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Showing posts from September, 2018

The Importance of Ear Protection

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WHAT??? WHAT DID YOU SAY???

I grew up in an era of huge amplifier stacks sitting on either side of the drum kit. When sitting at the kit, these amps were at my ear level. And they were loud! This was also the era when decent sound systems and miking individual instruments was just starting to happen. Otherwise, as a drummer, you had to play LOUDLY to be heard above the stacks of speakers and amps. And no one ever thought about all this volume and how it would affect their hearing over time.

Fast forward to today. I had a hearing test recently and found that surprisingly my hearing is normal for a person my age. Both ears are considerably flat in all frequency ranges until you hit the highs, where there is a steep roll off. 

I'm lucky. A lot of big name rock musicians (and not so big name) who are in their 60's and above have severe hearing loss. My hearing is good, but I do have tinnitus, which is a high pitch ringing/squeal in my ears. And it's always there—24/7/365. 

I can n…

The Importance of Clarity in Your Sound

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As a percussionist, it's so easy just to hit things, to create a rhythm, and all without any consideration for the actual sound we are making. As much care as we give to the rhythms we make, we need to give that same care to the sounds we make. 



If we just play without clean and musical sounds, the rhythms we produce can be muddy and indiscriminate. While there are times we may want dirty and messy sounds, in my experience, most times clear and focused sounds are what is needed.

“My assignment is to furnish the essence of the sound material in the best condition to the listener or space. While focusing on this endeavour, I transcend my sense of self. In my own way, I create sounds, and by myself, I emit them. It’s that simple. So to speak, it’s like living off the land.” Japanese Percussionist, Midori Takada
Clear sounds can get our musical message across better. Clear sounds also work well with each other, especially during dense or fast passages where clarity is needed. But above a…

Have A Life Away From The Drums

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How often have you heard some musician, especially a college music major, brag about all the time they spend practicing: “I usually practice 6-8 hours a day. I get up, have some coffee, then jump right on the marimba/drum set/timpani/etc.” Even professional musicians with established careers will talk about the hours of practice they still put in. 

I'm all for practice and improving my skills, but there's a limit to how much time practicing can actually be productive. One problem that being in a practice studio so much causes is, isolation. You become that person who is rarely seen, the hermit musician. But it also goes the other way, in that you rarely see anyone else. And seeing your barista or the pizza guy everyday does not really count as human contact.

Your practice room can become a prison cell if you let it.
Another thing is that you miss the world around you, all the things happening right outside your studio door. Isolation may help you to focus, but it's a very myo…