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Showing posts from November, 2016

Moving Beyond Technique

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As drummers, if we've studied at all, we've most likely worked with such classic books as, Stick Control, Accents & Rebounds, Syncopation, and other timeless books. Even after years of both practicing and performing, we may still be working out of those same books. Great books never really end, we just keep working at playing them better.




But playing better should only be one part of our approach. I'm the first to admit that I'm a perfectionist. I will work on things over and over (and over) until they are, at least in my mind, as close to perfect as possible. But along the way, I learned that it's important not to get hung up on perfection. I'm not saying don't strive for it, but just don't get so hung up on it that it becomes a block to moving forward with your music.

For some of us, it's easy to keep going, keep perfecting, chasing that imaginary goal of absolute perfection. But the price to that can often be losing the humanity of your playing…

Further Thoughts on Recording

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The question was asked, “What's the best way to get prepared for recording in the studio?” The easiest answer is, “Learn how to record things yourself!”

Seriously. We live in a wonderful age. If you own an Apple product, you probably have Garage Band included with it for free. Not bad. For under $500, you can add a recording interface, like the ZOOM U44, pick up 2 decent mics, and whatever cords you need. Then you can go on the internet and find all sorts of articles and videos on how to record.

Garage Band - free with Apple products
ZOOM U44 - under $200

RODE M5 mics - under $200

No matter what OS you use, there are many free or inexpensive recording programs to get you started. Often you can get a free lite version of some recording software included with a recording interface.

The next step is to record yourself, record your band, record your friends. Try different mic set ups, different rooms, different mic distances, etc. Just like learning to play your instrument, you need to prac…

The Art of Trusting Your Work

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For me, I can’t separate art from life, because my art is my life. And I always find it interesting when my inner monologue has a discussion about something I’m doing. One side is conservative and says, “You might not want to go that far, because people won’t get it, or understand it.” The other side says, “Go for it! This is who you really are.” And so it goes.
I sometimes get the feeling that outsiders think I’m not doing anything, because they don’t see any outward action going on. But what they fail to realize is that so much is happening inside, in my head. A lot of times when I’m working on something, I plant the seed and then step back a bit to let it germinate and start to grow. Then I care and nurture it. And this may take hours/days/weeks/months, even years—sometimes things need space more than anything else. But I’m always working, because my brain rarely stops. 



The result of this is that when something happens and comes together, it really comes together, often in larger an…

Making Career Decisions

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Life as an artist in any capacity is really a life of decisions. There are the every moment decisions: what step/color/sound do I take next? My recent blog series on concept/gesture/texture took a close look at those types of decisions that I take every day as a percussionist. But there are also a series of bigger decisions that affect the direction, or arc, of our life long career: what direction do I go in? Which group do I join? How much time do I devote to this? What is my ultimate goal/s?




Career type decisions are often deciding to be a jazz musician, or a classical musician, or a pop/rock musician. What direction do I go in? Or you can decide to be all of them. For many of us, life is a filter and things change throughout our careers. When were are young, energetic, and hungry for experience, we often take every gig imaginable, in all styles, and in every type of venue. In fact, this is advisable, as experience is the best teacher, and by trying new and different things, we may s…