Showing posts from December, 2014

How Can I Find A Teacher I Trust?

Here we are at the end of 2014, looking ahead to a fresh new year. I'd like to thank everyone who has visited my blogs and supported my writing this past year. At this time many people make resolutions, or plans for the coming new year. From questions I receive, many people are looking to study their instruments more and advance their skills. So at this time spanning the changing year, I will post a few blogs about finding a teacher, and also about self study. The big question: How can I Find a teacher, especially one I trust? The following ideas can apply to finding a teacher for anything—music instruction, Yoga, meditation, arts, crafts, writing, cooking, etc. Yes, there are plenty of stories of pushy, driven teachers pushing and driving their students to excel, but those tend to be more stories than anything. If you like to get yelled at and abused, well, maybe that will work for you. Each of us is different, so no teacher can work for every type of learner. I'm not s

Finding Your Own Sound (Look Inside, Not Outside)

In further response to my last blog post, let's look at some specific drummer examples: A lot of drummers rave about Elvin Jones', or Tony Williams', cymbals sound. The amazing thing is, neither of them played just one set of cymbals their whole career long. In fact, there is plenty of documentation of the myriad of cymbals each drummer used. The same with drums. Each drummer had more than one drum set, and even changed drum brands multiple times during their careers. They also went through various types and brands of drum heads, yet they always sounded like Elvin and Tony. Even when they played rental kits of drums and cymbals they had never played before, they still sounded like Elvin and Tony. Buddy Rich played Rogers, Slingerland, Ludwig—even Trixon—yet he always sounded like Buddy. Think about this! My friend, Devin Drobka. He makes beautiful music no matter what he plays on… I could make a list pages long of drummers in all styles of music, who sound like t

Letting Go And Forgetting

Practice, practice, practice. Practice has a purpose, but sometimes we forget it. Why should/do we spend hours and hours going through books, playing rudiments and exercises, and woodshedding things? The reason is 2-fold: We want to internalize everything so that it becomes a reflex, it becomes natural to do without having to think about doing it. We want our motions to become muscle memories so that we don't have to think about doing something, we just do it, because our muscles know what to do. So we practice, practice, practice, spending hours and hours working on the same things until we get them down. But when we perform, it has to be different than a practice. When we perform we have to forget everything we practiced. Forget and just play. The last thing we want is to sound like we are going through exercises. So we have to get out of our way, let go, and just play, letting all the hard work we have internalized flow through us. That's why it's called p