Friday, May 3, 2019

Brush Circles, the eternal conundrum

One question I get asked fairly frequently is " What direction do you make your circles in when playing brushes"?
Basically, one can circle in ( right hand counter clockwise, left hand clockwise ) or circle out ( direction of hands reversed ). I tend to find matched grip players tend to circle in more, because circling out seems a bit more awkward for non-traditional grip players.
I think if you're just starting on brushes, it's good to find one way that works the best, and stick with that as you develop your technique. However, if you're a true brush nerd like me ( I blame Dad and the Papa Jo record he gave me when I was in grade 9 ) I think you'll discover there are great advantages to being able to circle both directions with either hand. They feel different and I think they are both useful at different times. So, how to work on this? Well, figure 8s work really well in getting us comfortable with both directions and create a pattern that's great in it's own right.

Here's a couple of more videos of ways to get looser with the concept.

Also Philly Joe's great book " Brush Artistry" ( now out of print but can be found online ) can be very useful for inward circlers who want to work on their outward circling chops.
Please be reminded though, it's more important to be very comfortable with one direction of circles than to play both ways poorly. I well aware that many wonderful drummers are not nearly as obsessed about this stuff as I am. Good luck and have fun!

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