344 – [Daniel Glass Show]: For Right-Handed Drummers Only!

In this session Daniel lays out the interesting perspective of  a left-handed drummer in a right-handed world. The title focuses on right-handed drummers, because most lefties are probably already aware of the points being made. The phrase “For Right-Handed Drummers Only!” also has a dual meaning, because it serves as a signpost in the life of a lefty – a constant reminder that the world is not exactly designed for them.

What’s covered in this session:

  • Daniel discusses the experience, some might say the “plight,” of the misunderstood minority known as the left-handed drummer.
  • Why bother talking about this issue? Some choose right and some choose left. But for lefties, the difference IS kind of a big deal, because it affects them all the time, and often not in very positive ways.
  • Three categories in which the world reacts to left-handed drummers: confusion or shock, undue admiration, and annoyance.
  • The various ways in which left-handed drummers experience “discrimination” on a regular basis.
  • Advice for drum teachers whose students might be lefty.

Resources/Links/People Mentioned:

2 replies
  1. Andrew Ross
    Andrew Ross says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I’m a leftie but set up right. I am a professional musician who has returned to the drums after many years of being a dabbler. I am a songwriter/producer. My main instruments are winds and piano. For my studio and work, I was in need of real drums as a core part of my organarium.

    So, I have been learning to lead with my right hand and I have to admit that, although the process has been long and difficult, it has yielded so much useful facility and flexibility. Not only on drums but piano as well. It is my belief that EVERY exercise practised should be mastered twice. Once on the right and the other on the left. You mentioned dance in another blog re; pulse; well, this is a core practice regime for dancers. In dance, if you can’t do the left expression as well as the right, you need more practice (and, of course, visa versa).

    I am pretty confident with my left doing the leading but the constant practice that a right handed kit imposes on a leftie has positively altered and balanced my whole “schtick”, excuse the pun. It’s funny, my feet don’t seem to be an issue with the crossover to “rightness”, its the hands that really present a constant habitual challenge.

    I am considering a setup that reflects this idea of mirroring, e.g. putting a second snare/drum on the other side of the hats or maybe even mounting a lower tom to the left of the rack 1.

    If you are a leftie piano/keyboard player, the benefits of learning right handed drumming are, dare I say it, essential. As a piano player leading right is a given. Unless you make a new left-handed instrument. There’s an interesting anecdote, I’m not sure of its veracity, that Joe Zawinul experimented with a leftie keyboard. His idea was that it might help to free him from his habitual improvisational and muscle memorised cliches.

    Developing the ability to lead with both hands is precious jewel for me to attain. I highly recommend this practice philosophy to anyone, right or left. The advantage lefties have is that the necessities of a right-handed world impose their mirror image on us. Sadly, for righties, they have no motivation like this. There is always a silver lining to discrimination. Africans in the US continue to demonstrate it in their music.

    All the best,

    Andrew Ross

    • Daniel Glass
      Daniel Glass says:

      Hi Andrew!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I agree 100% with all of your observations, and agree that the “discrimation” experienced by Lefties forces us to respond in ways that make us stronger. I love the “silver lining” remark and analogy with African-Americans. Keep listening – and thanks again for your comments. Daniel

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