I have to shout out Drumeo, my behemoth compatriot in the drum lesson space (I don't consider this Zero Sum competition, so I don't use the word "competitor") for the idea for this week's lesson. In truth, though, the idea has been marinating for a few months - ever since I read Josh Waitzkin's book The Art of Learning, and listened to Mark Guiliana, Oli Bernatchez, and Ofri Nehemya.
Josh, chess-champion-cum-Taiqi/Juijitsu-phenom, speaks about a concept called "making smaler circles" to refer to gradual refinement of a skill. You start out with all the steps explicit, giving everything equal weight. Over time, you gain a feel for the "80/20" of the movement, and learn to perform it with fewer-and-fewer explicit steps. The end result is a Taiqi master who can throw an opponent out of the ring with zero movement visible to an inexperienced onlooker, because the movements are so deep and subtle.
I immediately thought of Mark, Oli, and Ofri. What makes these drummers (and Marcus Gilmore and Ari Hoenig) so great is it often feels like you're only seeing the outward manifestation of about 20% of what they've got happening inside.
Like a reduced balsamic vinegar or high quality whiskey, TONS of source material has gone into producing something very minimal, but it's not a 1:1 tradeoff: you still see evidence that there's more-than-meets-the-eye when you watch Mark, Oli, and Ofri. They've made smaller circles.
Anyway, I was at-a-loss as to how to communicate this to you good folks until my buddies over at Drumeo produced One Easy Drum Beat That Sounds Hard, and, jokester-that-I-am, I knew I'd have to produce a lesson on precisely the opposite, I realized - "OH. This is Making Smaller Circles Redux."
Finally, Easter Egg - I'll be in Hong Kong October 12-16 and Taipei the following week, and planning to do drum clinics. More info coming soon!