Social Systems

October 29th, 2015

Here's a track I've done. The idea is that the Social Systems' we join either by choice or force from when we are young, are not always the right for some people. We are told to "fit in" to get along and I understand it makes for a more practical society but I come to the conclusion for me....

What will set me free.

As the streets are full of strangers

Social Systems are killing me.

Social System taking control

Shaping thoughts and dreams.

Visions of kittens are thrilling me Social Systems are killing me.


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Oh I forgot that!

September 2nd, 2015

On our recent holiday to Mykonos we forgot when this was taken.....:crazy: Times really are flying by....

I love my husband for the advantages and the adventures we have together.....

Dave in Super Paradise, Mykonos

Time flies by this up is long overdue Eh?

December 2nd, 2014

So they say time flies by this was our third summer in this house. Another summer and xmas, great ones too.

Over the summer we discover loads of new well two new places to camp in the mountains and it really was amazing, really words just does not to the natural world around here justice .

The view.....

We also discovered that camping away from the mountains in in the Badlands is not such a good idea, the chemicals burned that weekend to keep the mosquitoes way was crazy. Heres a pick that shows what I mean.


Here is JJ and Dave hanging out the window, on a drive, I am not sure who is enjoying this more between the two of them.

It was also great to get to float down the Elbow Rover again after the flood, the weather was great.


Dave and JJ

We had a lovely Holiday in Greece and stayed in some wonderful hotels.
View from our Mykonos hotel


View from our suite

So winter comes here and we go skiing, Dave's Mum came and heres a video of here trips to Sunshine. Also much luck to Judy in here move, Dublin next year then.

Erm don't be surprised when u next see me

July 7th, 2014

So this weekend it happened, what you ask, well this......

not sure what to say other than oh...thats what letters of the alphabet look like :crazy:

Longtime.....first camping trip

June 11th, 2014

Longtime.....its been a long long winter and we are finally getting out and about. Our new room mate Travis, took us last weekend to a campsite in British Columbia near the hot spring we went too a few years back.

Oh and Travis has a dog, JJ his name and he's cute.

Travis, Danny and JJ

The campsite was beautify, well out of the way and no cell signal.

The view.....

We had fun swinging into the lake... naked of course :p

Swinging in a rope into glacier fresh water

The wild life was really coming out to see us this trip we caught a glimpse of a bear cub while on the road and saw theses amazing hummingbirds.

Humming Bird

Our travels also took us to see the Woodcaver in Radium BC.

Woodcarver Radium BC

My Best music of 2013

December 27th, 2013

I have listened to some great music this year and I would just like to let you know what music I liked. Some were new albums and a few were old, so here goes...

My favourite album and possibly the best one this year is Big TV by White Lies...there are some really great grooves and melodies on this album. This is the album that just seemed right for me this year...

Miracle Mile by STRFKR is a great album and my first by them. I heard it playing in a shop and really liked what was going on with the drums, simple and clean throughout and a very danceable it!!!! My track of the year also comes from this album...Atlantis.

Daft Punk RAM...well a great deal has already been said about this album so just a note that Contact is my best track

Exile by Hurts - this was a darker album than their first which I really liked and their christmas offering last year was just great. This album is darker and more melancholy than their last album Happiness (a good second album).

Cabaret by Moon Taxi was slow to work on me but it has a really laid back style and the Square Circles track just so cool and love the lyrics.

Serena Ryder's Harmony was just a great album to start the year, the album has catchy melodies and simply crafted songs all the way through, I managed to see her play live at the Stampede this years. Stompa being a typical example...

Empire of the Sun's Ice on the Dune is a great follow up to Walking on a Dream. Dune really works as an album not just a bunch of songs but one song flows nicely into the next, like a dj mix, this album is great for the gym and bike rides in the summer :)

Muse - 2nd Law really got to me this year. It came out late in 2012 and took its time to work on me but Follow Me and Madness are great tracks.... Follow Me uses the heartbeat of baby... I tried this in a song once. I regret not going to see them live when they came to Calgary earlier in the year.

Coming late in the year and really not deserving of the lack of mainstream media hype was Boy George's This is What I Do. I cannot even buy this album/CD in Canada, :roll: I really liked this album it harks back to the simple pop, but its infused with soul, funk and reggae beats, theres nothing new or edgey, but nothing wrong with that and the lyrics are mindful for a man going into his is a good review.

The Summer 2013.

October 20th, 2013

Well summer has come and have to start with the flood...and we where right in the middle of it, we where lucky and suffered no damage, but 7 days with out electricity, cold showers put a different perspective on things..

Here's us by the over flowing river which is a few blocks from us, at the time we did not really understand how bad things TV.



We then had a few weeks with Dave's Dad and Joe for Stampede...I forgot how much I love the Stampede show and main street, especially at night.





Dave's mother came over during the summer and we went into the mountains camping and hiking.



The views are spectacular from the mountains of the Lake Louise ski resort were we all got to see a bear, in the wild which was awesome, and lunch on the balcony of the Lake Louise Fairmont an elegant way to finish a camping trip.


these next photos are of us and friends just hangout over summer as well as Keara in the gay pride parade....



Whitewater Kayaking course

July 13th, 2013

The other weekend we did a whitewater kayaking course Aquabatices,

It was fun!!, we started off on the thursday nig iin the pool over at out gym, just learning about the kayaks and getting in and out and how to turn yourself up right in the water, which is easy in the pool!

On Saturday we started at Bowness Park in Calgary,



The waters not that cold but i can tell you its a shock to go under , much nicer in the pool!


We went kayaking down the bow learn how to turn in t the flow of the water, it is very teriing, we were both in bed by nine that night....

The sunday we head in to the mountains to on to a faster running river, with rapids names like widow maker!!!

I can tell you my heart was a pumping when we first put our kayaks in the river, but the whole day was fun and challenging...



The amazing thing is by the end of the day we had kayaked down though the mountains and it was hard but fun and in the most beautiful setting.

Weekend in the Okanagan Valley

May 24th, 2013

We had a long weekend in the Okanagan Valley the other week, to visit a friend have a drive in the truck, just typical the price of gas jump twenty cents the day before the long weekend, lesson learnt. It was a long drive 7 hours. Although the views through the mountains and down in to the Okanagan valley were just amazing, we drove through Revolastoke and it was a beautiful place.

We also took in some wineries in the area which was really fun, but just being in the mountains in spring was really nice and relaxing.
Here are some pics of us and our friend, Keara and baby Fai.

Danny & Dave

Keara & Fai

Danny, Keara, Fai

Also here me drumming to Fleetwood Mac's Go Your Own Way.

Dave's Mums Visits

March 18th, 2013

Dave' Mum visited the other week for a skiing trip and to see the new house.

We headed up to Banff for a few days when she was here, the weather was really nice and spring was in the air. We stayed in Banff and went skiing at Lake Louise, check out the video Dave put together.

I have started a online course studying Music Production at Berklee College of Music. Its a 6 week course that really gets you in to the basics of music production and its been a lot of fun so far.

Our first hockey game

February 19th, 2013

The other day we went to our first hockey game, the Calgary Flames were playing Minnesota Wild at the Saddledome. We had great seats three rows from the ice. I was a bit concerned as I had been told that the games goes on for about 3 hours! There are 3 periods of 20 minutes each. As I found out the game is very fast and rough but has a lot of stops for various things like penalties and fights! Although we did not see a fight at this game :(

The Flames hockey

The Flames hockey

The Flames hockey

The Flames hockey

The other news Dave's persitant nagging has paid off and we have brought a truck!

Recently Dave's mum visited for a sking trip - we had a great couple of days skiing - here's the video of our time in Lake Louise.

New Year new skiing

January 21st, 2013

So we had a quite new years, it was bloody cold over xams and new year, It was great to be in the new house over the holidays, it was a shame that our things from the uk had still not arraived but they should be here anytime soon:) We also went skiing over the new year, which was my first time this season the snow was great. Here a video that Dave did.

for xmas, santa brought me a a diamond stud earring from tiffanies, which I have always wanted......

It's Christmas!

December 5th, 2012

Christmas eh... its been nearly a year since we got our residency and its Christmas in Calgary - Yay... and for the first time in 4 years we are able to get a real tree for the house. We wanted to get our tree from the forest. So we drove for an hour, bought a tree license, and walked off into forest to find our tree. It was really cool... the snow was deep and the sun was out...

driving into the mountians

After sometime looking for the 'right' tree, we found it......and cut it down

Dave and the xmas tree

We drove it home on the roof of the car, went to buy some baubles and lights, and decorated it...

xmas tree

Its great to have a tree again :D

A couple of other things we got up to over the summer was making our own wine using the apples from the tree in the front garden, sorting out the house, and drumming. Wine making isn't as easy as it looks but we have been able to produce a good batch ;)

collecting apples

homemade wine maiking

homemade wine

We also got a great new couch for the living room...


On the drums... I joined a Jazz Club. But they had to many drummers - so I left. I got to play a couple of times and really started to understand what was going on. So I've been practicing jazz a lot lately. I've also started teaching as a drum tutor, I've done a few lessons and the business is building.

Xmas tree and fire

Peace on earth and Happy Christmas.

Jazz and Drum Camps

August 26th, 2012

Over the last couple of weeks I have been at Mount Royal University attending couple of music camps, one a Jazz performance and the other a drum camp. Both were highly enjoyable if not a little tiring.

The jazz performance camp gave me my first opportunity to work and perform in a jazz setting, which was both scary and fun at the same time....

I learnt a lot on the jazz camp, about song forms and how jazz is performed, which has helped me understand the music a lot more. Playing with a band was every much the focus of the week and I really enjoyed this although it was a bit like being thrown in at the deep end. We were placed in an ensemble at the beginning of the week which were streamed to our ability. I learnt how important it was for me to make regular eye contact with the other musicians playing in the ensemble. In particular, I had to focus on the bass player and piano player, as we formed the rhythm section. Our tutor played the piano from time to time and this really helped as I had some difficult hearing the bass player when the ensemble were all playing together. I felt that my timing and overall feel really locked-in with them as the week progressed.

I also learnt about the musical "form" for jazz. The term “form” refers to the overall structure of a song and it describes how the song is divided into sections. Knowing a song’s form really helps to understand the way phrases are organized into larger chunks, like the verse or chorus. Letters, such as A B are commonly designate to these song forms. The A section might be the verse and the B section might be the chorus. Therefore, an AABA form would signify two verses, a chorus, and then a third verse. I was also shown a really good drumming exercise using this form structure to build drum fills and solo. If we take the form AABA and come up with sticking patten, rudiments and label one A the other B, for example A = RLL sticking, B = Flam, then the fill or solo would be RLL,RLL, Flam, RLL, you could play this on the snare for move it around the kit. You can expand this to C and D .

Another excersie worth mentioning was given to us by Mark Kelso, he called it Metronome Displacement. Ill try and explain it ! We are used to playing with the click on the down beat on the 1/4 notes, he suggested a number of variations to this , for instance try practicing with the click just playing on 2 and 4, works well for jazz, or on all the off beats. You can place the click on any variations in the sub division, the thing to remember is playing to a click where you have to feel where the 1 is and then making sure that you placement is on the part of the sub division were you have the click playing.

Busy few of weeks

August 5th, 2012

Its been a busy few weeks since I got back from the uk.

We went to see some friends for a night in Canmore and went for a small hike in the mountains around the Nordic centre in Canmore.

Lake in the mountinas

Waterfall in the mountinas

Dave on our hike

We have also had our 5th wedding anniversary and celebrated with dinner in the Calgary Tower, we just love the views from here and we can now see the back of our house:)

Our new house from the Calgary Tower

Our 5th anniversary

Nothing but Time

July 7th, 2012

Have spent a few weeks in the uk visiting family and friends, which has been really nice and its now time to get back to Calgary for the summer and sun :D

Heres me drumming along to Grease title track just before I left for the uk, I have had some really great feedback from friends on this and am really please that my drumming coming on, I think having a basement to practice in has really helped me move forward and play more musically.

I have booked myself on to a couple of summer courses at the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary in August, Jazz and Drumset camps, which I am really looking forward to these and a few floats down the Elbow this summer. Check out the links below for further info:

I'm a Professional

June 10th, 2012

I have given my first lesson and earned money from doing something that I love:)

I was surprised when someone asked me to give them a lesson but I said "sure, not a problem, why dont we have a free lesson see how it goes and we can take it from there". Well we are three weeks in and 3 lessons down.

I surprised myself by ensuring that I did a lesson plan, writing little reminders for things to look for etc.

I also enjoyed the experience and earned money. And from Daves perspective that makes me a professional... I don't feel like one yet!

I must admit though, over the last couple of months I have feel that I have really come on in leaps and bounds since my last lesson with Pat Garvey back in the UK. Focusing on having fun and learning to be musician has also helped. Being able to go down into the basement and play to anything I want, releasing myself from learning the groves, and focussing on the song instead, coming up with my own groves and fills and getting them in the right places, and feeling where a change is needed, has been eye opening for me.

I have also started using Tommy Igoe Great Hands for a life time and I must say its well worth it in my option. I the like the simplicity he brings to hands, stokes, practice. I am about 1/3 of the way through, my grip is so much better since focusing on some of the exercises he shows and I have started really looking at my double stroke... towels and pillows are the way for me over the next six months... :D


May 4th, 2012

We have finally found our home :D

Its taken a while to find, but we have finally found a new home here in calgary. The house is in the Cliff Bungalow area of Calgary. More stuff about the area can be found here...

We have managed to get another 3-storey town house, all nice and open plan and with plenty of spare beds for people to come and stay. It might take us a while to get everything sorted, like beds and blinds. The house deserves the best:roll:

Here are a few pics of the house, also we have a pair of birds nesting in the tree at the front :D





Some to be office bedroom

Front bedroom

View from our bathroom

A dream doesn't become reality through magic...

April 20th, 2012 takes sweat, determination, and hard work. You can be and do anything you want if you are prepared to work hard.

It s been a while since I got behind a kit, as I have been waiting to buy a new electronic kit. I've gone for the Yamaha DTX950K, which I am really pleased with, and I'll write a full review in a couple weeks once I have got to grips with it.

Spending time away from the kit and practicing only with a pad has been a really useful experience. Firstly, I never really got the practice pad thing, but I do now :idea: At times it can be very relaxing working on the pad, especially working on repetitive hand exercises. Really concentrating on the stroke and the drum stick movements.

Secondly, I've also found how sticking pattens unlock a number of advantages when you come to apply them on a kit. Being without a kit for over two months I've had to use my imagination when working on grooves and only having a pad has made me understand how sticking pattens help with playing the drums. It sounds stupid but the better hand I get the better at playing I get.

Which brings be back to hard work... I had a jam with a few guys the other day, really good musicians, and I wish them lots of luck. For me, I was able to learn a song only on the pad.

My goal to practice 3 hours a day this year is really good, adding a good hour or so on the pad is going to help me a seems the better I get at playing the drums the more time I spend practicing and listening.

I've been playing along to the sound track of Grease the movie... OMG, I can hear the different time signatures and the different groves and things that I would never have heard before. It's really interesting and fun, but I still have trouble getting fills and things.

So things going well all in all, and soon I will have a great place to practice in:D:D

Location, Location, Location

March 19th, 2012

Over the last couple of weeks we have been house hunting in Calgary. We have managed to secure a rental apartment in the Lower Mount Royal area, which is cool, although we had to sign a six month lease as it is difficult to get a month on month lease apartment here 88|

We have seen a lot of houses :crazy: which has helped us identify the areas which we would prefer to live in. We did find this really nice house in an area called Cliff Bungalow and another super modern house is the same area. Here's hoping we can find our way through the purchasing process!

We have been staying at our friends Brett's while we got the new rental sorted out - which is very nice of him. Thanks Brett.

We have now moved into our rental apartment, just awaiting our funiture and things from toronto, which should arrive next week :D:D

I also saw Orion's belt in the sky, from our window which was cool.

Step Changing My Drumming

February 17th, 2012

I was back in the UK the other week and had a lesson with Pat Garvey. Other than some sound advice on practice methods, we had a great talk that really challenged me to make a step change in my drumming.

I have been thinking about the lesson and feel that I need to leave my structured learning and focus more on just enjoying playing the drums. This includes getting out more and playing with other musicians and to beginning to find who I am as a drummer. I'm thinking I should be playing more to my favorite tracks, putting more passion into my playing, and sing out loud as I drum :lalala: forgive me world :crazy: I have to become a musician, not just a lover of music.

I've a load more ideas but just do not know were to start. So for the next while I'm going to pleasure myself with my music and do the things I want to do... play a long to Queen Innuendo album and not care as along as it's in time, musical, and fun. There are lots of old albums from back in the day that I want to play along to but I've never done so because I focused on "learning the songs". Now I just want to play along with them, sometimes it will be good sometimes not so good.

Oh btw, my singles have improved, 130 bpm for 5mins which I am really pleased about :)

There and back

January 24th, 2012

I have some good news... Last week we got the email which told us that our applications for permanent residency in Canada had been approved :D

They requested we mail them our passports, but as I am due to fly back to the uk we decided to tavel to Canadian Consulate in Buffalo in person and "land" in Canada on the way back. We have been waiting 3 years for this so we really wanted it over and done with as soon as possible.

So the crazy trip started on Wednesday afternoon with a flight from Calgary to Toronto and then a 2 hrs drive over the US boarder to Buffalo. The following morning we went to the Canadian Consulate that has been dealing with our applicaion to get our papers and things stamped. When we arrived there was about 40 people ahead of us :roll: I thought we would be there for hours but no... 1 and 1/2 hrs later we were back on the road crossing the boarder and "landing" in Canada :D Then it was a drive back to the airport and a flight to Calgary for a skiing weekend to Golden BC with some friends. So in the space of a day we flew from one end of Canada to the other and drove miles. Oh and to top it all... I had Tosillitis :crazy::crazy:

This photo is of the Kicking Horse mountain from our hotel in Golden...

Golden BC

First Auditions for 2012

January 6th, 2012

Its 2012 and I had a great audition for a local Calgary band called Resurrection Joe the other night.

It went really well from my perspective, but I'm not sure that I'm what they need for a drummer. They are all very accomplished musicians and it might be a bit of a big step for me.

But for me, I'm really pleased with how it went. A couple of things came out of it... my ability to jam along is getting much better and my learning of the songs is becoming better too. I was also less nervous than I've been in situations like this before. I think it was down to being prepared. I had spent time learning the songs, which were hard technically and enjoyable as I really like the songs. But I've got to keep working on my fills, speed around the kit, and become more creative. So I'm thinking that I will need to start looking learning and pushing myself to learn more complex grooves.

I asked for some feedback from Resurrection Joe after the audition and got some really nice and useful advice... "I felt that your playing style was too mechanical. I would recommend trying to spend a little more energy on playing from the heart and give the amazing drummer that I know is in there, a chance to run with the ball......"

So going into 2012 I am pleased with were I am but I need to continue to raise the bar where my practice is concerned. Its been four years since I stated drumming and 3 years seriously. I've done 1,920 hours done on my 10,000 hours of excellence (19%).

I need to spend a little more time on looking at practice areas for the coming year... sticking with the basics, singles doubles, paradiddles, independence work, and jazz. Also, I think I need to add groove studies and maybe work throughout my BIMM Diploma book.

Holiday in Vancouver and Whistler

December 20th, 2011

We have just had a couple of weeks holiday :D We went to Vancouver to visit some friends and then on to Whislter skiing.

We last visited Vancouver 10 years ago and downtown has really changed. We went for a walk on the waterfront around where we stayed last time, and were amazed at the changes. Here are a couple of pictures. I really love the one of the pixalated Orca.

pixel orca Vancouver

The winter Olimpic flame Vancouver

While we were there we took a visit to The Capilano Suspension Bridge which is just on the north shore of Vancouver and really nice place to visit.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge

I also saw a eagle which was really cool.

A eagle over the The Capilano Suspension Bridge

Following Vancouver we drove up yo Whistler for a couple of days to do some skiing, we stayed at the Pan Pacific which is my favorite hotel in the world.

Danny in hot tub in whistler

Here a video of Dave doing the Terrain Park

Looking at 16th Note Triplets

November 28th, 2011

So I've began to look at Sixteenth Note Triplets or sextuplets. I'm looking at two tracks that use them - Day Tripper by the Beatles, and Don't look back in Anger by Oasis from their best album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? The Oasis track is one of my favorite tracks and I feel that I am now ready to learn it, so for the next couple of weeks I'm putting my other practice aside to work on these two songs and to look at 16th note triplets.

I asked myself how to count them and looked on the internet. There are a number of ways you can count them... 1 2 3 4 5 6, or 1 triplet and triplet 2 triplet and triplet, or 1 e a and e a 2 e a and e a, etc. Also some drummers just feel them, suggesting "Duggadaduggada"

I found this lesson on the Vic Firth site and started to use the exercise sheet.

I've found a number of uses for the 16th note triplets. I like RLRLFF, Right Left Right Left Foot Foot, you can use this on the kit for creating simple yet affective fills.

Learning Don't Look Back in Anger has been challenging so far. I've had to use all the things I've learned about breaking a song down and simplifying it before building it up agin. But it's been really fun to do it B)

Getting 16th note triplets up to a useful speed is a goal for next year but I will continue to work on them:!:

Its winter

November 20th, 2011

We went for our first skiing day on friday, Dave has been really looking forward to the the skiing season starting and using his new helment :)

Daves sking helment

Our first ski trip of the season

Its also very cold here this week, its been -10 to -20 degrees, and the snow has arrived, we were lucky to get the use of a friends hot tub which was an experiance in this cold weather.

Danny in hot tub

Dave relaxing in hot tub

Dave on the penthouse balcony

We should be here in Calgary until the new year, so I am looking forward to another xmas here.

On the drumming side of things, not much is happening:lalala: Had a good lesson with Pat back in the uk, it's good to keep moving forward but am finding it difficult to really get my teeth in to a new project just at the moment, which is frustrating.

The Bike and The Bow

September 23rd, 2011

One of the things I've loved while I've been here in Calgary over the summer is having a bike and taking rides along the Bow river. The Bow has a great pathway for bikes to use which can take you on many journeys along the river into different parts of Calgary.

This summer we've had great weather and I've been riding one of the pathways on most days, including using it to get to mount royal for the drum summer camp.

The really good thing about my rides is that I listen to music set on random on my iPhone and sometimes the playlists are really cool.

The summer has been so good, but now autumn (fall) is starting and the colors on the trees are turning. Even so, we're still having hot days... this week it was 27C. So I took a ride and took some pics.

Here is a view of downtown looking from Princes Island Park...

View of downtown and our apartment building

And one of Princes Island Park...

Bow River Pathway, Calgary

A view near Eau Claire...

Fall Colours starting Bow River Pathway, Calgary

This one is of the new The Peace Bridge being built which looks cool. It would be good to see it next summer when its finished...

The Peace Bridge Calgary

This one is of a new LRT station I hope it stays this color :)

There are a number of bridges on the river, but here's my favorite...

This walkway under a bridge I love it for some reason! Bow River Pathway, Calgary

The walkway under it, I love it for some reason!

So its late September and here's proof of the temperature... 88|

And this was the temp,

These next 2 are from in side Princess Island Park, just love the colors on the trees and urban living B)

Fall colours Bow River Pathway, Calgary

Princess Island Park, Bow River, Calgary

A shot of the largest building in Calgary - named after the river - The Bow...

The Bow Building, Bow River Pathway, Calgary

This is were we lived for the summer...

This is where we spent the summer 2011

and one last view...

View of Downtown, Bow River Pathway, Calgary

Being in Calgary over the summer has been AWESOME :D:D:D

Summer School for Drummers

September 18th, 2011

I attended a week long drum set course at Mount Royal University in Calgary. It was a great experience and interesting to learn from a different team of professionals - Tyler Hornby, Mark Kelso, Malcolm Lim and John Riley. They were great tutors and they all had a really relaxed teaching style. The interesting thing was that there were some key messages that it seems all drum tours say... drummers will be hired... if you can play in time, with confidence, and are easy to get along with... just having great chops doesn't mean you will get the gig.

It was classroom set-up with a couple of Yamaha kits set-up in front and we all sat around with our pads. The format was relaxed and questions were encouraged. There was about 20 students in total and we were split into two groups. We had different lessons with each of the instructors, some of them focusing on areas of interest, but also the leading from asking "so whats on your mind..?", which is a cool way to get into some random fun on the kit.

Here are some the the notes I took and some of the explanations behind them...

John Riley; take a triplet fill around the kit, say play the 1-let, 2-let, 3-let, 4-let, start on the floor Tom and work your way around the kit. When comfortable try starting in different places, for example on the high tom or snare. You could then add a Trip- somewhere , just remember the patten and think of it as a melody line.

Mark Kelso did classes on Cuban & Brazilian rhythms which was amazing to see. I still find this genre of music difficult and his advise was you have to listen to it and try and understand what is holding the rhythm together...

He also explained about the four stages of learning which I really liked, they are...

1, unconscious , incompetence
2, conscious, incompetence
3, conscious, competence
4, unconscious , competence

I asked him about what to practice and it was a great reminder that practice is not just about the type of exercise but practicing... being Technically clean, relax when playing making sure that movements flow, focus on time/feel/groove, and listening.

Tyler Hornby gave a great lesson on transcription analysis using jazz standard lead sheets, which I am going to write up in more detail later.

He also went throughout the Percussive Arts Society drum rudiments and explained a way to remember the length of the roll rudiments

Roll Rudiments

John Riley also talked about stick control. This was in response to a question about strengthening your weak hand... work your weak hand, using a the first page from the stick control book, he explained that that these exercises are not about speed but control. He explained that by developing different variations to the first page of exercises it should keep you busy for a long time. For example, one hand plays continuous eighth notes while the other plays the line, or when you see a left you play a triplet. He said you just need to use your imagination and you can come up with numerous variations. He also said that to develop your weak hand you need to play 3 strokes with your weak hand for every one with your strong hand :idea:

It was great to be in a learning environment that was relaxed and friendly, there was no pressure to pass exams and things. It was a really enjoyable week for any drummer and I will definitely attend again, it was certainly great value for money :D

A weekend a Sylvan Lake

August 29th, 2011

We spent last weekend at Sylvan lake with was great the weather was hot and sunny and being by the water was nice, if not a bit chilly ;)

Hector, Brett & Dave at  Sylvan Lake

View of Sylvan Lake water park

We went to the water park there, its not much but when the weather is sunny and hot is a lot of fun.

What can I achieve in a day?

August 12th, 2011


So I have a audition/jam on the 30th August with these guys. They have sent me over a set list of five songs. So, over the next couple of weeks I am going to learn the songs, but i wanted to know what I could do in a single day:!:

So I set out by listening to a song, finding the lyrics and printing them out to help me work out the structure then I...

Listened to the song
Listened to the song
Listened to the song
Again, and again, and again

Including listening to the song with head phones on.

When I knew the song well, I tried to identify the basic grooves and pattens, and the feel. I also noted any problems areas. (for this song it was the chorus)

Then I watched some video of people playing the song and drumming the song.

After that I worked out where the fills/stop and pushes went and on got these down on paper.

Next I took it to the drum kit and worked it out to get the rhythms of the fills and placement of the grooves.

So at the end of 4 hours 20 mins, I have the basics down. The chorus has a bar of 3/4 which was confusing to say the least, but with a little more time I should be able to hold my own with it.


Birthday in British Columbia

August 10th, 2011

Last weekend was my 45th Birthday and we went camping |-| in British Columbia, last year we went camping on my birthday also... a pattern is emerging |-||-|

Danny & Dave Hiking in Kootneay mountains BC

We camped at Radium Hot Springs which, like the name suggests, has a hot springs and is in the rocky mountains. We did have nice weather which always helps. And we found some really interesting places. We went to a beautiful beach on Windermere lake, it was really nice to sit, relax, and watch the world go by...

Swim in lake Windermere‎ British Columbia‎

We also went to discover what Phil and others thought were urban mythical 'natural' hot springs in the mountains - i.e. ones that are not commercial just out in the wild. It turns out they are not myth, we found them even though the roads were a bit precarious.

Natural hot springs

The water was hot and the river was cold. A women told me it was as close to freezing as you and get for running water.

Very cold,

The weekend was really nice and it was so relaxing and beautiful in the mountains :D:D

Working on 16th Note Grooves

August 2nd, 2011

August is the month I am taking a look at 16th note grooves... going back to basics with Tommy Igoe groove essentials and trying to learn a couple of songs which use them. I really want to try a couple of Duran Duran tracks and some Stevie Nicks. I plan to look at these grooves everyday this month and see how I get on. I find that currently my high hat notes are not even, and the faster I go my back beat gets sloppier.

Here are some good lessons for some basic 16th note grooves that I have found...

and here...

Here is a great tutorial for adding drum parts in MuseScore, which I use to do my drum scores.

Summer is here...

July 31st, 2011

So the summer is here B) we're having great weather in Calgary and we've been out and about.

Elbow Falls Hike

We went hiking at Elbow Falls... the last time we did this was in the winter a couple of years back and the difference in scenery is amazing. Check it out on the pics below... although even in the summer the water is still COLD!

The beautiful Elbow Falls

Here's what it looks like in the winter...

Elbow Falls

We also went down the river again in our dingy and I've been cycling around town and the path ways along the Bow River.

We had a fabulous night for our 4th wedding anniversary in the sun on the patio at the River Cafe on Princess Island.B)

Danny River Cafe our 4th anniversary (the champagne was great)

Dave River Cafe our 4th anniversary

On the drumming front I've been practicing everyday. I've been learning new songs - like Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones, and Take It Easy by The Eagles. The good thing is I am doing over 2 hrs a day of good practice. So in July my breakdown has been as follows

Stampede and Rafting

July 19th, 2011

It's been a busy week, last week end we went to the Calgary Stampede, which was great, although we did not go to the Rodeo this time. We had great fun walking around and seeing the place, the weather was great :D Here are a couple of pics...

Dave framed

Tepee at Stampede

Last weekend we went rafting and camping. It was awesome and so much fun B) Unfortunately I forgot to take the new camera, but it was great floating down a river with friends. It was also great to be close to the city but with a sense that you were miles from anywhere. We then went on to camp in Kananaskis which was just beautiful, I do love the mountains :D Here some pics...

View from our camp site

We have also moved into a new apartment in Calgary, here's the sun setting from our balcony on the first night:)

New balcony view

On the drumming front, I have finally got a set a drums here in Calgary, so am looking out for a band and jamming. I'm really pleased with my progress lately. Being able to explore things that I did a year ago has just shown me how much I have improved.

Practicing with Kate and Will

July 10th, 2011

Well I have been here in Calgary for a week... with Kate and Wills as they kicked off the Calgary Stampede. I've been practicing and revisiting songs I've learned before, like Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon. This has been really positive as I've found that a song that I could not play a year ago is getting easier to play today. By employing the use of slow down apps (like Robick) and some really focused practice on the bridge part of the track, I've made real progress and that's really good.

I went to a Master Class by Jimmy Degrasso at Axe Music store which was fun. It was very similar to the master classes at BIMM. He focused on double peddle groves which are not my thing, but hey, he was still good.

I've not found any people to jam with yet. I think I will need to get a kit over here as there is a lack of practice studios were people go to practice, most seem to practice in there basement or garages.

I've also been doing a lot of practice on my pad over the last week which is really interesting. I'm really focusing on my rebound stoke and stick control... more on this in a couple of weeks.

Term 3 Week 10: The End and The Beginning...

July 1st, 2011

Well it was the last week and its been one of mixed emotions :-/ Joy at finding my true passion and moving on to the next stage, and going back to Canada, but also sadness because I will miss BIMM and the friends I've made over the last 2 years.

I just wanted to thank a couple of people; firstly, Andy Nixon for giving me a chance 2 years ago and for his support and encouragement while I've been at BIMM.

And also, Preston Prince for giving me an appreciation of Jazz music in general and especially Jazz drumming. Also for making it cool to start practicing at slower tempos ;)

Its hard to thank Pat Garvey enough for giving me a better technical and independence, but mostly for a passion for the drums and a view into what can be achieved by practicing and trying.

Finally, to Dave for giving me the opportunity, his support, patience and putting up with me.

The future is uncertain, but I am full of optimism and chances, I hope to continue and improve on the drums, I will be open to new ideas and opportunities.

The journey will continue :D Watch this space...

Term 3 Week 9: Fight the fear of failure...

June 21st, 2011

These are my last lessons at BIMM and going forward I have to Fight the fear of failure:!:

My friend Dan told me that its time for me to get out there B) I am ready to start playing and perform as much as I can. And its nice to hear people are stating to point out the really positive things that came out of my audition which is also really good to hear.

Fear of failure is something that I struggled with and its important that I challenge this, and to try hard to get out and play with as many people as I can. Networking and making friends is not one of my strengths, I'm not really a party person but I need to start to have faith in myself that I can go forward from here and really build on the foundations that I have got out out the whole experience of the last 2 years. That means networking with musicians and practicing, trying new things and not being worried about failure.

Self perception of how much I've improved is really difficult for me to gauge. This week I played in class for the last time (for a while at least) and I got really good feed back from Andy Nixon. One big improvement he pointed out was my confidence, and my bass drum power, which he's been picking me up on ever since I started 2 years ago. He pointed out that my strengths were; Relaxed posture, Preparation, Back beat, Dynamics and co-ordination, and the areas that I need to work on are; fills, tempo (trusting your ears), left foot control and loosening up my fills.

So on the whole I am really pleased with my last class performance :D

Term 3 Week 8: You have to ask yourself...

June 17th, 2011

This week we did Weak by Skunk Anansie in the audition. Although my playing in this terms audition shows progress, you have to ask yourself if it has all been worth it :?: the long distance relationship's, the sacrifice, the time, the money :?:

A number of friends have said that we are our worst critics, which is true in my case. And I know I tend to be, but I keep revisiting that opening fill I should have got it right. I feel bad about letting the others in the band down :oops: You see I can play this song in my head, I've learned this song :crazy:

I have to move on, and I will, but I've got to keep my focus and keep trying, but also try to get my worst critic into line >:XX

If you check out a video of me playing when I first went to BIMM and the latest for sure there is a lot of progress. It's frustrating that it's not better and as we discussed in Pat's class this week you can learn from others but in the end you have to be the best drummer you can be and keep trying.

So here is my first term BIMM audition in 2009...

and this is my last in 2011...

At the end of the day, I've really enjoyed the last 2 years at BIMM, and made some very good friends. I'm also a much better drummer than I used to be. And the audition has taught me... I'm not at the end of the road, and the show, and the journey must go on :D

Term 3 Week 7: Use the Force...

June 12th, 2011

Our audition is next week, which really signals the beginning of the end of BIMM for me for a while at least. And this week I have been really getting a grips on the track we are doing.

I've really learned this song like no other, and I am trying to figure out the reasons why...

The first thing I've really done this time is understand the structure of the track. It's not difficult, it go's like this - Into, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus x2 and Out. The really difference for me this time is I've learned to really know were I am in the track all the time. This requires me to concentrate and focus. This is a skill that I haven't really got to grips with as I find it really hard, my mind is always wondering off somewhere :roll: There are a couple of quotes from when Yoda is training Luke in Empire Strikes Back which I remember:-

"All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!"

So I've been trying to stay focused and concentrate on where I am when I play this track. This is allowing me to do a couple of things that are new to me; firstly, stay in control of what I am playing, and secondly to really stamp my authority on the tempo of the track. But last weeks rehearsal, and having to do this for two hours, is hard. To do this during a performance/audition the song may be even harder.

:idea:"Concentrate...feel the Force flow. Yes. Good. Calm, yes. ":idea:

Term 3 Week 6: Blur vs Steve Gadd

June 3rd, 2011

The story of the week is Blur vs Gadd.... And I lost :(

I've been working on playing Blur's Charmless Man in class and it was just not to be |-| There was a clash in the timetable as Steve Gadd was doing a masterclass in London on the same day as I was due to play the Blur track in LPW. So I thought 'well I really need to get more practice playing live at this stage in my journey of drumming and not go to see Gadd'. Well only two people turned up at class and the guitarist did not know the track, so I never got to play it at all :roll: So I should've gone to see Gadd after all.

