Moeller Technique General Information

The Moeller technique is a highly refined method of playing the snare drum. It was developed in the early 20th century by George Moeller, a German teacher, and musician. The Moeller method is not a style of playing, but rather a method of practicing. So, it may be applied to any style of music

The Moeller method of drums playing incorporates the proper limb movements of the arms and hands with the proper foot movements on the pedal. This technique is a very efficient way of playing the drum but, as with any other method, it does take time and practice to become proficient.

How to Play by the Moeller Method?


The Moeller technique is comprised of a series of five steps:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Mental Preparation
  3. Body Preparation
  4. Drum Strokes
  5. Relaxation

The first step of the Moeller drum technique is to relax. When a drummer first begins playing, they are often tense, which causes unnecessary muscle strain and fatigue. This muscle strain can lead to a multitude of problems, such as hand and arm pain.

Muscle tension can also affect the foot pedal and cause the foot to move too fast, which can lead to unnecessary strain on the foot and back.

The first step to playing the drum is to relax every muscle in the body, from the head to the toes. Allow the muscles to completely relax until the body is completely limp.

Once the muscles are completely relaxed, the body is focused on the task at hand. This helps the drummer to focus on the drumming, rather than the tension in the muscles.

Once the body has been relaxed, the second step is to enter a mental state of concentration. When the mind is focused on drumming, the body can follow the commands of the mind.

Body Preparation

Once the body has been relaxed and the mind is focused on the drumming, the next step is to prepare the body for the drumming. The first step of body preparation is to place the legs in a position that is comfortable for both the foot and the knees.

This position is usually a basic stance, with the feet flat on the floor and slightly wider than the hips.

The next step is to prepare the arms for the drumming. The wrists should be straight and the fingers should be pointed in a downward position. When the fingers are pointed downward, it is easier to relax the fingers than when they are pointed upward.

The arms should be relaxed but still somewhat straight. The elbows should be slightly bent. The shoulders should be relaxed, not hunched or rolled forward.

Drum Strokes

The next step of the Moeller technique on drums is to move the arms into position to play the drum. The arms should be set at a comfortable level, with the elbows bent and the wrists positioned at the proper angle. This angle is usually a low angle, which is the angle that most people are accustomed to.

The hand should be positioned so that the thumb is along the side of the drumstick technique. The fingers should be relaxed and straight, with the first and second fingers facing or pointing downward towards the drumhead. The third and fourth fingers should be placed on top of the stick, with the first finger on the bottom and the second finger on the top.

The stick should be held with the stick resting on the first joint of the first finger and the second joint of the second finger. The third and fourth fingers should be relaxed and resting on the stick, but not pressing down.

drumsticks are hitting the drum

The wrist should be positioned so that the stick is at the proper angle to the drumhead. This angle is usually 45 degrees, with the stick pointing towards the drummer’s right side.

The drummer should then practice the movements of the drumming. The drummer should first practice a single Moeller stroke, moving the stick from the starting position to the end position.

The drummer should focus on keeping the stick close to the head so that the stick makes contact with the head without hitting the rim. The head should be hit directly in the center, between the rim and the edge of the head.

The next step after the single stroke is to practice the double stroke, full stroke, downstroke, upstroke, and backward stroke.

The Down Stroke

The Down Stroke is one of the most used techniques in popular music and is the most commonly used technique to play drums. The Down Stroke is created by striking the drum stick on the drum head and then pulling the stick off the drum head. Once the downstroke is mastered, the other strokes become much easier to learn.

The Up Stroke

The upstroke is the opposite of the downstroke. The upstroke is very useful in playing the drums. The upstroke is used in many different ways. It can be used to play the cymbals. The upstroke can also be used in playing the snare drum. It is also used in the triplet feel.

The concept of the upstroke is to lift the stick off the drum in a smooth motion. The stick is brought up and then back down on the drum. It is important to avoid dragging the stick across the head. This creates a glissando. If the stick is dragged across the drum, it is not an upstroke. It is a downstroke. This is one of the biggest mistakes a beginner makes.

The Full Stroke

The stick starts at the bottom of the stroke and ends up at the top of the stroke. This teaching method is by far the most common and is a great tool to use when teaching yourself to play the drums. It’s very effective and easy to learn.

Here are the basic steps to teaching yourself the full stroke:

  1. Place your stick on the head of the drum.
  2. Pull your stick up and end with the stick on the rim of the drum.
  3. Relax your wrist so that your stick falls naturally.
  4. Practice this until it feels completely natural.

The Backward Stroke

The backward stroke is the most important of all the strokes and is the most characteristic feature of the Moeller style. It is a stroke that is given by having the fingers of the left hand, which is the weaker hand, push the stick over to the right. It is given by the left hand on all the beats and on the first and third counts of all the measures. The right hand always stays behind the left and only moves forward to give a stroke when the left hand has given a backward stroke.

The backward stroke is used on all the eighth notes, both on the downbeats as well as on the “and” counts of all the measures, as well as on the first note of all dotted half notes, both as a regular note and as a dotted note. It is also used on the first half of all the triplets, both as a regular note and as a triplet.

Pros and Cons of Using Moeller Technique


  • Establishes a strong foundation: The technique offers a robust base for rhythm, tone, and strength, crucial for creating a solid groundwork for hand and wrist technique.
  • Enhances muscle strength: It strengthens wrist, hand, and arm muscles securely by developing a powerful grip, aiding in maintaining proper posture and instrument control.
  • Improves tempo maintenance: Enables the utilization of hand and wrist strength to sustain tempo, reinforcing overall strength and dexterity.
  • Boosts coordination: Facilitates improved coordination, reducing the need for constant finger-focused thoughts and fostering hand and finger independence.


  • Steep learning curve: Requires dedicated practice and effort to master, making it challenging for beginners to adapt to this technique.
  • Uncomfortable positioning: The technique necessitates a non-natural drumming posture, elevating drumsticks, pedals, and the drum itself higher than conventional positioning, potentially causing discomfort.
  • Not ideal for young learners: Can pose difficulty for young students as it demands adopting an unnatural playing style, hindering their learning process.

The Moeller Technique: How to Perfect Your Skills

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it gives you some new tips for practicing the drums. The Moeller technique is a very different approach to learning how to play the drums. While it is still very similar to the conventional method, it can be a bit more difficult to learn. However, it can also be a great way to learn to play the drums, and it can really help you to reach your full potential as a drummer. This technique is not easy and it will require time, dedication, and effort. But in the end, they will be well worth it.

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