Monday, October 25, 2021
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band - Stoner Hill (Live on KEXP)
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Camera Pigeons at the Jazz Bistro!
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
Why bother hiring a teacher?
Since I am currently looking for and accepting new students, I thought I would share what I feel are the most important reasons for taking private drum lessons.
1. We are all self-taught, and none of us are self-taught.
It's easy to get into the romance of being "self-taught" and worrying that a teacher will destroy our individualism. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good teacher will direct you towards concepts and ideas you wouldn't have dreamed of, yet at the same time, it's still the student who is doing the work and deciding how to apply these discoveries. All the teacher is doing is saving you from wasting valuable time. Speaking of which……
2. A good teacher will help you avoid bad technical habits.
A instructor worth their salt will help you play in the most natural and relaxed way you can. If you start playing the drums this way, you won't have anything to "undo" later on.
3. A teacher can help you get the most out of your practice time.
Working with your teacher, you can prioritize what you work on in each practice session, and for how long.
4. There are many styles and types of teachers to choose from.
There are so many people out there playing and teaching the drums, that you are bound to find the one that focuses on what you want to learn. Be prepared to shop around and don't hesitate to ask questions of a potential instructor. Even personality and communication style can be a factor, so don't just go with the first ad you see, or who charges the least.
In closing, Tony Williams studied with Alan Dawson. But so did Vinnie Colaiuta, Cifford Jarvis, and Gerry Hemingway. None of these great player sound like Dawson, or each other! So, find a great teacher and get cracking!
Friday, October 15, 2021
Lifting solos and the DeJohnette Lick
I frequently work with a fantastic world class pianist. As he is also very interested in the drums and has been practicing them, we share a lot of common ground, although my relationship with both instruments would be the inverse of his. One day he invited me to hear his Jack DeJohnette "lick' and then proceeded to splash the hi-hat cymbal once with his left foot! :) Not a particularly difficult physical move, but very evocative of a lot of Jack's playing.
This reminded me of my own struggles to lift ideas from recordings and play them on piano. At this point, I really have no hope of playing solos from many of the pianists I love ( Chick Corea, Red Garland, Bill Evans, Hampton Hawes, etc.) because I just don't have much technical ability. So, I tend to lift horn player's solos. These solos are often too difficult as well, but I often find a short idea or 2 that I can use. I have frequently found vocabulary from altoist Jackie McLean and Trumpeter Blue Mitchell, for example. Are these streams of fast double time 8th notes? Nope, not by a long shot. What I can gather usually, is short melodic and rhythmic fragments, and then apply them to as many chords/tunes as I can. These little melodic gems have helped my soloing immensely, and frequently help me from getting "stuck" in a tune.
What does this have to do with playing drums? Plenty, I think. Both of the examples I've mentioned here help prove that when learning another artist's vocabulary, you don't have to learn the most difficult stuff (at first) or tons of material. First learning about Jazz and learning a Tony Williams solo? Learn what's manageable, to start. Yes, it's great to learn whole solos to learn about motivic development etc., but just get started with anything. I guarantee it will help you.
Now go splash that hi-hat, and thank Jack while you're at it!
Monday, October 11, 2021
Open for Business!
Have you ever dreamed about playing drums? Are you transfixed at concerts by the musician in the back creating rhythm with two pieces of wood? Do your ears perk up to the sound patterns of rain, your washing machine or windshield wipers? If so, you are a drummer in hiding and it's time to stop dreaming and start drumming.
With over 35 years' experience as a professional musician and private teacher, I can help you enliven your passion for music and drums. I offer personalized lessons for teens and adults at all levels and aim to bring out your unique expression.
In-person private lessons are held at Royal City Studios in Guelph — a professional, clean and COVID-safe environment. Online sessions are also available. If you're serious about being playful, send me an email to book a free consult to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving
This weekend I am reflecting on many things I am thankful for. Family, friends and all the great musicians who have inspired me!
Here's a quick thing I was fooling around with the other day. It's just the first half of a paradiddle (RLRR) but the L is a dead stroke which sets up the last 2 Rs to be stick shots. I then add one bass drum stroke to make in a 5 beat thing. I play it here while singing "A Train" although it's hard to hear, and switch the idea to triplets in the bridge. Also note, that even though the switch back to 8th notes in the last A isn't super smooth, I kept my place in the tune, which is definitely more important…….
Have a great holiday everyone……...