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Watch the Half Stroke online guitar lesson by Danny Gottlieb from Master Class Drum Lessons

The Half Stroke is made by starting the stroke from a 6" or 9" level above the drum, and is used to maintain a consistent dynamic (from half of the distance of the full stroke) as well as develop your reflexes. As with the FULL Stroke, make sure that both hands are relaxed. The motion is made by starting at the "6 or 9" level, with no preparatory upstroke. You only think "down", and then accept the rebound, and allow the stick to come back to the starting level. As Joe Morello states, "It's like bouncing a ball". If the sticks are pitched the same, and you start at exactly the same distance from the drum, the dynamic sound from both hands should be very similar. Of course, if you play traditional grip, and hold one hand with a traditional grip, and the other with matched, there might be a slight sound difference that can be adjusted as you practice. By starting at the same level, the sound should be almost identical from one hand to the other.

Major Points:
1. Start 6" or 9" above the drum, half the distance between your full range of motion (Full Stroke)
2. No preparatory upstroke
3. Think "down" and allow the stick to rebound to the starting level

Practice Exercises:

The first four exercises are similar to those in the Full Stroke section, although these are played at half the dynamic level (and have no accents marked). The other exercises provide additional practice in the development of a consistent and even half stroke.

1. Exercises 1-8 should be practiced until mastered.
2. Exercises 9-12 are Joe's "Stone Killer". He suggests practicing each exercise 50 times.
3. Exercise 13 consists four combinations back to back to be used in developing even strokes and a consistent sound from each hand.

Study Tips
1. Watch your hand position in a mirror, making sure both hands start at the same level
2. Make sure you do not raise the stick before starting your downward motion
3. Practice slowly at first, make sure all strokes are even, and that the FORM is correct
4. Use a metronome, and keep a record of your practice time and tempos
5. Practice the exercises until they can be played with an even sound and control at all tempos