I've never really got the whole famous drummer thing. My tutor asked me the other day who was my favorite drummer, and I just do not have have one - I rate everyone who plays the drums. This may change. I've only just stared to begin hearing the drums on songs and understand what they are doing in the song and for the song.

So I hear from a couple of mates at college who went to the Steve Gadd Masterclass that he had played on the new Kate Bush Directors cut album. So interesting... I love Kate musically and I have done for many years. If you know her work then this Directors Cut album is a great revisit. Kate and Gadd, perfect for me NOW at this point of my journey. I'm a firm believer in that things come to you when you are ready to receive them. This will be my album of the summer....

I'm also very reflective lately... I'm coming to the end of BIMM and trying to understand the progress I've made. But also I've been scanning some old photos just to get them digital as I do not want to lose them (a lesson learned after a fire at my Mum and Dads house recently), and it makes you think.

I had a great rehearsal today on the Weak track. I've still got to work on the timing of the intro fill, but in general my fills on getting that much more fluid. This is really pleasing, although I have to try and place them in the center of the drum head as I sometime hit the edges :crazy:

Term 3 Week 5: Power, Focus, and Flexibility

May 28th, 2011

Its been a busy week... Dave came home for a visit, which was really good, and I still did about 8 hrs drum practice!

I have been working on learning a song for the end of term auditions which is really changeling me - Weak by Skunk Anansie. I've been able to do a drum notation sheet for it and I've started to get to grips with learning the song. But, it still takes me time to learn a song and feel comfortable with it! Overall I'm happy with it but in rehearsal today I was really having problems - particularly with some of the fills and section changes. The good thing about this song is that it has to be played with energy - I was being to timid with it - so in rehearsal I finally learned to really play it with some power. But I got a bit carried away and kept losing my place :oops: , so I've got to work on this over the next week.

If anything the last couple of weeks has shown me just how far I have come but also how far I have to go to be able play at the level I want. I think that I have a problem focusing on playing basics of the song, while being flexible enough to go with the feel of it rather than playing exactly what I practiced.

I still play to uptight and need to relax and have faith in my playing and my ability, but can I?

I am looking forward to playing Blur next week in LPW which should be fun ;)

Term 3 Week 4: No Doubt's Hella Good was no good

May 24th, 2011

So my Hella Good was not that good when I played it in pre-production and LPW this week. I got a few things right, but I do not think that I did it justice. What really got me was that we had to play to a click and a backing track. This was a first for me and I found a little unusual to say the least. I did manage to place the pushes on the cymbals during the chorus which I was told would help put the energy in the track and I got the dynamic changes between the verse and chorus by playing the hats open and closed.

I've started to look at a Mambo groove that we had looked at in class using a 2-3 son Clave. Below is the exercise we did...

Mambo - Drum

The first line is learned first, I've found that playing this on the ride while keeping time (qrts note) with your left foot on your high hat helps. Then you add second line, which is the cross stick. Line 3 is the tom and line 4 is the kick. Give it a go and let me know how it goes, it is a really cool groove when played. :D

Term 3 Week 3: Essay Week

May 15th, 2011

Its been essay week this week, Music Business and a Reflective essay. So I wanted to share with you a part of my reflective essay which deals with the Pre-Production and LPW class, here go's...

"As the year has progressed my ability on the drum kit has improved which has allowed me to work on the tracks for pre-production with far better results. I am able to hear the different voices being played on the track, which in turn is allowing me to learn the tracks. I have struggled with this aspect in this class. I have began to use slow down applications on the computer and smart phones to listen to the tracks which helps me to practice the tracks at slower tempos, slowly increase the tempo until I reach the correct tempo.

This term I have started to transcribe certain tracks as I have found that my sight reading skills have improved allowing me to learn the tracks quicker. There are still instances were I have to simplify sections as I am not yet technically proficient to play them. The ability to transcribe the track helps me learn the structure of the track better than before. For instance there was a change in the track that we had to learn in week two of term three, which was communicated to us in week one, previously I would have panicked about such a change but this term I has able to get the structure and transcribe most of the track within a day and began to learn the track ready for our lesson the following week, this is a huge improvement for me" B)

It is also become really clear to me that the work that I have been doing with Pat Garvey is paying off. My bass drum placement is so much better than it was and this really is down to the groove exercise sheet that Pat had me work on last year. But I still need to continue to work on this especially the off beat high hat pattens.:D

Term 3 Week 2: Reflections

May 8th, 2011

Its been a tough week for various reasons. And to top it of we have got to do our reflective essays in the next two weeks. But that's OK as the reflective side of the assessments are relatively easy. Its only been just over 3 years since I started to drum and I would not recognize myself today if I saw me back then :D

This is my recent recording of Blurs, Charmless Man. Not only have I been able to learn the song relatively quickly, but i have also been able to write a drum score for it :) I'm getting better and I'm beginning to be happy with my progress. All I need now is a band to play in!

Charmless Man

Charmless Man 2

Term 3 Week 1: No Bandwidth

April 30th, 2011

The first week of the last term - We've been back a week and it was a short one with Bank Holidays either side. And it feels like week 4 :-/ I'm a bit annoyed as I got the shove from the band I was playing in because I've been spending too much time away. I just didn't have the bandwidth to do Canada and a band. It's a shame - I was having fun.

I've been using the practice app every day since Jan 2011 and have finally looked at the stats (see below) I'm going to get some advice on areas that I should focus on for a bit, but on the whole I like what I see. I've spent a lot of time learning songs, which really paid off in last terms solo performance. I got a Distinction for the track part which is really cool and helped my confidence. Both my doubles and singles are coming on which is good as these I have practiced a lot. The app is good at keeping a record of what I'm doing and the way that I have it set up allows me the flexibility to work on some core areas but also keep a hand in on other technical exercises.

Drum Practice Graph 1st qtr 2011

Practice Table 1st Qtr 2011

I blogged about the practice app first here...

Since I got back I've been on the acoustic drums. It's really satisfying to get behind them again. When the street was having a party this weekend I did some recording of the tracks that I looked at over the holidays and I'm OK with the results. Here's me doing a cover of Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders.

Let me know what you think,

Btw, I'm having difficulty getting a nice sound out of my ride cymbal...will have to look into this.

Life After BIMM: The Business

April 14th, 2011

I've been thinking about life after BIMM! There are a great deal of things that I want to do... I want to play drums and I want to keep learning (you should never stop learning). Specifically, I want to learn about playing, recording, and writing about drums and music.

I have found BIMM challenging, but as the Olympic plaque in Eau Claire in Downtown Calgary says...


And I'm coming on, feeling more confident, and taking chances. I played for Dave :) which is a good reason to drum.

I'm beginning to get a grip on developing drum scores for songs. I've done another one, Blur's Charmless man. Being able to pic a song and try to develop a drum score has really been a focus on this last month, but going forward I'm going to focus on my drumming.

I'm need to remember its a business and hopefully earn some money at it, how I do that... answers on a post card please?

We went skiing in Banff which has really cool, I love the mountains, here's a ski video that Dave did :)

Drum Score: No-doubt's Hella Good

April 4th, 2011

This week I really got working on learning a track for next term and using MuseScore software. The track is Hella Good by No-Doubt.

I was pleased with myself for being able to listen to a song and and develop a drum score from it. I find I learn to play a track considerably quicker and easier using a score. I also find that I am able to play along and pick up a track quicker if I sight read whilst playing a song. It is where I am at present. But with this track there was a big change... I was able to listen to it and I managed to hear what the drums were playing. I haven't got everything right but what I have done I think goes well. Please let me know what you thing of the score?

This was how I did it... I used the equalizers on iTunes to try and hear the individual drum parts. I concentrated on Hats, Snare & Bass drum. I downloaded some free open source software known as MuseScore to do the score. Once I got going on MuseScore I was able to produce the score shown below. Its not the most intuitive software for me to score drums on but I like it. I should write other scores as I think scoring drum parts is really good for me.

Drummers: The Score-Music Interface

March 28th, 2011

Following on from a lesson we had last term with Pat Garvey where we had to get up and sight read a song from a drum score... I decided to try this again with the goal of trying to understand the process, and to determine how I could improve.

Well it occurs to me that it's about transferring what you see on a score to making music on the drums, which means that the drummer is the interface between the score and the music, so how does this interface work for me?

So I replicated what we did in class as best I could. Firstly I listen to a song couple of times. Then, sight unseen, played the track while sighting reading the drum score. This was OK but I had problems with the fills, section changes and tempo. The track was Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders, which at first glance is fairly simplistic but the idea was to follow the score to learn what I need to work on.

So over this week I have been playing the song, trying to break the fills down and voice them, and count out the bars. I seem to have had most success with counting the main grove (i.e. 1,2,3,4) and then voicing the fill pattens. By day 3, I was at the stage were I had put the score away and trusted that I knew where the section changes were.

Over the week as I did this more and more, some of the fills felt more natural to play than others. I did manage to get most of the fills down. But as for the tempo I really had to concentrate on counting in my head so not to lose my place on the chart. With repetition, things did get easier and I really like playing along to this song... I remember really liking it when it first was released.

So if I ever play a drum score unseen, I need to remember to count and voice the section changes the best I can. Next week I am going to try and learn a song by ear and produce a drum score for the track which I will put up here for anyone who wants it :)

This weekend we went skiing and stayed in Banff over night which was really nice. I do love being in the mountains. I think it has something to do with feeling protected by them. And the sound of the train passing through is just so lovely.

Term 2 Week 10: Exam Week

March 21st, 2011

So its been done! :D

The first half of the week was all exams and solo performance... I think everything went OK, but I am really pleased with my solo performance. The performance of the track went really well and I had great initial feedback, but all i could remember were the mistakes that I made |-| The following day I reviewed the performance in my head and I feel confidant that I placed the fills and section changes well and kept in time throughout the track.

So a well deserved rest in Calgary is on the cards for the next month.

I have a number of things that I want to keep working on, for example, my doubles, jazz, and roll rudiments. I have also been working on the Vic Firth Snare book which I hope to really focus on. And of course, I want to learn a couple of songs.

Term 2 Week 9: Coming on

March 13th, 2011

It's been revision week this week. Its also been a quiet week for practicing - I've only managed to to an extra seven hours this week mainly due to the slight injury in the right hand. I just think I over did it last week with the rolling triplet shuffle ;)

I played in class a couple of times and got some good feedback. My solo performance in on Wednesday so i took the opportunity to play the song and exercises in class as much as I could.

The exercises and track are coming on. I should have the rolling shuffle and off beats ready :D, not sure about the jazz pattens and the 7 stroke roll, speaking of which had some great feedback on this from Pat in class... it was good on many of levels... but more significantly he pointed out that last year I could never done that :p

So I'll be ramping up practice beginning of this week, theory exam is really going to be a nightmare.

My last band practice on Monday before a well deserved break....

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.

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.

Term 2 Week 3: Quest for a Cymbal

January 29th, 2011

The quest for a cymbal has ended, and decision on make and type has been made...

I am not at the place in my playing were I need a particular sound from my cymbals. I just need a second one to help me practice with my right-hand side and use in band practice and live.

One thing life has taught me is to buy the best that you can afford at the time. The two main makes of cymbals are Sabian or Zildjian. I have been looking for a second-hand one from Ebay but it's an auction and I not been quick enough on my bidding. But finally, I have won a Sabian AA Medium Crash 18" for £85. :)

There is some great advice on buying secondhand at

Fate has a strange way of helping me make my decisions. I decided to try and get Sabian cymbal. Why? Well firstly they are made in Canada, Dave likes the sound as we looked at them over Xmas. Also, we had a really great Masterclass with Karl Brazil (session player and and amazing drummer) and I was lucky enough to win a Sabian T-shirt at the masterclass. So check out him out he was inspirational and you most probably have heard his drumming.

I have also started to read the Inner Game of Music, I'll let you know how I find this and review as soon as I finish it, the book was recommended to me by a tutor at BIMM - Jason Knight.

