Concert Programming

Concert Programming

I am always looking for ways to improve the concert-going experience. As artists, I think we need to find a better way to attract and retain an audience. We need to think about concert programming and how to put pieces together that will be interesting to the audience and help our students learn about musicality and programming. I have always disliked going to percussion concerts and/or recitals and watching percussionists move equipment in between pieces. For this reason, I generally choose to have three parts on my percussion ensemble programs with minimal (or no)...
Technology in the Modern Percussion Studio

Technology in the Modern Percussion Stud...

We are all bombarded with technology everyday. Laptops, smartphones, tablets, and recording devises have had a positive impact on the way I teach lessons. It seems like everyday there is a new app, device or service that promises to change the world. Without going into a debate about which platforms are better, I am going to detail how I use technology in my percussion studio. I hope this article will lead to a discussion about what others are using in their classroom. Obviously, this post doesn’t apply to only percussionists and it will be great to hear what other...
PASIC 2013 – Thursday Recap

PASIC 2013 – Thursday Recap

My morning started off with a visit to the exhibits. I can’t imagine a PASIC without a trip to the exhibits and the Steve Weiss booth. After a quick visit to the booths, I went to see the Michigan State Percussion Ensemble. They preformed the entire program from memory including Rain Tree and Xenakis’ Peaux. (For a complete listing of all of the College Percussion Concerts, check out the post I wrote on DrumChattr.com). After this performance I attended a Brazilian clinic by Marcos Santos and Grooversity. He introduced Brazilian rhythms to the audience in a...
PASIC 2013 – Wednesday Recap

PASIC 2013 – Wednesday Recap

It is Wednesday night and PASIC is in full swing. Today was a travel day and I arrived in Indy around 6pm. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the Technology Focus Day hosted by Blair Helsing. The evening concert featured performances by “Emerging Artists.” Some of the highlights included: Stop Speaking by Andy Akiho Performed by Gordon Hicken fzzi by Dan van Hassel Performed by Joseph van Hassel Songs I-IX by Stuart Saunders Smith Performed by Gene Koshinski Rogosanti by James Wood Performed by Garrett Mendelow The weather is extremely cold (as you...
Snare Drum Warm Ups

Snare Drum Warm Ups

As an educator and professional performer, I have noticed that over the years, my practice time has decreased for one reason or another. I have also noticed that the older I get, the harder it is for me start playing without first warming up. This summer, I decided to sit down and write out a snare drum warm ups/routine that I could do every day that would take 10-15 minutes. Today, I want to present my warm-up and talk about each exercise that comprises the warm-up. I know there are a ton of other warm-ups that have been posted and written down (see below for a brief...
Teaching Musicality to Percussionists

Teaching Musicality to Percussionists

Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why young percussionists are not being taught musicality? Why is this and how can we fix it? My wife is a flute teacher and she teaches musicality to kids in 6 grade. So why is that percussionists get to college and don’t know the basics about shaping a line? Here are some of my beliefs as to why students don’t get taught about musicality: 1) Percussionists don’t learn a mallet instrument until high school. 2) High school percussionists don’t study mallet instruments with a private teachers. 3)...
What are you listening to?

What are you listening to?

I have been wanting to compile a listening assignment for my percussion students and I decided to use Spotify so everyone would have access to it. (If you would like to check it out, click here. You have to be a registered user of Spotify, but you can sign up for free. If you are not familiar with Spotify, I would highly suggest you check it out). When choosing tracks for this playlist, I wanted to include a large variety of material. The idea for this assignment came to me when sitting in a recent master class. The guest artists were asking the audience members if they...
2012. A Reflection and Goals for 2013.

2012. A Reflection and Goals for 2013.

To say 2012 was a busy year would be an understatement. I celebrated a milestone birthday, saw the birth of Zachary Andrew (our second son) and bid farewell to my friend and mentor Michael Carney. As I wrote on my FaceBook wall, “It is very hard to say goodbye to someone who has meant so much to me and my family over the past 22 years. I was grateful I had the opportunity to study, teach, work and be around someone like Dr. Michael Carney for so many years. Being in the room today and spending time with former students and singing for Michael will be something I...
Audition Advice 102

Audition Advice 102

Last month, I wrote an article about Audition Advice. We received a lot of good feedback on the post. Be sure to check out the comments for additional tips. I am planning on releasing my tips as a PDF document in the new year. I also wanted to draw your attention to some videos on this same topic that feature professors from Indiana University. We have previously featured “Kevin Bobo explains how to “play hurt” in an audition” from a video series called “Project Jumpstart Workshop: The Art of Winning Auditions” from February 8th, 2011....
Audition Advice 101

Audition Advice 101

Auditions are just around the corner and I thought it would be a good idea to crowd source an audition advice post so that we can give some advice to incoming freshman and transfer students who will be auditioning soon. To start off the discussion, I thought I would present my observations and suggestions from past auditions and ask other teachers and percussionists to add their comments below. In a couple of weeks, I will compile all of the comments and create a master list of audition advice. Audition Advice Run your entire audition several times prior to your live...