George Lawrence Stone was a great drummer who (for over 85 years) has helped countless other drummers become great with his famous “Stick Control,” “Mallet Control,” “Accents and Rebounds,” and “Military Rudiments” books. Teachers, students, and professionals everywhere will tell you that “Stick Control for the Snare Drummer” is the single most important book you will ever use in learning and improving your drumming. This incredibly versatile classic was designed to serve beginners, intermediate students, drum and bugle corps members, and professional musicians of every style.
Jazz great Joe Morello started taking lessons from Stone when he was sixteen. “Every lesson was a joy to go to,” he said. “If you did something wrong, he had a way of letting you know about it, but without belittling you. He was a very gentle kind of man, and he had a good sense of humor. He had a way of bringing out the best in me.” Another noteworthy student of Stone’s was Vic Firth. “Mr. Stone was a droll Yankee type,” Firth recalls, “but a very sweet man. He was probably one of the first technique builders of the teachers, and he felt it was terribly important to make music. His theory was that you can be a sculptor by virtue of owning a hammer and chisel, but you don’t really sculpt anything until you have the technique to do it. Likewise, before you can do anything ‘shapely’ in music, you’ve got to have the hands to do it with.”
George Lawrence Stone died at the age of 81 on November 19, 1967. Eulogizing his friend William F. Ludwig, Sr. said, “George was always helpful to everyone – his motto was ‘Service before self.’ May he rest in the satisfaction that he did his best for the percussion field for many, many years.”
Here’s a rarely seen number written by Stone and dedicated to Gene Krupa: