LouisvilleDrummer.com http://www.louisvilledrummer.com Drumming Education & Resources for Every Musician Sun, 05 Jan 2014 04:44:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 PASIC 2013 – Thoughts from a first-timer http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/pasic-2013-thoughts-from-a-first-timer/ Sun, 29 Dec 2013 01:18:44 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2957 by Stephanie Mobley

PASIC2013LogosIn a nutshell, PASIC 2013 was a celebration of creativity and invention. As a first time attendee, I was truly amazed by  the intense dedication and warm camaraderie shown within the percussion community. Professors and performers alike had a great appreciation and admiration for students. Practically, everyone I met encouraged, challenged, and spurred me on in my own drumming adventure.

A session of percussive manifestos kicked off day one calling musicians from all shapes and sizes to revitalize curriculums and create a progressive percussive culture. This was a refreshing call for myself. As a classically trained musician, it was refreshing to hear the panelists speak with great respect and admiration to the excellent repertoire of ages past, yet stoke a fire for new music, new instruments, new representations of today’s society.

That afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting in a clinic with Ralph Humphrey, who currently performs for the hit TV show, Dancing with the Stars. Ralph spoke extensively on the value of practicing. He repeatedly stated that you can’t be thinking about stickings, techniques, and dynamics when you’re performing. All of those things need to be refined during practice times. Otherwise, the ability to respond and communicate musically in a performance will greatly suffer. It’s not possible to be a part of the music if you’re constantly distracted with playing fundamentals. This was excellent words of wisdom and gave me a good perspective of why it is important to practice. It also mentally prepared me for the next performer…

Ever since I was ten, when I heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I immediately sang along with lead singer, Anthony Keadis. That was until I saw drummer Chad Smith play that evening. His approach to playing  was pure, raw, passionate drumming. In so many respects, he threw caution to the wind and played without restraint or inhibition, yet with such skill and impeccable rhythm that this guy knew exactly what he was doing.  As he finished up his clinic he left me with some good words of wisdom. He said that we all need to just play! Stop the excuses and play! As a student of drumming that often gets caught up in the anxieties of playing, I appreciated the candid advice not to lose sight of one crucial element of being a musician… playing music.

Day two started off with a session from sociologist – er, I mean – world music drummer Scott Kettner. (This man was groundbreaking to me.) Truly a sociologist at heart in my opinion, he immersed himself into the Macatu culture of Brazil for several years. He must’ve been Macatu in a previous life. Thanks to five years of Latin, I was able to understand at least some of the cultural words he used to illustrate the Macatu religion, ceremonies, and societal structure and drumming rhythms. It was truly amazing listening to him merge these two independent drumming worlds of the Macatu and the modern drum kit into one timeless groove.

All that took place just before Jason Bittner, drummer for Shadow’s Fall & Anthrax, who melted my ears Thursday evening. He left me in the dust. For the love of milk, my brain struggled to comprehend what rhythms he played! I tried not to blink for fear I might miss something. He was very clever and very fast; the roadrunner of metal drumming.

Much later that night, Mike Mainieri’s  haunting vibraphone rendition of Norah Jones “Don’t Know Why”  chilled me to the bones. Melody effortlessly poured from this man’s compositions of exquisite color as he floated above the keys. His playing was so filled with emotion and truly one of the highlight of the convention for me.

His comrades-in-arms that evening were soultry sax crooner, Rob Dixon, with killer bass lines from Brandon Meeks, hand drum stylings of Aaron Serfaty, mad keys from Steve Allee, and the solid core of Peter Erskine.

Peter Erskine played Friday night with incredible sensitivity and skill. His effortless communication with his bandmates amazed me; as well as, the amount of fun this man was having. He didn’t stop smiling the whole time. He was one of the most joyful musician I have ever seen.

On Saturday night Wilco drummer, Glenn Kotche, entranced the entire audience. His playing was hypnotic. I was quickly lured into the amazing compositions that emanated from his drum set, which looked like the work of a  mad scientist’s laboratory. I heard sounds and musical concoctions that I didn’t even know existed. Glenn’s piece of advice to beginners was to practice and play as much as possible, and to grow “big ears”.  He encouraged us that time practicing tympani, marimba, and other percussion instruments all contribute to developing as well-rounded drummers. After experiencing Glen’s clinic, I’ve decided to become soak up everything and anything I hear; to really internalize, think, dream, articulate, and communicate sounds into endless possibilities. This could be the start of something big in my own musical journey as a drummer and percussionist.

Thanks to PASIC 2013, my drumming world just got really huge. I’m extremely thankful for master artists who stretch our ear drums and imaginations towards greater heights. The event is an excellent display of percussion from all music genres. I return home embracing a new ambition to overcome my musical obstacles, and to pursue a new vision of growing as a drummer and percussionist.