Another piece of advice that really struck a cord with me was "You will be surprised at what you can do if you try". Andy Nixon our drum tutor said this with regards trying to play tracks in our pre-production class. And it's true.

I have lacked a sense of moving forward this term, practice has been slow and not very inspiring so far but I did manage to get 10 hours of practice in which is really pleasing.

Term 2 week2: When will it all come together?

January 22nd, 2011

its week 2 or is that week 22! (coz that's how it feels)

It's been another busy week with attending a local jazz gig and seen my housemate play at the rescheduled BIMM end-of-term gig. Both were really good and I saw an amazing number of bands and live musicians. The jazz gig was an open mic event at a local pub call the Brunswick, and I must say that I was very impressed. For a Tuesday night there were a lot of people attending, drinking and enjoying themselves. This could be an excellent way that more pubs could try and bring in customers during these hard times.

Here is a little clip of a fantastic trumpeter (Rob) at the jazz gig.

The question that has been on my mind this week is 'when will it all come together?' Although I can see the progression of my drumming its coming up to 3 years since I started playing the drums with any really intent, and I'm just wondering when the game changer will come. One hope is that I begin to pick up pace and learning new things get less infuriating. In class this week we had a look at a 2nd line groove, which we have been asked to practice for performance next week. The reason to practice this particular groove is that it will challenge our independence and give us a greater understanding of note and accent placement. My problem is that I've found it really difficult to learn within one week. This brings me to this terms pre-production songs - they are really hard and although I am trying to learn them they are just out of reach for my ability...........what to do?:-/ I do worry that the BIMM experience is perhaps a step (or 3) ahead from were I can get the most out of it.

We looked at using Brushes in our jazz lesson this week which was really cool and I was glad that I had this explained to me and intend to spend some time using them.

Term 2 Week 1: Apps for Practice

January 15th, 2011

Its been difficult to get back into my practice routine this week after the month off over xmas, this also might be down to the jet lag of 7 hour time difference between Calgary and Brighton.

I've been using the Just Practice Planner app for the iPhone to help - this is a really good app, as it allows you to monitor your time and practice over a period and helps you focus your practice time well. It's free so have a look...

One of the things I need to add into my schedule is to practice my music theory at least twice a week for 15 mins - we have a exam at the end of this term. I will use my exam notes from last year and another cool app on music theory which I found last term. But I have to think differently about theory this year as last year I just left it until the last minute and crammed for the last week until the exam. This year I want to be ready early by practicing little and often.

I got my results back from the end of last term. They were OK, much as expected. Although I have to resubmit one of my essays, which is a pain, but not to difficult. I just missed out on one of the criteria. Although I could get a mark against it next term, it's best to have another go and see if I can do better this term. The feedback on my solo performance is helpful and useful.

I have to be positive that I am getting better and that something come with experience. Hopefully this term I will get more experience. The band I am playing in seems to be getting better. It looks like we have found a new lead guitarist which is cool - We had a practice with him this week which went really well.

It has been a busy week back with a private lesson and two band practices. And its going to be a fun next week, with a jazz lesson about brushes - so I'll get to use my brushes that I got for Xmas :D

Update on the Journey

January 5th, 2011

Being back in Calgary has given me time to reflect on how much I have learned about drumming since I was last in Calgary two years ago. My approach to drumming is completely different a lot has happened, going to BIMM, learning from some really great tutors and friends, and meeting new people has allowed me to see myself in a different light and to see my drumming differently.

I sat down the other day and began to learn a song, practice jazz, and practiced some sticking and rudiments in a very focused way. My method of approaching a song is not to run to a score or tab but to listen and understand the structure which in turn helps me learn the song and figure out how I can approach it.

My ambition is still out stripping my skill, but that is good as it keeps stretching me.

My independence is so much better than it was, and so is my understanding of it. While I has practicing my jazz the other day I focused on what each of my limbs was doing and I was able in a small way to separate what they were doing and trying to focus in on achieving better control over them. Two years ago I just would not have given this a seconded thought. I also think the yoga that I have been doing has helped me understand and focus on how my body feels and has helped with my balance. During yoga I have to think about my breathing and concentrate on what my limbs are doing and this can only help when I am drumming.

Term One Has Ended!

December 10th, 2010

Its been an intense term on the pro-diploma at BIMM. I was ready for it this year, unlike last year. But the course has really raised the bar both technically and musically.

I am keeping up, although I didn't do well on in my solo performance. On reflection, I put myself under a lot of pressure which had a negative impact on my performance. I felt really frustrated that I was not able to do better for myself. Somehow, the effort and hard work I've put in does not feel rewarded by the end result.

But some very positive things have come out of this term; I've started to play in a band (although we need to find a stable bass player), and we're planning to play live at some open mic nights in the new year. Also, my independence has got a lot better in some areas. And my song learning has come on as I've worked on learning songs by ear. I've also played in class a couple of times and I'm feeling more comfortable with it.

I've been reading about the The Ten Thousand Hour Rule. Apparently people such as Daniel Levitin, the author of This Is Your Brain On Music, figure that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert in almost anything. So as a guide Dave has done me a excel spreadsheet to track my hours. This has to be taken with a pinch of salt as practice has to be focused and be the right practice for your goals, but here it is - I am 14% complete on my 10,000 hours.

hours of excellence

I'm still finding that my left hand is holding me back and is considerably less developed than my right, so am determined to work on this over the Xmas holidays.

Term 1 Week 8: A guy walks into a bar....

November 27th, 2010

A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?'. So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!'. So he kicks over a garbage can and says 'That's Punk?', and I say 'No that's trendy!' :D

I've been lucky to have found a guy to form a punk band with B) and I'm hopeful it will take off over the next couple of months. We are hoping to learn some songs and start doing some gigs locally for fun. It's not the kind of music that I saw myself playing, but I do need more experience playing fast and live, and the rehearsals have been really good fun :D

I'm also getting ready for Xmas now, it has been an intensive time back and BIMM and I'm learning a lot. Things are starting to stick, even in music theory, but I have still got to put it all to use somehow!

Here is a video of a track that I recorded, called Clean Up Woman by Betty Wright. We had to learn this for LPW a couple of weeks back, and I am pleased that I learned this by ear! I'm discovering that my independence is really coming along - I'm able to place the bass drum part on the 'a' which I had really difficulty with last year.

My independence is getting better due to an exercise sheet that Pat Garvey gave me to work on last year. I still work on this and will do for some time to come, if not forever! It has really helped my bass drum independence. So now I'm hoping to work on my hand independence, with the jazz exercise that we got given in class this week.

Term 1 Week 7: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

November 18th, 2010

For our music business assignment this term we need to pick a project to complete this year. I've chosen to organize gig in Brighton.

A key part of the assignment is the project plan. My plan shows, what I believe to be, a good way to accomplish my goal. Before I wrote it down, I used a mind map to get me started. Many of the tasks came to mind and I started filling up the blank page with approaches and stepping-stones that would help me reach this goal. Once I had this I stated to research the ideas on the internet in order to ensure that my plan was realistic and to help me avoid any obvious pit falls.

Choosing organize a gig has two goals for me. Firstly, for me to learn and understand what it takes to get a project off the ground in the music industry - helping me understand any potential weaknesses that I have and help identify areas that I need to work on. Secondly, for me to play a live gig and to get other musicians involved in projects. I would really like to play 5 Pink Floyd songs from the Wall album live since I'm planning the gig to take places around the time that Roger Waters in playing the O2.

On the critical path for success gig is getting the other musicians together. But I've identified 6 main tasks to complete the project:

1 Find a venue
2 Choose Musicians
3 Advertise and market the gig
4 Arrange ticket sales
5 Plan the show
6 Carry out some follow

It's not until you sit down and think about what it takes to put on a gig that you realize how much work there is in it. For each of these tasks I have a start and end date, with a estimated duration time. This enables me structure the plan in a achievable time frame. Each of the main task has sub-tasks to help me plan what needs to get done. For example, I need to research the venues, find appropriate ones, make a list of costs and Professional Liability Insurance (PLI), equipment that they have, all to help me identify the venue. In marketing and advertising , I have to arrange for the adverts to be designed and made, also get the other bands playing to put the gig on there myspaces and facebook pages and email there contracts, try and get local media interested. And of course, I'll also need to set a budget and keep a record of all the cost.

Truly, failing to plan is planning to fail!

Term 1 Week 6: Don't Panic!

November 11th, 2010

This week I played in the Live Performance Workshop (LPW) class... Gimme Some Lovin by the Spencer Davis Group.

This was really the first track that I've learned completely by ear alone - this is a big step forward for me. Most of the time when I learn a track I try to find a video, or a tab, or some other drum notation to help me discover what's going on. Last year I only learned a couple of LPW songs in a term, and pretty much ignored the rest because I couldn't keep up. But this term I'm trying to learn something from all the songs in LPW - at a minimum get the structure and some of the pattern which goes along with it.

One of the lessons from this weeks track is not to panic when I am asked to change parts, and try and be adaptable. I was asked twice to change parts in the pattern that I had come up with and I still managed to perform it reasonably OK :D I did the video below at home before LPW, but on stage in the class nerves and excitement got the better of me. I must say I'm feeling more comfortable about playing in front of an audience.

I'm also getting better at song structures and finding out what is going on in the track by listening to it. I'm beginning to hear the different placements of notes played around the kit. I've got here by playing the track and looping it while on the bus or walking to class. And it has really helped me pick things out on the track and then work them out on the kit. I just need to get quicker and be more confident.

I now need to concentrate on the feel of the track and really be confident with the parts ensuring that they feel right for the track and work on getting the right dynamics in the track.

Term 1 Week 5: The New Breed

November 6th, 2010

A standard week here at BIMM!

But we did get given our Assessment booklets...a quick review shows that there is not a great deal in difference between last year and this year.

We had a great Styles and Technical lesson on Wednesday with Pat Garvey. He did say that he does not really recommend books but "The New Breed: Systems for the Development of Your Own Creativity (Book/CD) by Gary Chester" he recommends to the class so here's hoping Santa is reading.

On Friday I had another great Jazz lesson with Preston. I am really enjoying these lessons, and am learning a great deal. Although it will probably take me until I'm 64 before I am able to really play the jazz gig of my life! A couple choice nuggets from this lesson that I want to remember are; to ensure that the Ride is the focus of the groove, and that you are placing the notes down and not hitting the drums. These things really helped me conceptualize some of the ideas about jazz playing. Annoyingly getting a tutorial with Preston is hard as I have my favorite lesson with Pat on Wednesday, when Preston does his tutorial, but I'll have to discuss this with them.

I have booked a tutorial with Andy Nixon to discuss my practice plan. I also want to get another view on my weak areas, and to look at exercises to work on these, and put a plan together that will enable me to review progress next term.

I'm not having any luck getting a band together or finding one! Confidence is still an issue but not like last year when it was a really barrier. This year it just seems one of getting lucky and finding people that you want to work with B)

Term 1 week 4: It's Rudimentary...

October 28th, 2010

I don't often regret many things in my life, but I do wish that I had started to learn and practice drum Rudiments when I started playing the drums...

People did tell me to work on them, but it was never a priority for me... Playing a groove and fills were what I wanted to do, and that's what I enjoyed. Now I'm realizing that being able to play rudiments enhances every aspect of playing, including independence. So if you're out there, and just starting to learn the drums, make sure you listen to people and learn your rudiments:!:

This term I have started to focus on my rudiments to get my hands and sticking better. The idea is to focus on a few rudiments as a warm up exercise every day. And by adding to the list of rudiments that I practice, I'll that I slowly increase my ability to play them and expand my knowledge of them.

Although Pat Garvey has been working with me on these it's not until now that I have reconsidered the importance of them to playing the drum kit. I have no idea where and why this revelation has come about but it will be interesting to review my progress on them over the next year.

My left hand independence also needs work, if anyone have exercise to help with this please let me know.

Here's a good site for reference

Term 1 Week 3: Moeller Technique

October 24th, 2010

So we started to look at the basic strokes of the Moeller technique in our first week. I've only been doing this for 3 weeks so far, and it may take a lifetime to master this, but here's my impressions so far...

