Creating Inter Dynamics with Hi Hats

Focusing on the Moeller stroke

One of the ways we can really level up our drumming is with dynamics.

Normally we think about dynamics between sections: the chorus is louder than the verse and the bridge is more intense than the chorus. Understanding that and controlling it is very important, especially in a worship context. But great drummers go beyond that and focus on inter dynamics.

Inter Dynamics

Inter dynamic refers to how loud each part of the drum kit is within a single groove. There might be certain pieces of the kit that stand out at different times. Ghost notes vary in volume. You might accent one beat of the hi-hat. Inter dynamics go beyond loud and soft and hit everywhere in between.

Two for One

The Moeller stroke allows us to hit the hi-hat twice in one motion creating two distinct sounds. I think of it as stealing one for free. You land the shoulder of your drum stick on the side of the hat and then strike the tip on the top of the hat on your way back up using a whipping motion with your wrist.

Practicing the Moeller Stroke

I find that focusing on the downstroke is the best way to start. Let gravity do the work for you on the beat and then start adding the tip on the offbeat–don’t overthink it, just focus on the downbeat. Exaggerate the motion at first and then tighten it up as you get more comfortable. 

Once you’ve got the feel of that, add a simple beat with kick on 1 and 3 and snare on 2 and 4 taking care to keep your shoulder/tip strikes consistent. Once you’ve mastered that, start varying the kick and snare all the while keeping your hi hats consistent. It can be challenging at first so take it nice and slow, and build your speed up.

In the video, I give you a number of different grooves to help you practice and develop your technique. The more tools we have, the more we have to bring to the band.

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