Jim Chapin, famous for his wonderful book: “Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer”, had to tour the country to demonstrate that the exercises he had written could be played. People would marvel while he would show how to develop independence of the limbs. Awestruck, mouth open, little drool for some, they would admire Mr Chapin proving that impossible IS possible, as the old American adage said.
And so, the same as generations of drummers before me, I studied his book and got the concepts in my system. The only difference with his generation and mine was that I knew what he was proposing wasn’t impossible. For example, my teachers played them with ease for me!
That said, let’s not kid ourselves. Was it tough to learn? Yes, absolutely! But was it so discouraging that I wanted to give up? No! After all, all my classmates did the book. There was no question I couldn’t do it.
I teach my son the drums. He’s 13 years old. He’s already advanced. I saw him eat the Chapin exercises like I eat peanuts. In less a few weeks we were moving on from the pages of the book and approaching other concepts of jazz drumming. And I was flabbergasted.
It’s not that he was able to do the exercises, but to do them so well and to develop so rapidly. I attribute that growth to his natural talent, yes! but also to the osmosis of our time. He heard countless drummers use those very concepts to express themselves on the drums, he saw a hundred videos that showed just how to use it in a fluid and natural way, his whole musical environment has been touched by the very technique dear old Jim Chapin talks about in his book. When it was time for ma son to learn them, he was ready. He was really ready! Because of the vibe.