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Showing posts from April, 2016

Taking Lessons From A Non-Drummer

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Lessons. Many of us have studied with private teachers, whether in school, or on our own. As drummers/percussionists, we may have studied drum set, marimba, timpani, etc. with another drummer/percussionist. Our lessons were probably filled with rudiments, scales, and rhythm. I'm all for that. I think studying can only help us to improve our musicianship. In fact, many professional/famous drummers continue to study with a teacher. Oftentimes this sort of older student/teacher relationship is more that of a mentor, or coach. But it is still studying to improve yourself.

Studying with a fellow drummer/percussionist is great and can really help us get our technique and all the little details nailed down, but it can also be a bit myopic. That's where studying with someone who doesn't play drums can really help us. All that drumming stuff we like to obsess over is great, but when you have to play in a band and react to what other instruments are doing, that stuff doesn't matt…

In Praise of Discipline 2

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Like many musicians, I practice yoga. I realize that I'll never be like those people in the glossy magazines and websites, all sleek and twisted like pretzels. But that's not the point for me. I do yoga for me. Besides the obvious physical effects, I find it's great for my focus and concentration. But most of all, it's time for me, time well spent to be me and take care of me.


Very pretty, but this is not Yoga to me…
As a percussionist, it's important to me to be both strong and flexible. I'm really not a runner, or a weight lifter, so yoga fits the bill. As a percussionist, I'm much like a dancer: I'm on the floor, I'm on my knees, I'm standing, I'm moving between my instruments. I spend a lot of time holding my hands and arms up in the air, often over my head. So I need to be in good shape.


practice |ˈpraktəs|
verb [ withobj. ] (Brit. practise)1 perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve ormaintain …

Artistry in Rhythm

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Rhythm. It's in our bones. It's in our soul. It is such a deep part of each of us. It is a primal force that takes us back to our very beginnings.

rhythm |ˈriT͟Həm| nouna strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound: Ruth listened to the rhythm ofhisbreathing.• the systematic arrangement of musical sounds, principally according to duration and periodic stress.

Rhythm. I've always felt it, but I've always felt it a little differently than others (which has caused some confusion in the past). While most people seem to feel it as “the systematic arrangement of musical sound,” I tend to feel it as waves of energy. To me, rhythm is more circular (actually spherical would be more like it, as in 360°) than linear. Most people feel it as linear, with one beat after the next, moving in a straight line. For me, the lines are circular and radiate out from a center point, moving in many directions at once. There may be beat, or pulse; or there may not. I see it more as an …

In Praise Of Discipline

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discipline |ˈdisəplin| noun1 the practiceof training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience: a lack of proper parental and school discipline.• the controlled behavior resulting from discipline: he was able to maintain discipline among his men.• activity or experience that provides mental or physical training: the tariqa offered spiritual discipline | Kung fu is a discipline open to old and young.• a system of rules of conduct: he doesn't have to submit to normal disciplines.Discipline. The word often brings up thoughts of sacrifice and loss. Think of practicing your instrument. You can spend a lot of time practicing, but you sacrifice and lose the opportunity to do other things. Who really wants to be in their studio working on new music when it's a beautiful, sunny, 72º day outside? You tell yourself, “I need to be disciplined and practice anyway,” almost as if it's a punishment.

But discipline, despite the official definition,…