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Summer Strategies

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The vast majority of students will find their primary musical activities taking place at home this summer. If you are having trouble feeling inspired and/or motivated, here is a quick list of suggestions for summer projects. This list is definitely drums and percussion oriented although many of the general concepts here can certainly be applied to other instruments.

We will explore these concepts much further in my class on Thursday, June 25th at 4pm EST. The class will be posted on YouTube.

1) Brush up on fundamentals - Rudiments and Scales!!!


2) Learn new drum set styles

Use this Vic Firth/Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials Poster to get started. Expand outward into "Groove Essentials" by Tommy Igoe.
https://vicfirth.zildjian.com/education/groove-essentials.html


3) Continue your work in Stick Control by George Lawrence Stone or work out of any book in the Simon Boyar Drum School suggested library:

Accents and Rebounds by George Lawrence Stone
Syncopation by Ted Reed
Advanced Techniq…

Shellacked - Drums vs Mallets

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Listen to Shellacked HERE

A substantial part of my career has been lived out as a mallet player but at my core I'm a drummer. It's how I got started and basically what got me interested in music. For years I didn't even know how to read in treble clef and some of my most important mentors worked with me prior to my even touching any of the mallet instruments. Due to the playing opportunities available growing up. I began studying classical music and it wasn't until then that I really picked up and pursued mallets. This culminated with my attending Juilliard Pre-College in high school and ultimately The Juilliard School itself in college. Although upon graduation I continued working in the classical music world both as a soloist and a section percussionist, in many ways I shifted back to my roots. It didn't happen all at once. It happened in phases but today I don't even view myself as a mallet centric musician. However, I don't really think of myself as a d…

Pound The Ground Blues

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Watch Pound The Ground Blues on YouTube! 

Language

This is a basic blues in Bb. Nothing fancy although I would argue that in giving it a voice I stretch out quite a bit on the vibraphone. Even so I'll always be a classically trained player and former drum corps fanatic so playing clean (even while playing dirty) is important to me. Musically it has everything to do with communication. I always want to push my ideas through in a clear and concise way. Dirty is good but I want to be clear about the fact that it's dirty. On and on we go in the labyrinth that is my mind.

Lessons

I learned something important in making this song. It hits at something that's been dogging my composition for awhile. At first I couldn't get it to happen. I then put on a drum shuffle loop and it really grounded me. I often use loops as tools. I both make my own and sometimes even use the Logic loops. I realize that for many of my colleagues this is taboo but I disagree. Many artists across styles …

Sad World - Fight Another Day

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As I sit here listening to this I know that once again when it comes to my own music I've lost all objectivity. However, I can tell you this. I put this tune together during a very sad time for America and the world. Just look at the date on this post. There are no coincidences.

Listen to "Sad World - Fight Another Day" here

The Tune

It's basically a sad progression with a guitar influenced vibes riff that sort of rolls along using a similar drum beat to another track I made Sign Off (this beat just keeps coming out). However, it eventually deviates. The vocal transformer or chipmunk voice sounded and felt right. I must have been remembering Battles and channeling my inner Frank Zappa. Speaking of Zappa check out his basic business philosophy here. Pretty much sums up how I feel about so many things. Anyway... the sad progression transitions into a more energetic Brazilian-fusion section of sorts and then it just ends. I could definitely see all of this turning into a…

Collaborating and Building Community

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This is part 3 of 3 in my series focused on the new paradigm in music education.

Check out the entire class on YouTube!

Check out part 1 here

Check out part 2 here

Hope for the best but move forward with the spirit of innovation and the attitude of adaptability. Waiting things out is not a strategy. 

Things are changing. If you've taken on the challenge of continuing your learning during this time, you are now experiencing true success. This will be something that you carry with you for the rest of your life. Adaptation is changing this business. Adaptation will change your business. You will never be the same.

If you're not onboard yet it's not too late. It's never too late but it's always a choice. If you make the choice to proceed despite the circumstances you will find that what you learn will make you a much better musician. The students presenting in this class are living proof of that. The Simon Boyar School of Drums and Percussion is living proof of that.

Last…

3 Tracks

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This will be a short post. I'm writing music again and I posted three tracks as a sort of warm up routine. I will share some thoughts and quick observations. When dealing with my music I'm going to be as honest as possible. As I mentioned this turned out to be a warm up routine so I don't want to dwell on these projects. Just post and move on.

I must admit that despite a good deal of experience I'm a bit rusty. With that said, it was so much fun doing this again and now I'm definitely ready to do more. Everyone has to break (or re-break) the ice now and again.

Opening

Listen to "Opening" here

This one is the probably the best one although part of that has to do with this being the only one of the 3 that is properly mixed and mastered. I put it together awhile back for a promo video we made. I never really brought it to light as it's own track. Here it is. Very nice use of marimba delay and forward moving drums. Forward moving was the whole point.

Sign O…

Learning Through Content Creation

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This is part 2 of 3 in my series focused on the new paradigm in music education.

Check out the entire class on YouTube!

Check out part 1 here

Hope for the best but move forward with the spirit of innovation and the attitude of adaptability. Waiting things out is not a strategy. 

I believe in leveraging technology. It's always been a huge part of my business. I've also worked as a producer and I've been interested and engaged in music production for years both through my own projects as a writer/composer and student projects as well. As a result, content creation has always been a part of my skill set. Prior to COVID-19, my studio was so busy that I would constantly wish I had more time for content creation. Now with my entire studio online, these skills have dramatically come into use more than ever before and as a result students are flourishing. I would argue that this is yet another example of a prior trend being accelerated that is now here to stay.

What is Content Creati…