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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Myth of Karaoke Drumming Videos

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From the file of Things You Will Never Hear:

"Hey, didn't I see your cover video of you drumming to the new Maroon 5 song on YouTube?""Yeah, that's me.""Dude, that was awesome! I want to hire you for my world tour and new recording!"
YouTube cover videos, or Karaoke drumming, has become a big thing. Or so it seems. I must admit that I just don't get the 'Drum Cover' karaoke video thing. If I want to see someone play a TOOL song on a video, I want to see Danny Carey. If I want to see someone play a RUSH song, I want to see Neil Peart. It all seems more like a sport than music, with people sharing videos back and forth, like moves in a game. 
Now before you go thinking I'm some sort of crotchety old guy, when I was younger, I jammed along to recordings. I did it all the time. But it was a learning thing, and I didn't really want anyone else to hear it. Today, YouTube is inundated with karaoke drumming videos. And FaceBook is full of…

The Myth of Drum Tab

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Have you ever used Drum TAB notation? Do you use it because you feel it's easier to read than traditional notation, which would take a lot of time to learn? Well, I'm going to show you how all of this is just a myth.

I've had students bring in drum TAB charts they downloaded from the web. They've asked me to help them figure it out. The 1st thing I do is get out a pencil and start drawing some lines. Let me show you.

Example #1 is a typical drum TAB part. I found this on the web here, in an article entitled, Reading Drum Tabs 101. Please take the time to read the short article. I'd like to quote the final paragraph:


So, by looking at the drum tab and seeing to the left what drum or cymbal to strike, seeing the symbols on the staff telling you how to strike, and looking at the top for where in the beat the strike should fall, you can translate what you are reading to what you are playing, or vice versa. It really is quite simple reading drum tabs.
Here's example #1:




The Importance of Studying Music

How much studying us enough? When do you know enough that you don't have to learn anymore?

The simple answer is, you can never learn everything. But you can always learn more.

When I started drums back in middle school, I took lessons from my band directors. When I got to high school, I took private lessons and studied with the band director. When I went to University, I studied with various professors and instructors. So I was always studying drums and music. But after University, I kept studying on my own. I bought a lot of books and worked out of them. I listened to countless recordings and transcribed the drum parts. I wrote my own music to play, and played in numerous bands in every style of music.

And this has been the story all these years. I've never stopped studying and learning percussion. I still listen to lots of music and drummers. Still transcribe things, and I write about percussion. Since my University days, I've also taught drums & percussion. And this ha…

The Importance of Drum Tuning

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Despite technology and modern inventions, this is the only tool you need to tune your drums:




Really. This is all you need (besides your ears and your touch, which you have built in.)
There is no magic or secret to drum tuning, other than just paying attention. Like most things, it's an acquired skill. You need to practice it. You need to tune a lot of drums. Just like you need to lift a lot of weights, throw a lot of balls, run a lot of miles, before you can get good at it.
The internet is a great help. You can find a lot of information on drum tuning (some of it contradictory), and all the head manufacturers have a lot of info on their websites. So this gives you a place to start.
Just grab your key and start turning some lug screws on 1 drum, like your high tom. Ask yourself things like, "What if I turn each screw up twice on the top head, what will that do to the sound?" Then try it. Listen. Play that drum for a while so you can get a feel for how it sounds. Then do it ag…

The Importance of Responsibility - Part 2

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Ok, here's the report on tonight's improvising. I've posted a 10 minute excerpt from the nearly 30 minute set below. I tried to pick out different moods/atmospheres/etc. to represent what went down. I played in a trio with 2 people I never met before, or never even heard before. So this was definitely a 1st meeting:

Julianne Frey - voiceBarry Paul Clark - Bass & ElectronicsMichael Bettine - Gongs, hand drums, percussion.
The recording was made with my recorder placed on the floor, just to the right of me, and aimed more across the stage in order to try and get a decent mix. Since the voice was slightly in front of me, and going through the sound system, it's a bit low in the mix. But you get the idea of what was going on.


Tonight's condensed set up: 4 Gongs, Tar, Doumbek, small cymbals… 

…Small Muted Gongs and various mallets.

You can here excerpts from the performance here:
'Unrehearsed' short edit

The session involved a lot of listening, as I often wanted to…

The Importance of Responsibility - Part 1

Before

I'm writing this on Friday, with an improvised gig scheduled for Sunday. I've been invited to play as part of a monthly series called, Unrehearsed. I had expressed my interest months ago when I saw a call for musicians. The e-mail invite amused me, as part of it said, 


Things are TOTALLY improvised (hence the name Unrehearsed.) I'm not sure if you've experienced one of these performances before, but they are really exciting and alive and a lot of fun to take part in.
Improvisation, it's one of my favorite things to do. I've been improvising for 40 years. Yeah, I've done this before, and it is "exciting and alive and fun to take part in." Obviously, the person writing the e-mail doesn't know me, but what they wrote is important, especially for those not experienced in improvising.

I'd like to add to this,


To be an improvisor, one must be responsible. And by responsible, I mean that you must be accountable for your own actions. What you pl…