My drum student William earned this today with the North Toronto C. I. Percussion Ensemble. . Way-da-go Will. Hard work wins every time. And, daily practice of our rudiments.
Practice Tip: The power of exploration
Students who practice, diligently practice the “notes,” struggle with rhythm and continuity trying to get it “right.” This is all important. But I’d like to add a new idea.
A short story in which I’m the hero. I’m learning to play the jazz xylophone. I started at Christmas; I practice every day. I’ve got a 100-year-old textbook, a stack of tunes I want to learn, video recorder and oodles of desire. Here is the process I usually follow.
Level 1: Fun is guaranteed. Just show up and play your part. Playing in a community concert band or playing at the family Christmas party would be in this camp. On the lesson front, level 1, is leisurely and steady. Ten thousand hours spread over decades.
Level 2: You are going to perspire. Lessons are intense. You audition to play in community groups. Your rock band plays in pubs at open mic sessions. Your concert band has professional guests performing. Standards are enforced. Lessons require an hour a day or more of preparation. Think of it as a marathon level of commitment.
Level 3 is going to hurt, tears will be shed. But, you are all in. Your daily focus is drumming. You have multiple lines of attack. You put yourself out there. You are preparing to be an Olympian. Many dream, few make it. But this doesn't deter you. Large amount of time and money is spent.
Weekend athletic parallels
1. Weekend running group
2. Marathon preparation
3. You might die.
Let me know where you stand.
Preparing to succeed is the first step. Here are some things you can do to prepare for starting online drum lessons.
1. Understanding how to use Zoom. Setting up the camera so that I can see your hands and you can see me as well. Most students set up the laptop on a table to the high-hat side of the drum set.
2. You need to create a realistic schedule for practicing. This may take longer than you realise. But with realistic thinking it is possible.
3. Organize your drum space for productive work.
4. Fully understand the costs involved.
5. Tell all your significant others of your plans so that they can support you.
6. You will need to lean on your strengths when the going gets tough and life gets in the way. I'm a learner too, you can ask me how I organize my learning.
Here's to learning.
What an inspiring night of dance and music. From mallets to drum kit, contemporary music to ragtime. Mallets and tom in the World Premiere of "Skyward" by Alysa Pires. We heard the music of Nico Muhly, Honstein, Dessner, and Lang.
In "Elite Syncopations" 40 minutes of Ragtime music, played at danceable tiempi instead of the usual frantic pace.
I'm inspired. Off to hit the drum pads and my trusty xylophone.
Concert attendance is one of the main ways I stay inspired as a musician and teacher. If your inspiration is lagging a little bit, buy a concert ticket and sit up close. It might be just the ticket.
How long does it usually take to prepare for a class when we focus on the task at hand? A student with a history of unpreparedness showed up today all prepared. I asked her, "how long did it take to prepare to this level?"
“Not very long” We both started laughing. Procrastination often takes up more time than the time needed for the task.
If I can help you learn to practice effectively, call me.
Jazz Workshop Day
Playing with other musicians is the only way to learn to play in time, balance your instruments, build endurance, and hone your musicianship. And importantly, meet other students on the same journey.
The jazz drummers and pianists of my studio meet today for a workshop. Everyone has prepared a piece to play with the trio. Then we have a community jam/workshop in the 2nd half of the event.
Music is going to be made.
If you like to join us, call me.
Why use a metronome?
How to use the metronome.
If I can help you learn to count, call me.
At aged 50 I took up the drums in a meaningful way. Back in high school I banged about in band class annoyingly and halfheartedly. The highlight of my high school drum career was playing bass drum in the pep band. BOOM BOOM BOOM!
I met Collin for our first drum class. He gets me going. I'm pumped. I thump out my old disco beat from 1977. Thirty seconds in I realize this is going to be more challenging than I thought. He was kind.
I believed that 35 years as a professional musician would make it easier. Nope.
Twelve years later my quest for drumming mastery has taken me to New Orleans 2X, Louisville 5X, Poland 1X, Rome Italy 1X, and Toronto Canada. I've had the pleasure of studying with some of the most distinguished drum teachers available. Terry Clarke, Greg Hutchinson, Paul DeLong, Ali Jackson and many more who have encouraged me, inspired me, instructed me, criticized me and occasionally scolded me. It was thrilling.
I now own too many drumsets, cymbals, snares drums, and drum books. I play in too many bands. There is no cure.
If you would like some help starting your journey, call me.
David Story, drummer, pianist, qualified online music teacher