligently following the lessons and exercises presented here, and the hard work and frustration that entailed. I personally think it paid off significantly, making this one of the most invaluable instructional videos I had the good sense to purchase (and work through).

Complaints about the instructional style and pacing have some validity, but if you look beyond those and dig in and take the lessons to heart (and work through the exercises), this video can and probably will make a big difference in your abilities as a drummer. After all, your instructor is one of the top drummers ever, and is no longer with us to give personal lessons, so this is as close as you are going to get to unlocking the secrets to Joe's amazing technique.

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