Basically the stoke can be broken down into four stokes: Full, Down, Tap (aka Rebound) and Up.

The key for me is to remember the position of the drum stick at the beginning and end of each stroke.

Full: Start High ends High (H-H)

Down: Starts High ends Low (H-L)

Tap: Starts Low ends Low (L-L)

Up: Starts Low ends High (L-H)

The important things for me right now are concentrating on; the whipping motion, my elbow position, and transferring the motion through the arm and wrist into the drum stick.

I have found that practicing slowly has helped a lot and understanding some of the ideas behind the technique of the stroke helps to put things in perspective. It's takes discipline ,accuracy, endurance and will take years to learn well. But I'm thinking that practicing a lot will get it into my every day playing, which cannot be bad:idea:

We watched the Jim Chapin DVD in class - this was the guy who popularized the Moeller technique. The video was enlightening, here's a clip...

Term 1 Week 2: Life in the fast lane

October 15th, 2010

Its amazing how time just flies by during the first term at BIMM -the same thing happened last year.

I had a great band practice on Monday - with a group from Artist Development - for the first time I really felt like I was contributing to working in a band. I was able to explain and discus how we would put together a cover of Valerie. The only problem with a late night rehearsal is that it is difficult to get to sleep.

Played in class for the first time in Pre-Production and was really pleased with the feedback that I got. I kept things simple and managed to play through the track with more confidence than I would have thought. One of the keys is knowing the track - so all week I have listened to the track over and over again - like when I go to the shops and things. And also spending time behind the kit with the song on repeat. Trying it again with Marvin Gaye's - I Heard It Through The Grapevine this week.

We had a really great Jazz lesson with Preston this week - I learned a lot in the space of an hour and half :D I think I am going to like these lessons. We are going to be looking at 4 Jazz Time systems over the next couple of weeks, so I'm hopeful that my jazz drumming will come on.

I asked Pat Garvey about all the information that we are being given (which is a lot, given the amount of practice time available in a day), and asked about what you should focus practice on (given that you can't do it all). His answer was simply "the basics". Thinking about it, if you can get the basics down when you come to play a track it should be a little easier. So with this in mind I am putting together some drum audio files to help me play along with the beats we are learning. For example, we did a blues shuffle this week and I have programmed the beat in Logic at different tempos. The idea is to use them as a guide to practice along with.

Here's an example of the basic Blues shuffle (based around a triplet) placing the snare on the 1, then on the 'trip-' and then on the '-let', and then the same with the base drum.

Here is the notation to help. (Please note the last Base Drum placement is not shown) I have found that locking into the quarter note really helps me.

Shuffle the basics

Term 1 Week 1 : What consumes your mind, controls your life

October 7th, 2010

All the enrollment is over and the work begins, well nearly, the first week of classes is a replay of last years introduction - getting to know the tutors etc - which is OK but slightly frustrating if you have been there and you just want to get on with it.

We've got to learn a Cream song for the second week called Outside Women Blues - its not going well so far. I would like to get up and play in class next week. I have got to get over this blockage I have of thinking that every performance has to be perfect. Really, as long as I have tried my best to learn the songs and its arrangement my best is all that I can do, even if I just keep things simple. :crazy: This also follows something that Elliot May a vocal tutor said in LPW, which was that being self critical blocks our creativity - this really resonated with me.

I also really need to get over my fear of playing in classes. I've struggled with this for over a year and it is defying my logic. I would get feed back, more experience, learn from the process - what is it about criticism and failure that worries me for god sake|-|

:idea: I have nothing to loose and everything to gain - even more so that this is the last year at BIMM. I'm going to get up in class, and unleash my creativity. These things have certainly be consuming my mind.

We went to the BIMM freshers gig on Friday night with Ramon and his band-mates and it was really great to hear live music again and meet some old class mates.

In fact the week as a whole was going well until Wednesday afternoon when I have 3 lessons back to back. Crazy, if this had been my first week at BIMM these lessons would have made me run for the hills. Crazy amount of information being given, but I am older and wiser this year, I've just got to keep the faith and keep to my own pace.

BIMM Drum Professional Diploma: The Beginning

September 30th, 2010

This week I enrolled for my Professional Diploma in Drums at BIMM :D:D

I got my timetable - and I'm really pleased :D - It gives me the whole of Monday off and Friday afternoon off, so I get a long weekend every week. I uploaded it to Google calendar.

I took a look at my course work for the year, and it looks like we will be learning the Moeller technique - which should be cool because its a really useful skill to have and will improve my drumming technically.

I am going to write a few more technical blog entries this year. I'm hoping this will help me understand the more technical side of drumming, and to document my ideas of how I have interpreted them and what I find useful. My simple goals this year are; to play in a band at a local venue, go to open mic nights at least once a week or jam with other musician once a week.

I have moved my drums upstairs as we have a new lodger from BIMM doing the same drum course as me. So that should make for an interesting year, it will be great having another drummer in the house - although not so good for the neighbors.

This week I got back behind my acoustic kit - after 3 months of being away. It's really good to be back drumming on acoustic drums. I missed them.:D

So here's to another year and BIMM, it would be great to hear of any ideas for my blog posts that you have.

We don't need no education...

September 19th, 2010

So it's the last week in Toronto coming up, have been practicing my table of time a lot this week - simple sticking pattens RLRL, going from 1/4 to 1/8th to 16th to 32nd. I am pleased that I have finally been able to pick up my speed, but progress is slow, but steady.

We went to see Roger Waters: The Wall, in Toronto which was quite incredible. Stadium rock as it was meant to be, here are some pics.

Roger Waters: The Wall, Toronto

Roger Waters: The Wall, Toronto

Roger Waters: The Wall, Toronto

Let’s give the drummer some...

September 10th, 2010

... [sung James Brown in Cold Sweat]

I've been listening to James Brown trying to get my funk on, and working on funk groves over the last couple of weeks. I've been really pleased with how these are coming on.

When I looked at funk groves last year I found them very difficult as my independence was not up to them. But revisiting a simplified version of Cold Sweat and Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials patterns has really been fun, cannot wait to try playing these groves on my acoustic kit.

I also found a good article on the Vic Firth we site about Clyde Stubblefield and here has some great advice at the end of the article. Link below.

Scissor Sisters and Hoo Doos in the Badlands

September 6th, 2010

The week started in Toronto with an intimate concert with the Scissor Sisters. It was a great show - its amazing how energetic Jake Sheers and Ana Matronic are on stage, and how well they worked the crowd. Some of it was work - I learned a lot from watching their drumming - the importance of looking where you're playing.

The Scissor Sisters

I jetted off on Thursday to join Dave in Calgary for the long Labour Day weekend. On Saturday we did a 2.2km hike up Stony Squaw Mountain (nr Mount Norquay - where we go skiing)



The following wet and rainy day we went to Drumheller - famous for its Dinosaurs and Hoo Doos. The visitor information center has the worlds largest dinosaur outside it.


Driving through the Badlands we went to the Hoo Doos - which look more spectacular in the photos than they do in real life.



That night we had dinner in the sky360 - which is expensive with average food - but a spectacular view.

I'm back to Toronto tomorrow to do more drumming :D:D

All our dreams can come true...

August 29th, 2010

if we have the courage to pursue them... [Said Walt Disney]

And now I'm Qualified! A Qualified Drummer! I'm really pleased and happy that I chose to pursue my drumming!

I got my results through the other week and I passed my Diploma in Modern Music :D BIMM Grade Distinction.

This gives me some sense of achievement but in the end its just a piece of paper - and really the next challenge is to become a more rounded musician with more gigging under my belt. Hopefully passing my diploma will give me the confidence to pursue this goal.

But some of the techniques that I learned last year are becoming more natural - and the more i practice them the easier they are to play.

Its becoming very frustrating finding other musicians to play with - I feel that my transatlantic existence and ageism being contributing factors |-| I need to be able to network better!

I have decided that my next project is to start a band - I want to create something. There's only so much you can get from copying and playing along with tracks in my drum room with an audience of one!

So today I'm going to come up with a plan on how this will work - But if anyone out there knows any band members - tell them to get in touch!

Slaying the 6/8 Beast

August 18th, 2010

The most common time signature in western modern music is 4/4 time. Last term at BIMM we looked at I'm With You by Avril Lavigne - which has a 6/8 time signature - and I just could not get it.

6/8 is called a Compound Time Signature - six 8th notes in a bar. Compound time is reconsigned by the number of beats in a bar - the top number of the time signature - being divisible by 3, except when its 3 itself. So 6/8, 9/8, 12/8 etc are all compound time.

I have found that 6/8 had has a 'swaying' feel to it - try listening to Somebody To Love by Queen, or Never Tear Us Apart by INXS, or Everybody Hurts by REM to hear it.

6/8 is counted 123-456 and this helps find the pulse of the track, as in I'm With You. The pulse of the song is on the 1 and 4 i.e. the beat of each set 3. Getting this down has really helped me playing along to this track, and it's something I did not pick up on in class.

My jazz practice also helped - since Jazz is triplet based (groups of 3). Even though I practiced my Jazz in 4/4 time, playing triplets helped me recognize the pulse of playing 6/8.

Another thing I did that I found useful was to create a play list of 6/8 songs, let me know if you want mine.

So, here I am finally playing I'm With You by Avril Lavigne...

Backcountry Canoing in Algonquin Park

August 9th, 2010

Last year we went Canoeing in the Algonquin Park wilderness with a guide, blog entry here, this year we went on our own!

The preparation to go into the Canadian back county takes sometime. The back county has no phone, mobile or other wise, no shops and very few people, so you have to take everything with you that you will need to survive. Although you can drink the water from the lake you need to filter it - which really does make you consider the value of water - anyways, we have now got our own hand filter pump for the trip, we rented most of the other things we needed but the logistics for a 3 day trip is considerable and on reflection we got most of it right (the only we forgot was the vegetables, which we left in the fridge at home). Next time we need to remember disinfecting wipes, orange juice concentrate, and a saw.

We canoed the same route we did last year and we were both surprised how quickly we managed to portage between lakes and find our campsite in the interior. These campsites which are only accessible by canoe.

Dave Algonquin Park

We started at Magnetawan Lake (Access point 3), canoed and portaged over P135 into Hambone Lake, and then canoed to P295 to Ralph Bice Lake. Our campsite was on Ralph Bice (the red triangle by the 'R' on Ralph on the map).


It takes some time to get use to the silence of the lakes but there is nothing like the early morning - every thing is sill and quiet and the views are just spectacular. I just wished I go have got up earlier, but sleep was difficult, especially at age 44.

Mist rising from the lake Algonquin Park

And the sunset over the wilderness was also great...

Algonquin Park

We had a fantastic campsite, with a great campfire area...

Reading Algonquin Park

We managed to see some great wildlife this time (but sadly no moose or black bears), but we did see a chipmunk (we named Alvin), a Common Garter Snake (harmless, and quite friendly), Dragonflies, Loons, Frogs and Spiders.

Alvin  Algonquin Park

Snake Algonquin Park

Arh Algonquin Park

Bug Algonquin Park

With no TV, there's nothing to do but relax, swim in the lake, canoe, and hunt for fire wood.


And since we bought our back-country oven our campsite cooking is awesome - we had brownies, spaghetti and meatballs, fantastic breakfasts, steak, etc.

Dave Algonquin Park

Overall it was a great trip, and now we know we can do it we may get more adventurous next year B)

Life is a lot like jazz...

July 27th, 2010

...It's best when you improvise... [said George Gershwin]

And part of my plan for the summer was to learn more about Jazz. So I have been practicing my Jazz beats for the last two weeks. And not only playing Jazz, but also listening to lots of Jazz on my iPod, and live at the Toronto Jazz festival, and on the radio.

How's it working out? Pretty good I think. I have concentrated on getting the standard jazz ride pattern working well, while working on different beats and fills.

The standard jazz ride patten looks like this...

Jazz patten

Another thing I've done over the two weeks is record myself - which is really enlightening. It's not until you listen back to yourself do you really hear how you play. The trick is to recognize what is wrong, or feels out of time, and how you work on it to fix it. One of the issues I've had in the past is playing with swing, I feel this is getting better but when I listen back to the recording I was not sure!

