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Happy Sam´s approach


Want to learn how to play the drums? No such thing! With multiple methods of instruction and so many different styles who can honestly say for sure which is “The Way” and only “The Way”? Rather than teaching how to play it makes more sense understanding how to approach this instrument - or any other for that matter.

Having played with top professionals in the industry, studied and taught over the span of 25 years my belief is that the foundation for approaching any instrument is feel. The question now lies in how to bring that feel out while playing the instrument? Does it come through note reading, through listening, through technique? Though all three are necessary for the musician this only leaves us on the surface trying to make it inside.

The formula “Balance + Motion = Emotion” is what I believe to be the best foundational approach for achievement of feel and expression of oneself through their chosen musical instrument. Understanding the balance point of the stick as well as the seated positioning of the body eliminates much of the struggle that many, if not most, players have before even striking drum. This combined with motions which allow the player to move fluidly around the drum set makes the difference for the player in facilitating:

  • evenness and lightness of tone

  • creation of a fuller range of dynamics

  • sensitivity to touch and control over the body limbs and that which they make contact with

  • extraction of resonance from the drum heads, pads and cymbals

  • increased speed

  • looseness and endurance in playing

The list can be added to, but the bottom line is that when the hard work is taken out of playing and one learns how to apply this approach then freedom of expression is given room to exist. We no longer seek to simply memorize and copy, but rather to allow that which desires to come forth through us and as us to exist in its natural and intended way. True musical tone comes from the connection within ourselves to that aspect of us which is greater than what we are.


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