Extras: My Last Lesson with Henery Adler

My Last Lesson with Henry Adler

These pictures where taken in 2004 while visiting the 89 year old Henry Adler in Dunedin Florida. After he had approved the Buddy Rich snare drum book revision, he wanted me to pay him a visit, "to show me something." The last time I had a lesson with Henry was 1969.

I flew to Tampa Florida, hailed a taxi that, after reaching Henry's town of Dunedin, the driver could not figure out the street address. The cabby stopped at a gas station for directions. A nice gentleman over heard his conversation and offered to take me to his address in his old 1970s Ford pick up. I paid the taxi driver and was off.

As we arrived at Henry's house, he was standing in his front yard to greet me. After greeting him, Henry walked over to the pick up and asked the driver when he would be back to take me home! As always, Henry was looking after his student.

Once inside Henry's home, he picked up a pair of sticks, looked at me and said, "You use light sticks, don't you?" I assured him I did. He turned his wrists, looked at me again and said, "This is what I wanted to show you." The lesson was over, although I stayed and we "chatted" a while.

The most time consuming part of having the revision approved, was depicting how the sticks are held and the how wrists turn. This was most important to the integrity of the Rich-Adler method. Henry was very sure of his method of teaching. He had been teaching it since 1942 the year Buddy Rich's Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments was first published.

Whenever I teach it, I repeat what Henry Adler said to me as I watched him turn his wrists for the last time, "this is why Buddy could play so fast!"


"I've been working on [the] technique. I have gained control and speed already. My wrists are starting to open up more, speed comes with less effort." --Andrew Campbell

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