 

]]>
Meinl releases Mike Johnston Signature Cymbal – The Transition Ride http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/meinl-releases-mike-johnston-signature-cymbal-the-transition-ride/ Mon, 16 Dec 2013 13:20:34 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2953 Transition Ride

 

From the manufacturer:

New in Meinl’s Byzance Extra Dry Series is the 21” Transition Ride, Mike Johnston’s signature cymbal.

Both Mike’s and Meinl’s goal was to create a cymbal that can effortlessly transition from articulate sticking to a wide open and tonally fuller crash-ride function (and back) while never losing the stick definition. The result is a multi-puprose ride cymbal with a versatile sound.

Watch Mike Johnston’s official video for the Transition Ride here:

]]>
Press Release: Porter & Davies Sign Jojo Mayer http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/press-release-porter-davies-sign-jojo-mayer/ Thu, 03 Oct 2013 15:05:21 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2925 Jojo_Mayer_GigsterPress Release From Manufacturer:

Porter & Davies are delighted to announce that drumming guru, Jojo Mayer, has just become the latest endorsee of the BC Gigster, the revolutionary drum monitoring system.

For years Jojo Mayer has astounded audiences with his unique combination of searing technique and musical innovation. He is regarded by many as a bass drum pioneer, famous for his ability to play the rhythms of programmed drum ‘n’ bass music on acoustic drums – something he calls reverse engineering! He is renowned for playing beats at astonishing speeds using heel-toe bass drum technique and the Moeller stroke.

Talking about his recent use of the BC Gigster during some recording sessions Jojo commented that it had ‘added to the low end of my kit and opened up a lot of space and room to my bass drum playing. It compensated for the environment I was playing in, providing a more relaxed feel of the drums. It inspired me to perform with more dynamic and better placement of the bass drum, I can’t wait to take it out on the road.’

The highly portable BC Gigster drum-monitoring systems convert signals from a bass drum microphone (or toms/snare/bass guitar/electronic drum kit) into physical sound, which the drummer feels and hears internally through a patented drum throne. To quote Jojo ‘careful, it may be addictive!’

To find out more about the BC2, BC2rm and BC Gigster as well as all the Porter & Davies endorsees visit www.porteranddavies.co.uk.

]]>
MD Product Close-up: Dixon Artisan Select Drumset http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/md-product-close-up-dixon-artisan-select-drumset/ Thu, 28 Feb 2013 13:40:32 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2834 I recently had the privilege of reviewing a beautiful four piece Waterfall Bubinga Drumset for Modern Drummer Magazine.  The drumset is one of the many options available through the Artisan Select Series, by Dixon Drums and Hardware.  You can watch my close-up of the series below, and read a small excerpt from the article HERE.

Be sure to pick up the April issue of Modern Drummer Magazine for a complete look at the Product Close-Up!

Click here to view the embedded video.

]]>
Updated book from Modern Drummer – Progressive Independence: Rock http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/updated-book-from-modern-drummer-progressive-independence-rock/ Sat, 09 Feb 2013 16:36:15 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2825 Modern Drummer Magazine has recently updated several books in their catalog to include CD’s with audio examples of many of the exercises.  Among the books that were updated was Ron Spagnardi’s Progressive Independence: Rock.  I recently had the privilege of working with Modern Drummer Magazine to create a promotional video for the updated book which can be seen below.  I hope you all enjoy this short promo video.  Please feel free to share it if you know anyone that is interested in studying Rock independence.

Visit ModernDrummer.com/books to check out this book and many more.

Click here to view the embedded video.

]]>
WFD the Game Contest Winners http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/wfd-the-game-contest-winners/ Wed, 05 Dec 2012 20:39:43 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2820 We would like to thank everyone that participated in our recent contest, and are very pleased to announce the winners.

Congratulations to the following winners!

  • Robert Klieger – Prize level 1
  • Aaron Apaza – Prize level 2
  • Andrew Michael – Prize level 3
  • Stéphane David – Prize level 4
  • Marcus Whitfield – Prize level 5

This contest would not have been possible without the wonderful support of Modern Drummer Magazine, Dixon Drums and Hardware, BOSO Drumsticks, and World’s Fastest Drummer Organization.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
How to play up-tempo jazz without getting tired, by Joe La Barbera http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/how-to-play-up-tempo-jazz-without-getting-tired-by-joe-la-barbera/ Wed, 14 Nov 2012 03:29:25 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2760 One of the most often asked questions I get at clinics is how to play fast tempos without tiring. To be able to play ANY tempo well, we have to make sure that a few things are correctly in place first.