The fills that I have been working on have all been around the triple feel, so it's important to work on playing triplets. A trick that I learned was to play these with different sticking, ie RLRL, RLL, and LRR. Using these different pattens also helped me move around the kit and complemented the patten used in the groves that I tried.

Here is a 2 bar fill that I worked on...


It has been fun to listen to a lot of Jazz over the last two weeks and I've really enjoyed listening to Jamie Cullum show on BBC Radio 2, check it out.

I also had a nice eMail from a ex-student of BIMM, so have added the link to my links page, the website sells library music and royalty free drum samples. Check it out...

And go buy some stuff :D

Camping Near Port Dover

July 24th, 2010

Well last weekend we went camping down near Port Dover, Ontario.

The weather was really nice - we could not have asked for nicer. We arrived on Friday night and set up camp while getting eaten alive by bugs.

Camp site

Then we set about using our new camp site oven to bake some brownies and cook a pizza. We had Brownie mix and pizza dough out of a packet. They turned out really well :D

Dave and the Brownies we made

On the Saturday we went for a drive and walk in the county by Lake Erie and a small town called Port Dover which was really nice and full of bikers on their Harlies, me I just wanted coffee.

Beach at Long Point Ontario


On Saturday Dave got excessively drunk, and was hungover for the journey home on Sunday morning |-|

Don't Stop Believin'

July 15th, 2010

The last couple of weeks I have been working on and learning Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.

The drum part’s a heavy one, as the kick is on the downbeat (4 to the floor) and you also need a strong left hand on the high hat as the groove is played open handed and is very consistent. In the past when I have been working on 16th note pattens my left hand has really not been up to the job. So learning this track is an idea to help get my left hand stronger and more consistent.

I have got the basic groove patten worked out and am working this up to speed. You could play this song with just the basic pattern, i.e. without the ride bell accents and it works quite well.

The structure was weird to work out but I finally worked out something that I thinks works:

It looks like this...

Into 9 bars (No Drums)
Verse 8 bars(Vocal "Girl" No Drums)
Verse 8 bars (Vocal "Boy" No Drums)
Riff 8 bars (no drums until bar 8 then crash and kick on the 4 & +)
Verse 8 bars (Crescendo bar 8)
Chorus 16 bars (fill 15 and 16 fill)
Verse 20 bars (Crescendo build starts bar 19)
Chorus 16 bars (fill 15 and 16 fill)
Solo 8 bars
Chorus 8 bars
Out 12 bars

I have got to the point where I can play the main groove (without the ride bell accents) along with the song, although my left fore arm aches, so I am trying to focus on this and relaxing it whilst playing.

Over the coming weeks I will work on trying to place the ride bell accents into the groove. Although I can play them to a click, I have to bring it up to speed and then practice bringing them into the track. Also the fills on bars 15 and 16 of the chorus need some work.

I found this tutorial really useful, check it out.

Hoilday in Toronto

July 9th, 2010

So we have been doing a few things over the last couple of weeks, Dave is working hard and is stressed with job, tax, and our residency application. I am trying to keep looking for things to do and keep his mind on work and things.

Last weekend we spent the day a Toronto Pride which was great, and really hot - we are talking 34C.

It's been sweltering for a week now, but at least the apartment has AC (Canadian for Air Conditioning). Last week we went chasing waterfalls to Hilton Falls and visited the tall ships event in Toronto.

Tall Ships huh

We saw 'Knight and Day' at the movies the other night - which was good fun. We're hopefully off to the movies to see The Last Airbender. I'm not really sure about it as the reviews I read have not been good........

I have been looking for a book to read and have come up with The Magicians . I want to get it before our weekend camping in the wilderness, which we are looking forward too.

Also we have got tickets to see the Scissor Sisters here in Toronto in August :D:D:p These tickets were a lot cheaper than the ones to see Roger Waters in September.

Drum Padawan: Drumming Hints and Tips from BIMM Year 1

July 3rd, 2010

I've been thinking about my first year at BIMM and some of the things I have learned. Here are a few hints and tips for learning the drums that have really helped me over the last year.

1. Be Patient. Learning to play the drums has been, and continues to be, extremely frustrating. Like anything in life some people pick it up faster than others, but keeping it simple and practice gets results. My first tip is be patient. When I started everything took a really long time to learn and was sometimes really frustrating, but things get better. The last 9 months at BIMM I have seen the improvement in many areas but recently I have noticed how I am beginning to pick things up quicker. There's a person in my class that can pick things up really quickly - like within 30 mins - which is just fantastic but I am not there yet. My coordination and timing is really starting to develop by practicing and working on simple exercises.

2. Practice, Practice, and more Practice. Being patient is really important for my second tip which is practice. I sometimes practice three or four times a day trying to do about two hours in total. I have found a routine which works for me. I recommend any drummer to try and find your own methods of practicing. Sometimes you need to focus on a particular area of your playing like a pattern or a song, and sometimes just do a technical exercise. I find breaking these down over the day really helps. Sometimes it is like a car crash, but the next day or week when you come back to it you often find you have improved. So if you are finding something really difficult have a break, have a cup of tea, or go to class, and come back and try again. This is working for me.

3. Work on your weakness and try not to compare yourself with others. Remember you are an individual and your style will be yours. Your focus should be on developing your own style, learning from others and being true to yourself.

4. Set Goals. Set yourself goals, remind yourself of them, keep them clear in your mind and try not to get sidetracked. Manage your time well and stay in control. Remember, frustration is a natural occurrence in anything new you set out to do. But, it's only temporary.

5. Make drumming a habit. If you want to increase your level of drumming fast you obviously need to practice as regularly as possible. When I first started to learn drums I'd practice for 10-20 minutes everyday rather than one or two hours on just one day per week. The key is getting into a habit of quick, regular drum practice sessions. It's the repetition of these short practice sessions that has helped me propel my drumming to the next level. I found that 30 to 40 minute practice sessions 2 or 3 times a day is the level that suits that suits me well.

6. Keep a Practice Diary. I have also found that writing short practice diaries has really helped me. The diary consists of a few exercises, grooves, independence exercises, and drum fills.

7. Learn your favourite songs. I have started to work on memorizing my favorite songs. I have a list of songs that I want to work on. A mistake I have made is learning a song and not revisiting from time to time. Learning songs helps me develop my timekeeping and practice filling in the correct place in a song. I also love drumming to my favourite songs - and enjoy doing them well.

8. Use a metronome. More often than not I practice with a metronome. This part of my drumming practice is the most intense. It also requires the most discipline simply because it's not much fun. Even though it may not be much fun, it is definitely necessary and shouldn't be left out! Set your metronome to 60 beats per minute and play. After practicing at 60 beats per minute, increase your metronome to 80 beats and do the same thing, then again at 100, and so on. Drumming along with a metronome will improve your time keeping.

In conclusion...When organizing my drum practice I break things down into small bite sized pieces with a lot of variety so it becomes do-able and fun.

Term 3 Week 10: The Finale

June 25th, 2010

This week was the last week of the year. I had my exams. My solo performance and unprepared sight reading on Tuesday, Music in Context presentation on Wednesday, and Music Theory on Thursday.

My solo performance went really well, the advice I had received really paid off. I think I have the Merit I wanted. This is a big step for me in confidence, knowing that I can do this and do it well and with feel! :D

My unprepared sight reading also went well, but I messed up bar 7. My Music in Context presentation went very well - Andy Nixon really liked it. And Music Theory was ok, but I'm never confident with it.

So that's it. BIMM is done for the first year and it was amazing. The journey as drummer is really amazing - more so than I could have ever imagined. I have learned so much about drumming, music, and myself.

The next 12 weeks over the summer are about enjoying my drumming, and building on it. This term I focused on 'Feel' and that story is only just beginning.

There is one person needs to be thanked from the bottom of my heart, with all my love for giving me this chance - I love you Dave.

Term 3 Week 9: Good Advice

June 20th, 2010

This week we entered the final week of classes and exam preparation, coming up next week are exams and assessments.

My goal is to get a merit for my solo performance, so I have been seeking advice on how I can best place myself to achieve this. We are given the exam piece about a week before, last weekend I worked on arranging the fills and placement of the groves. And this week we played a mock-exam in Wednesdays Session Styles lesson and got feed back on what we are doing.

The piece has a double, standard and half time feel to it. For me the double time section was causing really issues with my time keeping. So after the lesson I spoke with Andy Nixon on how to tackle this. Usually the advice is to practice a couple of BPM slower, as when you perform the piece in the exam (with nerves and adrenaline) you speed up a little, and therefore play at the correct speed. This was not working for me, so his advice was to practice faster as you can then slow down in performance. Also he said I should concentrate on the section changes and intro, rather than repeatedly playing the whole piece.

The next day I did as suggested, and in Thursdays lesson we had the opportunity to play it again. I think that I played it really well and was pleased with the piece. Although the rest of my classmates marked me as a merit (we scored each other in class), the tutor only gave me a pass, which was a bit frustrating. He did go on to say that I have made progress over the year. Although I would have appreciated a little more confidence boosting support.

He also went on to comment about the working world and competition with the other drummers in my class. I think the real world is about hard work, practice, and luck (which can be good or bad). And that for work we will all be in competition with each other, but we should also help each other out and not just focus on the competition. There is always someone in the universe better, faster, smarter than us, and there will be others not so fast, or smart. It is helping each other which makes us better people and ultimately better drummers.

So I wish everyone good luck next week in what ever we are trying to achieve....:D

Term 3 Week 8: Life Disrupted by Routine

June 12th, 2010

Its been a bit of a routine week at BIMM, going to college, learning new groves, practicing old ones. I'm finally starting to remember the placement of particular groves without looking at my sheets, which is good. I'm also remembering my fills and I'm starting to be able to place these without thinking to much. Trying to play them by instinct I still have trouble with - as I found out on my jam on Friday night.

I've been trying to do at least 14 hours practice a week (aiming for 2 hrs a day). I've been keeping a timer to record the time done. I seem to practice in 40 mins to an hour sessions. Keeping track really has shown me just what it takes to do 2 hours practice each day - things sometimes get in the way, like appointments, motivation, keeping it fresh and interesting, life and college.

I tried to learn Lost by Michael Bublé as I have really wanted to learn this song. I was trying to connect my jazz practice with a pop song. I surprised myself by learning the structure relatively quickly - at least quickly for me.

I also had a great tutorial with Andy Nixon and a technical development class with Preston. We looked at accenting 16th notes. This is a great exercise which I will work on over the summer.

Term 3 Week 7: Nosce te ipsum

June 6th, 2010

Its been a nice and sunny week, and only 4 days as it was a bank holiday on Monday.

I had a lesson with Pat Garvey this week, we continued to work on my independence which is getting a lot better and I am picking things up a lot quicker.

At the end of the lesson I had a great chat with him about feel and swing, it is strange how when someone explains how they see you this helps you understand how you work. Pat explained my need to me. That is to understand exactly how something works before I can apply it. Basically, I need to understand exactly what Swing, Feel, and Touch are before I can do it.

So we discussed in detail how the placement of a hit can influence the feel of a piece and give it swing. Pat explained how you could move/push the placement of a hit closer to the next to help create swing on a standard jazz right hand pattern. And once I understand this, how it can be applied. So I can move the hit backwards and closer to the previous hit, or push closer to the next, and all the variations in between. This really help me visualize what is happening.

I have also been trying to develop a couple of tracks on Garage Band to drum along with to help with my feel and swing, and to work on my grooves and bass drum placement... I'll let you know how it goes.

I played in class again on Friday, I have really got to work on my 16th note grooves. I will look at a couple of songs over the summer to help me improve it.

Term 3 Week 6: Learning about Touch

May 28th, 2010

If there's one theme running through this term its got to be "Feel and Touch". It is something alluding me... or so I thought.

Feel is something I read about in an article in Drummer Magazine, and something that has been asked of us this term more than ever. When I play it is really difficult for me to know whether I am playing with Feel and how that is different than when I am not.

