Showing posts from December, 2016

Learn to Take the Bad With the Good

I'm sure we've all had those moments, the moments when we've played 8 beats, or even a whole song/composition, that sounds amazing, wonderful, beautiful. And that moment is transformative, because it feels so good . And we sit back later, going, “Oh, that was great!” But then we look at the rest of our playing and start feeling terrible, because we see those moments as some sort of black hole that we seem to exist in: “If only I could play great all of the time…” Playing great is, well, great. Playing great is, well, great. But it's not everything. Yes, we should all strive to play the best we can, to make the best sounds, keep the best time, and just be the best we are capable of—but that can cause us to lose sight of the music. After all, we are here for the music. We are here to create something that comes together and becomes music. And sometimes music, and our performance of it, is less than great. But that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile.  Just th

The Art of Listening VS Hearing

When you are practicing or performing, are you just hearing the notes? Is your mind just taking stock of the events happening: “I hit the snare. I hit the cymbal.” This is all well and good, but it says nothing about the quality of the notes being played. Is your whole performance a veritable shopping list of all the notes you played? If it is, that's what it probably sounds like: a list. This especially happens if you are playing off of sheet music. You start the piece and your brain mentally catalogs all the notes played. When you finish, you can say, “There, I played all the notes!” But is that enough? You hear, but are you listening? It's one thing to make a sound —anyone can do that on percussion! It's a completely different thing to make a quality sound , and even more so to string multiple sounds together in a way that makes music. The Infinite Monkey Theorem The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter ke

I'm Not Your Time Keeper

Today's post reaches a sort of milestone: this is 'Percussion Deconstruction™' #250! When I started writing this blog back in March, 2011, I never imagined I'd still be here nearly 6 years later having written so much. I want to thank readers  both  old and new, especially anyone who has been here since my first few posts, for reading all my words over these years. Here's to the next 250! I'm Not Your Time Keeper Contrary to popular opinion, the drummer is NOT the time keeper of the band. Everyone is . That's right, everyone keeps the time. For all musicians to rely on someone else to provide the time is a very foolish idea. Yet I'm surprised at all the times when someone else in a band I was in, relied on me to be their guide, providing some sort of time measurement (as in the metronome beat), and also some sort of guide as to where they were within the song (as in the song structure of verse/chorus/bridge).  How can people play music without

The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth

I could easily just post this video and leave it at that. (You may have to scroll down a bit. Look for the video with Linda Perry): Here's the transcript of what singer/guitarist/producer Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes) says about what happened while producing a recording session: “One day I had (Cheap Trick guitarist) Rick Neilson in here, and he picked up this guitar that had just, that same day, that same set up, I couldn’t get a guitar tone from, because of the player. Right? I was just like, “what is wrong?” And I’d go play it and I’m like, “it sounds awesome…(she hesitates, like ‘it’s awesome but lacks something') I don’t get it. I don’t understand. And then the guy I’m recording in the band, just like, “I don’t understand,” and then we’re done, and then Rick Neilson came over and I had the same set up. He picked it up, and I’m just like putting record on, and he’s playing this guitar, and it was like,