The drum set is unique in that it is a collection of individual percussion instruments that must achieve a unified voice.  It’s like a combo with four musicians; it has to sound unified, not scattered or disconnected. If one member of the band is out of sync, the whole band sounds bad; this same principle applies to our time feel.

The first thing we must master at the drums is that all four limbs are unified by a common pulse or beat. We also have to make sure that there is a sonic balance among all four limbs. By balance, I do not mean equal volume.  Today, most drummers prefer the ride cymbal to be more dominant than the bass drum but this was not always the case. In the Swing era, the bass drum was played much louder. Use your best judgment or ask your teacher for advice or just listen to your favorite drummer to get a better idea.

Set your metronome to a comfortable quarter note pulse, somewhere between 100-120.  If this is too fast for you, slow it down as needed.

1.) Now start with the ride cymbal playing quarter notes to match the click from the metronome.

2.) Once this is feeling good, add hi hat on 2 and 4 and make sure they line up with the metronome. I strongly recommend heel down with on the hi hat pedal but you may prefer heel up. Try both ways.

With just these two parts of the kit, we should be able to generate a good time feel.

3.) Next add a slight accent on 2 and 4 on your ride cymbal by raising your arm up after beats 1 and 3 in preparation for the strokes on 2 and 4. Think Moeller: upstroke after 1/downstroke on 2/upstroke after  3/downstroke on 4. (See photos 1 and 2). Your right elbow should move slightly away from your torso as you prepare for the downstrokes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) We can now add the “skip” beat or dotted 8th/16th note feel to beats 2 and 4. Again, make sure the ride cymbal and the hi hat line up with the metronome click.

5.) Next we can add the bass drum playing a feathered (quiet) four to the bar or “four on the floor”. This technique is often misunderstood as being old fashioned but Alan Dawson straightened me out on it back in 1966 when, as a student of his, I had the same misconception about its use. The idea is to underscore the pulse played by the bass, not cover it up. It is essential in big band drumming but also very effective at certain tempos in small group drumming as well.  When Alan told me that Tony Williams used this technique, which he learned from Max Roach, I was sold. However, as the tempo increases, you can change the 4 beat bass drum to syncopated beats.

We now have 3 separate limbs working together on the same common beat and we should be trying to make the metronome “swing”. This “swing” feel is achieved by finding a balance between the mechanical click of the metronome and where you place your beat. You have probably heard the terms “on the center of the beat, on top of the beat and in back of or behind the beat”.  The center of the beat means right on the click so that the click practically disappears. On top of the beat would be slightly ahead of the click but not rushing (bassist Ray Brown was a very good example of this feel). Back of the beat is slightly behind the click without slowing down (The feeling of the Count Basie Band best exemplifies this feeling). When you are comfortable with the center of the beat, experiment with the metronome by laying back a bit so that it feels like the metronome is pulling you along; then try getting on top of the metronome so that you are pulling it along. Hopefully, this will help you to understand these different time feels.

Once we have these 3 limbs happening, we can add some easy comps from the snare drum. Try the upbeat or “and” of 1 at first then add the upbeat of 3 as well. Experiment with the left hand by playing all the available beats in a measure of 4/4, one beat at a time. There are many books that deal with the subject of coordinated independence at the drums so choose the one you like and practice with the metronome.

O.K., so now back to the issue of playing up tempo (fast) without tiring. One major reason I have discovered over the years for fatigue is a lack of relaxation when playing. You may have seen some drummers who look like they are working very hard when they play fast while others achieve the same thing seemingly effortlessly.  One thing that has served me well over the years is the ability to stay relaxed at the drums. A very famous jazz pianist once described me as looking like a Gazelle when I play because of the motion in my arms!

While playing the previously outlined exercises, tune in to your body starting with your neck and shoulders. Ask yourself, “Do I feel tight in the shoulders? Do I feel tight in the arms or the wrists”? This relaxation should start at the neck and shoulders and continue to the tips of your fingers. This does not mean a loose grip or sloppy technique, but a controlled motion. Again, think Moeller in approach. The motion in your arms will assist you.

At slower tempos, the arm motion(upstroke/downstroke) is more exaggerated; as the tempo increases the motion condenses (gets smaller) but is still present and generated from the shoulders down to the fingers. The idea is to create a momentum that helps the arm achieve a perpetual motion.

Check out this video of Tony Williams on You Tube and watch his right arm flow. Most of the time he is altering the ride pattern but his motion is a very good example of what I am describing.

Click here to view the embedded video.

