"Techniques, Motions and Applications for Bass Drum Playing"
Artist biography Sanford A. Moeller
"The scholarly drummer is a student of eurhythmics."
- Sanford A. Moeller
Sanford "Gus" Moeller was first and foremost a rudimental drummer and was definitely a 20th century bridge to the 'ancients'. Be that as it may, it is common knowledge that Moeller was chiefly responsible for helping to produce the great early jazz drummers, such as the famous "Sing, Sing, Sing" soloist, Gene Krupa. This is proof that much of the so-called 'Moeller method' can be easily translated to non-rudimental venues (to include the various styles and grips used by well-known players of the drum set).
During the 1920s and 30s, individuals, such as Sanford Moeller, were the ones who had the 'knowledge'. There were other drummers out there, certainly, but most did not really know the concept 'practice your rudiments'! They obviously performed that way, too.
Sanford Moeller thoroughly studied the 'Camp Duty' literature (US Army), because he loved how these drum beatings could show off the advanced expertise of a drummer. Moeller believed that if anyone could expertly play the Camp Duty, they should be considered accomplished at the instrument. Examples of those drum beatings, are 'Three Camps', 'The Quick Scotch', 'Dinner Call', the classic 'Downfall of Paris' - to name a few.
From history, it is known that in the 1920s, Sanford Moeller was very vocal and critical of what he saw. Rudimental shortcuts and unbalanced stickings were turning out weaker (less accomplished) drummers, in his view. Also, making use of the authentic traditional grips were being ignored.
Moeller was not part of the original 'twenty-six rudiments club', but he definitely supported learning rudiments. His book preceded NARD's foundation by several years! To Moeller, studying rudiments was the very basis needed to build a proficient drummer.
The historic group (just mentioned above) was made up of a number of well established drummers who possessed excellent technical skills. With the help of William F. Ludwig among others, the group encouraged younger players to improve themselves by following a practice method that included mastering a list of twenty-six rudiments. Learning the 'thirteen essential drum rudiments' was the first step.
That elite group founded the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD).
Today, with the advent of PAS (Percussive Arts Society) and DCI (Drum Corps International), all parts of the US are populated with drummers who have excellent technical skills. Also, now-a-days, there exists many more variations and combinations of drum rudiments... different permutations of those age-old, basic, elemental strokes and studies.
Moeller's book "The Art of Snare Drumming", was published in 1925 and reprinted in June 1950 by Leedy and Ludwig (followed by - 1956 Copyright assigned to Ludwig Drum Co., followed by - 1982 Copyright assigned to Ludwig Music Publishing Co).
There was a time when this self-teaching method was one of the 'necessary three' authors, that serious players would examine. Half a century ago, techniques from Sanford A. Moeller (The Moeller Book), George Lawrence Stone (Stick Control ) and Jim Chapinm's Independence book for Jazz and Be-Bop Drumming were the accepted building blocks that helped to create the trained, advanced jazz drummers & rudimental drummers of the day.
For many years, Jim Chapin has been recommending to drummers that they can definitely learn from Moeller's lessons. Chapin was a Moeller pupil for a time and studied with him. Both Jim Chapin and Mike Michalkow have both released instructional dvd's that teach this method/technique.