Good to see that Louie Bellson is on the mend. This guy is a big reason we study jazz today. He really did a lot for drumming, jazz music, and musicianship in general. Here’s to many more years!
The drummer’s number one enemy when grooving isn’t an inability to keep time (though that’s a big one too)… it’s the itch. It’s the feeling you get to break out (musically) when you are locked in the pocket. It’s like the musical equivalent of claustrophobia. Staying in a groove can make your musical universe seem very small. So you leave the pocket to come up for air… deep breath… and then you’re back in again. You did it even if the music would have been better served if you had just stayed in the pocket. Just like with an itch, scratching isn’t good for you but it satiates the itch for that instant that you give in… then it’s back again. Read more
On the Creative Coordination DVD, Thomas Lang states that Independence and Interdependence are both different states of mind. And after considering and pondering what he said for a couple of minutes, I came to agree. If you think about it, the only difference between interdependence and independence is how you view what you’re playing. If you view what each limb is doing as a separate rhythm, that’s independence. if you view each limb as playing a part of a larger rhythm, that’s interdependence. Read more
Here’s a little food for thought next time you sit down to practice.
Drummers are often guilty of growing their kit instead of growing themselves, and I’m as guilty as anyone else. We often try and open new doors (musically) by adding something to the kit. New ride, new hats, cowbells, shakers, special effects crashes, and octobans. in the hopes that one of these new additions will spark a new creative streak, I think we actually are doing ourselves harm. We’re trying to medicate an internal problem with stuff, and it doesn’t work. You’ll feel better for a little while but after that you’ll be in the same place but with a shiny new toy that might have cost a small fortune. I challenge you to do the unthinkable. I challenge you to shrink your kit. Read more
Athletes call it “The Zone,” Billy Ward calls it “Playing with the Creative Side of the Brain,” and samurais call it “Mushin” which loosely means “mind of no mind.” If your brain is a band (metaphorically) then Mushin is when the improvisation guy gets to take a solo. Every one shuts up and he does his thang. There’s no miscellaneous thoughts to impede improv guy from expressing himself. It’s just him, the music, and the instrument. Read more
One of the things that is so attractive about music and being a musician is the freedom. You create without fear of being told “that’s wrong.” Music is subjective, it isn’t right or wrong it just is what it is. Depending on what choices you make your music might be praised or reviled but those are just the opinions of other people. So many times when someone tries to make a comment, constructive criticism or a flat out admonishment… we get defensive. This is why internet flame wars between fans of different bands get so out of control. There is no right or wrong, there is just a bunch of people clubbing each-other over the head with their opinions. Read more
This week we discuss the role of the percussionist in musical theater, and also we cover the double stroke roll as the Rudiment of the Week!