Jim Chapin and the Moeller Method

Rudiments are by far the most important tool in any drummer’s toolbox. Dexterity and strength play a major part in reciting rudiments and the technique, whether traditional or matched grip, must be executed properly in order to complete the desired patterns. One of the oldest styles of playing rudiments is the Moeller Technique. According to its definition: “The Moeller Method, (or Moeller Technique) is a percussive stroke method that combines a variety of techniques with the goal of improving hand speed, power and control while offering the flexibility to add accented notes at will. The technique uses a specific ‘whipping motion’ that allows gravity to do most of the work, allowing the drummer to play faster, by staying relaxed.”

Sanford A. Moeller was an American rudimental drummer, educator and drum builder. In 1925, he compiled and wrote “The Moeller Book: The Art of Snare Drumming.” Moeller’s unique point of view was that he considered drum students, who were learning to drum properly, to be students of eurhythmics. Moeller based his lessons and instruction around a playing style used by field drummers who had served in the American Civil War.

Jim Chapin was a former student of Moeller and is an expert on this classic style. In his video lesson “Speed, Power, Control, Endurance” he provides a series of excellent demonstrations using the Moeller Method. Basing his examples off of triplets Chapin challenges viewers to use the mechanics of the whipping motion. One cannot help but admire Chapin’s amazing speed and smoothness. It appears that he is not struggling at all. (I on the other hand am still struggling to pull off most of these exercises. I remain inspired to keep trying.) Here are three of Chapin’s videos taken from his one-hour lesson showcasing the Moeller Method:

PART 1:

PART 2:

PART 3:

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1 Comment

Filed under Drums and Drumming

One response to “Jim Chapin and the Moeller Method

  1. I remember seeing this video for the first time many years ago. Even though I’d been playing for a long time, it was the first time I learned the difference between “french grip” and “german grip”. Eventually, I settled on german grip for my left hand and french for my left. I only tried using a different one for each hand a couple of years ago, but it feels perfect for me.

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