Friday, April 15, 2011

Brush doubles, kids these days, and Mr. Wooten's book

A while ago a fellow teacher asked me which way I make circles when I play brushes, circling in (R.H. clockwise, L.H. counter clockwise) or circling out (hands opposite) and I realized by this point I did this both ways. I think if you want to be a serious brush player, this is worth pursuing.
Circling out sort of pushes the sound out whereas the other way pulls the sound in and they feel quite different. Also, and I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating, the more repertoire of motion we have on the brushes, the more flexibility we will have to create. I've enclosed a couple of exercises to help us work on going between the two directions.

I recently heard some younger people play and has a couple of impressions I'd like to share.
I think sometimes we are led to believe that it's very important to be different. Being original is very important but that has to be leavened with taste and judgment. I remember often trying to do things to show how hip I was (no H.H. on 2 &4 ever, unusual sound source choices, going against the grain of forms, never playing downbeats, etc.). That's all well and good but often when I listened back, it sounded like crap. Why? Because I often had no reason to do these things, other than my own ego, I hadn't done the listening research to know when to do these things and how to do them effectively, and finally many basic elements (my own sound, time, sense of taste) were not strong enough. Keeping these things in mind is an important part of maturing as a musician.

I got a great book by Victor Wooten on the recommendation of George Colligan. It's called The Music Lesson.

I'm only halfway through it but I already feel like a better musician (and person) for having done so. It's really brilliant. Definitely worth checking out.

Thanks. That's it for today. Ta!

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