Technique, Schmechnique…thoughts from a ‘recovering’ rudimental drummer

First off, check out this amazing drummer…

Drummer Wanted: Dean Zimmer

…now, this guy is incredible on so many levels, but I want to talk about his technique. His hands are different than most folks hands, so he had to invent a new hand technique. Wow.

Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my teacher, Mark Schulman. He basically summed up good technique this way (I’m paraphrasing here), “as long as you get the sound you want, consistently–and you’re not hurting yourself–it’s good technique.”

It’s so easy to get all caught up French/German/American technique, and how you make all your limbs work properly, etc., etc. (*oy*) It’s so easy to forget that…it’s…really…just…simple. Like Mark said above–if it works and you’re not getting hurt, it’s all good.

And it’s REALLY hard for me, cuz I’m an old drum corps guy, where you’re judged on how uniform each individual’s technique is. And I teach a marching band, so I gotta get all those kids playing in a uniform manner. I tell ya, it can make you really anal about technique.

But…I really believe what Mark said. Here’s a great example:

I spent some time with Brazilian drummers in Portland, and also was lucky enough to sit in on a rehearsal with Mocidade Alegre in Sao Paulo in ’09 (one of the top musical moments of my life…omigerd). Brazilian drummers use some crazy techniques that would freak out folks who are focused on French/German/American (i.e. Western-European influenced) techniques. But yunno…it works. Their ‘crazy’ techniques work. AND in fact, if you try to play their music with one of those Western European techniques…well, it just doesn’t work as well. For one thing, you’ll probably hurt yourself. For another, it just sounds and grooves better with their technique. So, I had to let go of forcing my Brazilian playing into my Western European technique, and I just went with theirs! (“When in Rome…”) It was amazing…

(This is why I’m a recovering rudimental drummer…my program here has taken me past French/German/American technique 😉

So, now I have all these new Brazilian techniques at my disposal. And…(AND!) I was able to apply some ‘crazy’ Brazilian repique technique to what I call ‘thrash’ cymbal riding on the drum set. Works great, and you don’t hurt yourself (I was having a problem with that).

So Dean–my hat’s off to you. That’s an amazing technique you invented–I love it!

Cheers y’all!

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