What I sometimes see from students is a locked arm position in both hands, but particularly the ride cymbal arm which then requires the wrist to work harder while playing time. (Photo 3)

It is possible to play this way, of course and many drummers do.  For many of us, this would not be much of a problem at a medium tempo, but as we get faster it can be.

 

Compare the 2 approaches for yourself and decide if it is easier with a little more motion in the arm.

Now comes the hard part: you have to practice!

You should practice with a metronome but I also highly recommend playing along with recordings as I did as a kid.  Pick a track that is around half note=90 and should be at least 7-10 minutes in length. As your ability improves, you can find tracks that are faster. Pay attention to how the drummer on the track you are playing along with interacts with the rest of the band and learn from this as well.

Remember to check your relaxation along the way because it is very easy to revert back to old habits. Take your time each step of the way to achieve full benefit from each step.

Hopefully, this will help you to be able to play faster tempos for longer periods of time without feeling tired.

]]>
How to play drums – Mozambique http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/how-to-play-drums-mozambique/ Fri, 09 Nov 2012 06:21:18 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2774 The Mozambique drumset groove is perfect for drummers of all skill levels.  Entry level drummers should take this opportunity to work on independence and feel, while more advanced players can start to add variations to the bass drum pattern along with numerous other embellishments.  Be sure to take this groove slow, learn each part individually, and make sure you understand how each parts works together. Enjoy!

Free Instructional Drum Video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

]]>
“WFD The Game” Contest Promo Video http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/wfd-the-game-contest-promo-video/ Mon, 05 Nov 2012 14:18:00 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2752 Check out our promotional video for the exclusive “WFD The Game” contest.  In this video you will learn how to be eligible to win one of five prize packages for the contest and get to see LouisvilleDrummer.com creator Miguel Monroy jump out of a speeding car, work on a tractor, and get blown up by a missile.  Enjoy!

Click here to view the embedded video.

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL CONTEST PAGE!

]]>
WFD The Game Contest http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/wfd-the-game-contest/ Thu, 01 Nov 2012 03:37:39 +0000 http://www.louisvilledrummer.com/?p=2700

 In celebration of National Drum Month…

LouisvilleDrummer.com is pleased to announce our collaboration with World’s Fastest Drummer to bring you

“WFD The Game Contest.”

For the entire month of November gamers from all over the world will be competing for a chance to win one of five prizes packages.  All five prize levels include a shirt, sticks, stickers, and two dvd’s!  The top three participants will also have a chance to win a Dixon Bass Drum Pedal, a Vintage Collectors Dromometor with Offical Pad, or a One Year Subscription to Modern Drummer Magazine!

Click here to watch the promo video!

How to Play 

  1. Subscribe to LouisvilleDrummer.com by email to be eligible to win!
  2. Download WFD the game for iOS or Android
    1. iTunes
    2. Amazon
    3. Google Play
    4. Nook
  3. Play WFD the game in Pro mode!
  4. Email your name and high score screen shot* to LouisvilleDrummer@gmail.com
  5. The top five scores will be selected for prizes listed bellow**

Prizes

Prize Level 1

Prize Level 2

  • WFD Vintage Collectors Drumometer w/Official Pad
  • WFD Shirt
  • WFD Drum Sticks
  • WFD Stickers
  • WFD The First Ten Years Documentary (DVD)
  • Johnny Rabb “30 Days to Better Hands” (DVD)
  • LouisvilleDrummer.com Bumper Stickers

Prize Level 3

  • 1 Year Subscription to Modern Drummer Magazine (U.S. Residents Only)
  • WFD Shirt
  • WFD Drum Sticks
  • WFD Stickers
  • WFD The First Ten Years Documentary (DVD)
  • Johnny Rabb “30 Days to Better Hands” (DVD)
  • LouisvilleDrummer.com Bumper Stickers

Prize Level 4

  • 1 Brick of BOSO 100% Bamboo Drumsticks
  • WFD Shirt
  • WFD Drum Sticks
  • WFD Stickers
  • WFD The First Ten Years Documentary (DVD)
  • Johnny Rabb “30 Days to Better Hands” (DVD)
  • LouisvilleDrummer.com Bumper Stickers

Prize Level 5

  • WFD Shirt
  • WFD Drum Sticks
  • WFD Stickers
  • WFD The First Ten Years Documentary (DVD)
  • Johnny Rabb “30 Days to Better Hands” (DVD)
  • LouisvilleDrummer.com Bumper Stickers

Sponsors

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

*To take a screen shot on apple devices simply press and hold the power and home buttons.  Read this article for suggestions on how to take a screen shot of an android device.

**High scores may need to be verified by WFD or LouisvilleDrummer.com.  A video of your phone with the high score may be requested to authenticate score.

]]>