Thought #3 on music practice

Let me share another small thought on my journey at the drumset.

Preparing drum rudiments infographic

I am following Drumeo’s blog with avid interest and am very glad to Jared and its team for the free lessons from so many different drummers. Today I picked a one-hour long lesson on a topic I was not especially interested in, but as my habit, I watched it anyway (with the same spirit that I taste new food and read books – how I can decide beforehand that they are not interesting?). I noticed myself moving the focus on the content of the lesson to the way the drummer-lecturer talked, played, answered questions. I had a great hour watching that man totally at ease, shining with calm happiness.

After that lesson I played a bit on my exercise pad, not very much, but I have been more focused on my movements than other days, especially while playing a special metronome exercise that lets the metronome play for two bars, then keeps it silent for two bars, then play again. The difficulty is to keep the time when the metronome is silent, and land on the first beat of the metronome when it starts again. I noticed that if I took care of keeping the amplitude of movements regular, I was also able to meet accurately the metronome when it came back. That was the key. There is little contribution from any mental skill, just a round movement, that I calibrate when the metronome ticks. Of course the difficulty of the exercise can pose a challenge, therefore practice on the movement is required. But yes! What a change of perspective. I wasn’t often told that the movement generates the time/speed of a piece – or maybe I wasn’t able to understand, at that time.

So my focus now is to get that fluency in my movements. It derives that other things are less important. Playing at concerts, for example. There will be more about that on a future post.

 

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Thought #2 on music practice

In my first post about my comeback to drumset there were more questions than answers. Today I watched a great lesson from Daniel Glass about history of drum kit independence, made available for free by Drumeo. Daniel goes through the history of American popular music, and explains how to make good use all this heritage in your own drumming (this is a minimalist summary. The lesson deserves to be watched fully and even more than once). And not last, he gives a glimpse of what an amazing drummer he is! Do watch and listen his solo at the end of the lesson (1:12:34):

I especially appreciated how clearly he explained how round,uninterrupted movements generate good music. The preparation of a note is even more important than the downward movement that hits the drum, which should happen by gravity as consequence of an appropriate lifting of the hand or foot. It sounds weird in words, especially in my words; but I understood what made me feel so tired after that first drum session. I didn’t know how to prepare the movements (or I forgot; some were my routine exercises long ago), so I had to adjust and compensate every gesture in order to make all notes at the right time. There was no flow, and a lot of unnecessary tension.

Now I got it! One more idea has been brought from unawareness to awareness. I realised once more how much my left-brain needs an explanation for itself before allowing the right-brain to play. It got a very good one, after which I enthusiastically thought: “Wow! That’s how I would like to play!” – something that I haven’t said for long time. I have been impressed and a little scared of how good other musicians were; but I couldn’t see how they arrived to such greatness, so I had no idea what to do myself, I felt bad, and turned to other more reassuring things. Now, with the help of my teacher and of lessons like this one, my priority is to find the key that makes an exercise alive.

As usual, I look forward for your own “a-ha!” moments about music! Do use comments and links to your own blogs. Happy drumming 🙂