Term 2 Week 8: My Band is Back

March 5th, 2011

The rock band I play in was back in practice this week, it felt good to get back rehearsing again :D One of the lessons I learned is that you can't really take a break from playing in a band. When we played last time we had really started to play tighter. This week it was a bit rough but the new singer and guitarist are great.

I'm also trying a new practice preparation regime for the end of term solo performance. I've identified the areas to practice and given myself 30 mins a day on each working on the exercises we have to perform. But this time I've tried to find technical exercises to help which relate to the grooves or rudiments that we have to perform. For example, we have to do a rolling triplet shuffle, like in Rozanne by Toto, so I will just be working on the hand parts, trying to get good separation between the left and right. The problem is to play the hats while keeping the patten swinging and not straightening up.

I'm also trying to get to feel and control the separation in the hands and feet. There are times when I'm starting to feel it better. We have to perform 3 separate grooves using time system 3. This is where you play the accent on the off beat with the high hat patten. I've been using the groove sheet which I worked on last year with Pat. This provides a series of grooves where the placement of the bass drum is moved on a 16th note each time. This seems to have really helped me get the grooves together for my solo performance as they are coming on well.

My essays are nearly complete with the first drafts done. I just need revisions done and to get someone to read over them.

Next week is revision week and usually goes quite quickly and then its the end of term.:) Then I'm off to Calgary for 5 weeks :D

Term 2 week 7: The More I Learn the Less I Know

February 23rd, 2011

It seems that the more I learn the less I know. I seem to be a place where I'm learning but find it difficult to see where I am going.

Confidence is still a factor and is primarily about my ability to get it right, although the Inner Game of Music has made me think about my confidence in a practical way. I haven't read it this week as I've been busy. I know I'm getting better.

I've not been able to get a band to audition for the end of term gigs which is a real bummer. It's a shame as I recorded Ramon and I during a practice, and I think its the some of the best playing of music I've ever done! There's always next term, let me know what you think.

At the end the week Ramon and I headed up to Wembley to see the Foo Fighters play the NME Awards gig - we won the tickets at a draw at BIMM. It was amazing :D Taylor Hawkins is a inspiring drummer. We had to do this exercise in class a couple of weeks back - single stoke 16th note around the kit at speed - Taylor Hawkins did something similar and didn't miss a hit, cool B)

Foo Fighters

Term 2 Week 6: An Ounce of Performance is Worth Pounds of Promises

February 19th, 2011

It's the start of essay and audition season, again! It's coming around so quickly.

I've been reviewing and researching how musicians use social media for my music business essay. And I've been trying to get a band together to perform Red Morning Light by the Kings of Leon for the Band Audition in two weeks time.

It is a lot harder to get musicians from college to play than I ever thought - I'm not sure why |-|. A number of people expressed an interested but some let us down at the last minute. My thanks must go to my house mate Ramon who I asked to do the vocals. This week we went to the rehearsal studio to go over the track. The other guitarists could not make make it but we went over the structure and had a really interesting time playing around with different time signatures which was cool! The most amazing thing was that I understood how it all worked.

I'm looking forward to applying this to playing Hanging on the Telephone by Blondie next week in class.

I've really been trying to get better at voicing rhythms and trying to understand how this works. I do feel a bit stupid but I think it is starting to come together. I'm not sure if I am using the right sounds but it works for me :D

Also this week I tried practicing by putting my iPod on random and just drumming along which which ever track came up. Someone from my class suggested this the other week, and I must say it was fun if not a bit random going from AC/DC to John Coltrane.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been practicing on Jazz brushes. Here I am figuring it out....

Term 2 Week 5: Self-Critisism Should be a Casual Conversation

February 12th, 2011

This is half way through the year. B)

I was pleased with my playing in class this week, mistakes were made lessons were learned and confidence grew. So one cannot complain to much. I was pleased that I played in class but realized that I can be to self critical. My friend Chris told me that with things like self criticism it is a balance between being to hard on yourself therefore holding you back and being to easy that it won't drive you forward.

We stared Rhythm class with Andy Nixon this week. The first lesson was just talking but it was very inspiring. It was similar to last year but I am not the same drummer that I was when I did this class last year. It is a shame that Jazz has finished :( I need to think of a way that I can keep learning jazz so I think I'll rework previous lesson material for the rest of this year and seek a way of playing some more when I leave BIMM - some how.

The band that I am in is having a break due to illness but hopeful will be practicing again soon. I've found that playing with the band has really helped improve a number of things for me. I can play faster. An example of this is that I had a look at the faster rock drum groove from Groove Essentials by Tommy Igoe which I have not looked at for some time. I was surprised to find that I was able to play the simple rock track at speed:!: I'm not sure what my speed increase is down to, but I have been doing constant single stroke exercises each day and increasing the tempo every couple of weeks. Also having to learn fast songs which we play in the band has also helped. I am really please with this. I just need to be tighter with my playing at speed as it is a little on the edge :)

Term 2 Week 4: Rhythm Devine

February 5th, 2011

In class this week we looked at the Mozambique drum pattern. Pat asked us if we could understand the rhythm? Well I can work out the counting but I am having real difficulty seeing a pattern and then understand how that sounds. I have struggled with this for ages. It came up in my solo performance last term and I have been trying to voice the patterns/rhythm but I am finding this to be frustrating. I have got an app for my iPhone to see if this can help - Dr Rhythm - it allows you to hear and see the rhythm of written music by tapping in the music.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr-rhythm/id411299032?mt=8

We also had to perform out Jazz solo in class this week. I was not able to relax sufficiently to allow myself to get into the track and perform it the way I have practiced and wanted. Although in the end the last part started to come together, but ultimately it was disappointing performance. There were some really great performances and I was really impressed but classmate Kieran, who performed a piece with brushes, which has inspired me to really practice with these at least once a week.

I am trying learn 20th Century Boy by T-Rex for next weeks LPW as I would like to play this track. Although I am having problems getting the off-beat bass drum pattern up to speed. I play this track with my band but I do a different pattern in the chorus which may not be acceptable for LPW.