I have been videoing my self lately, in fact most of the time I'm on the acoustics kit, so that I can watch myself and try hear and see when I play with Feel. Two things about this are that you need not be concerned about playing the part/groove accurately, but in time and relaxed. And secondly, having the confidence to play through any mistakes. This is one of my videos...

Recently, I have been working on some jazz patterns as a way of focusing on my independence around the kit. I asked Andy Nixon at the end of a lesson for some advice - He said was that there are two things about jazz - Feel and Touch. So I will also be working on my touch. It's difficult on a electronic kit but on the acoustics is great.

But Andy did give me some feedback after a lesson that I had played with Feel which was really great to hear. So I'm getting there :D

Term 3 Week 5: Unispired

May 19th, 2010

I'm really struggling this week to find my energy. I had a cold, so this has not helped. And the weather is great, so my hayfever has kicked in. I am certainly at a place with my drumming where the ideas I have extend beyond my current skills.

I have been working on my fills and I'm trying to spend at least 30 minutes a day on the acoustic kit trying out different ideas, and trying to keep my fills in time. There is only 5 weeks left of this term and this year, time at BIMM goes so quickly it is difficult to reflect on how things are going as you learn so much.

I have been working on my sight reading using my iPhone app - Mapex Masterclass. I really like this way of learning. And when I'm playing I'm really focusing on trying to read ahead so that I train my self to concentrate on identifying the patten to play and not the pattern I am playing. Also I have been trying to use my song structure to identify that same thing, i.e. using notes to explain what is coming,like fill in to chorus or crash or change to ride. I'm still finding this difficult. Looking ahead while concentrating on playing is a trick I have to learn.

Andy Nixon told us a good bit of advice again today; when learning a new song, the first thing is to concentrate on getting the grove and structure right, strip the song down to its basics and then add layers to the song and build it up. I really liked this idea.

I'm finding my way through both System 1 and System 2 of high hat accents. System 1 has the accent on the beat, while System 2 has the accent on the offbeat. I've started to look at changing from one to the other while playing.

There has been a lot going on lately with BIMM. It seems that our technical classes are getting more intense. We're looking at a lot of Latin rhythms and I am not having the time to really absorb them. Even though we've been revisiting them each class, I've not yet really focused on them in my practice sessions. It's maybe something for the summer holidays :)

Term 3 Week 4: Playing with feel

May 12th, 2010

This week I played Sir Duke in LPW and was pleased with my effort. I really focused on trying to play with feel, I am getting more and more confident playing live. The feed back I got was that I had not played the right hand pattern with swing! But I still felt I did a reasonable attempt at playing the song musically and with feel. I have yet to get a merit in LPW class - or playing at all - so I will need to focus on this over the next few weeks.

Here is me at home playing Sir Duke. The other thing with this song is that it was the first song that I notated myself, as I could find no score! All the fills are improvised around a standard sticking. I tried this to help free my playing around the kit, which I have been working on.

Also, I had a lesson with Pat this week where we looked at playing the high hats accents on the off beat. When I started having lessons with him we began with looking at the accents on the beat, this was to help improve my technique and independence. Initially I was having trouble getting the wrist technique need for this. This week we started to look at high hats accents on the off beat and I found that I was able to already play grooves with this technique a lot easier than before. It just goes to show that my wrist technique is coming on. At the beginning of the lesson I was really having difficulty with the way it felt to play with the accent on the off beat but after about 30mins I began to get it. During practicing this throughout the week I noticed that movement was coming from my elbow and not my wrist, so will have to be aware of this as I move forward.


Term 3 Week 3: The importance of fills

May 9th, 2010

I handed in my last essay of this year this week, not really sure what mark I will get, reflective essays are difficult.

Also I had an audition this week which went well, really felt that I was more confident and really enjoyed the evening. My fills needs some more work as they are still a bit clunky. I did not get chosen for the band but it is only a matter of time, so more adverts I think.

To work on my fills I am practicing everyday I can on the acoustic kit. Andy Nixon has suggested that I try an exercise were you keep time with your high hat foot and then fill around the kit. The point of the exercise is to keep the fill in time, and if you randomly hit the drums you come up with some interesting fills.

I have also been practicing my jazz pattens which are coming on but they still do not sound musical, so I have been thinking about the idea of 'feel' recently. Instead of trying to play everything perfectly I need to play with more 'feel' and not worry about replicating the patten exactly. This week I have been trying this approach with Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. I'm tying to use the structure sheet as a guide by concentrating on using it to help me identify what's coming up next rather playing from it. I think it's a problem with the way I learn to play i.e. using drum scores. So I have only made references to the drum pattens for this song, I am hoping to play in LPW this week so we will see how it goes.

Term 3 Week 2: My Results

May 1st, 2010

Well made it back this week and it has not been a bad old week, managed to get to play Roxanne in LPW, not to great but every time I get up am feeling more and more comfortable.

Had my results back which was really good, I managed to get 9 Passes, 10 merits, 4 Distinctions and 1 NYA, so steady progress, although I think my Music In Context essay which I got 2 distinctions deserved 4.;)

Began to look at moving fill around the kit this week, although I am still struggling with this it is getting better and I am feeling more confident trying new things out.

So I have an auditions for a band next week so I am looking forward to this, hope I can do myself proud. I have also for the first time tried to work out the part to Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder which we are due to play in class in a couple of weeks, so it will be fun to see how well I have done.

Term 3 Week 1: Absent WithOut Leave

April 25th, 2010

So I missed week one of Term 3 :(

I've had a long extra week here in Toronto watching the news and finally seeing the air flight restrictions lifted. So I'm flying back on Sunday night and will miss Mondays lessons but should make Tuesdays.

I've been practicing this week on a couple of songs and working on my sixth note pattern drumming along to Duran Duran. I've also been asked to audition for a rock band when I get back to Brighton so things are looking up on this front, hopefully I can do well and start to play in a band a bit more regularly. I've been reading about playing with "feel" which is has been interesting and will hopefully work on this in the coming months.

I must admit, I'm looking forward to getting back and playing on my acoustic kit again - the electronic kit is good for practicing but it is good to get back behind a real kit and play. I'm also looking forward o getting my results from term 2 assessments.

I have also been practicing a couple of jazz patterns for the last couple of weeks and really pleased that these are coming along. I think that focusing on these has really helped my independence and this has shown its self with the work that I have been doing with Pat Garvey. Some of the patterns that at the end of last term I was still having trouble with I seem to getting to grips with, but it is important to see how I fair with this work on the acoustic kit.

Term 3 Week 1: Dan vs The Volcano

April 18th, 2010

It's been a weird week!

I was looking forward to getting back to the UK to start Term 3 at BIMM next week. I had done lots of work on ACDC - Back in Black, and The Police - Roxanne, for Pre-Production and LPW in week 1. But it looks like I will not get the opportunity to play these as I am stuck in Toronto because of the Volcano.

On the plus side I am able to spend more time with Dave (and spend more of his money shopping:>) and I have becoming an expert on weather pattens and volcano eruptions!!

I am disappointed that I will not get to play Back in Black as I feel that it was one of the tracks this year that I was really good at, but I will have to look at others coming up and practice more.

It was great to get back drumming this week after a week without it, but am starting to miss my acoustic set. I have managed to get some new sticks and I'm trying out slightly thicker American Jazz 4.

Whistler skiing

April 10th, 2010

Me and Dave have been skiing in Whistler for the week. Stayed at the Fairmont Chateau which was really nice. Our days consisted of breakfast on the mountain then skiing until about 1 or 2 o' clock then some time spent in the jacuzzi and spa.

Dave Skiing

We went on the Peak 2 Peak cable car. It's the cable car that joins the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It holds the world record for the longest free span between ropeway towers — 3.03 kilometres.

View from gondola on Peak 2 Peak

I hurt my knee which seemed to affect my skiing mojo but it did start to come back towards the end of the week. I discovered that I'm really unfit, and will be working on that when i get back.

We also celebrated Dave's 39th birthday which was nice. On his birthday Dave's managed to get down his first double black diamond which was cool :>

D@n skiing before he lost his mojo

This was also the first time I have not drummed for a week since starting over two years ago and I cannot wait to get back to my kit. Dave is starting to think I'm obsessed |-|

It's Holiday time

April 1st, 2010

So we are off skiing to Whistler next week :D.

A whole week of not drumming, along time since that happened |-|

This week I have been practicing different tracks for next term and practicing my sight reading with my iPhone app

I have been learning Roxanne by the Police which is tough and I found this really helpful site, which is amazing as it has a online lesson on the track.

The visuals are really a great way of identifying the placement of the beats. I am pleased that I have managed to begin to learn this song. I have simplified it a bit and still have a lot of work before class next term.

Also, I have answered a couple of adds on Gumtree in my search for drumming in a band!

My process for learning songs

March 25th, 2010

I have started to look at the tracks we are going to play next term, so I thought I would write about the process that I use to help me play along to the tracks and ultimately play in class.

Until I went to BIMM I never really thought much about the process of learning a track other than finding a drum tab or score and following it line by line learning each part as it comes. BIMM teaches you a more structured process for learning tracks - This is one of the most useful processes that I have learned at BIMM - so I thought I'd tell you about it.

Each week we look at a couple of tracks to play, in Pre-production you are meant to play as accurately as you can to the original but the Fridays Rhythm lesson you can simplify it but trying to keep it appropriate. So here are a couple of ideas that I use, as I am still struggling to learn by ear:

1, Write down the structure of the track (Intro, verse, chorus, middle eight, riff, etc). Then count the number of bars in the into verse chorus middle 8 etc. If you have problems working out the structure get a copy of the lyrics as this can help with identify the different parts.

2, If you can listen and identify the parts being played all is well and good. But I can't always do that, so I look for tabs and drum notation first on the internet, and for videos on YouTube.

3, I then look for common groove patterns, for example the verse and chorus are usually a repeating patten, so work these out first.

4, I use my structure sheet to identify any repeating pattens as this help me visualize how the repeating pattens work in the track and were the changes are.

5, I then look at the fills or patten changes that usually link the different parts of the track, I have found it useful to listen repetitively to the section changes and try and work out the sticking pattern for the fill. Sometimes I start with playing the fill on just the snare drum, which helps me get the right patten before I then try and move this around the kit.

6, I then begin to put all of the above together, sometimes playing along with the track other times just to a click. At this stage I play through the track at least three times in a row identifying areas which still need work and then work on these areas.

This process seems to work for me, would be interested if anyone one has other ideas or advise for me on this.

Term 2 Week 10

March 19th, 2010

Well that is term two over, I had no idea when I started last September how quickly each term would pass.

I had my assessments this week, my solo performance did not go as well as I would have liked and I would have been disappointed if I did not know for sure that I was improving, so my results this term in my assessments may not be all they should be. But I have really felt that my playing and my confidence coming on. My Theory exam on Thursday was tough not sure how I have done but we will have to see. I think one of the problems I have with music theory is that I do not use this in a practical setting, in class we do not go into the how use of key signature in a musical setting. If you are learning another instrument, not the drums, you may link what you learn in theory with playing your instrument.

In the last lesson of term we had the opportunity to play any track we liked in class. I chose Another Brick in the Wall as it gave me a chance to revisit the first song I learned to play on the drums just over a year ago, so some of the lads video each other and this was me.

So looking forward to the holidays in Toronto and Whistler.

Term 2 Week 9

March 12th, 2010

Well its revision week in most classes this week.

Played Sex is on Fire in pre-production on Monday and was lucky to be able to play it in LPW, missed a fill and lost time in one of the chorus but I really enjoyed it. I have really been pleased with my recent playing in the last couple of LPW classes.

I've been working on my essays and looking at this terms solo performance assessment, which is a lot more difficult this term than last. After a revision in class on Thursday I have made a few changes, Pino suggested that I simplify a couple of the fills and showed a really good transition fill into the guitar solo section which I will add.

I've finally settled on a pair of sticks, these are American Jazz 5 from Vic Firth

I had a lesson with Pat Garvey on Wednesday and I must thank him for helping with my Triple Ratamacue. After spending a while looking at this it is really coming on, so I will look to add this rudiment to my weekly practice.

I went to see Frankie's (one of my class-mates) band - Sculptures - on Friday and they were really good, I would definitely go and see them again.

Term 2 Week 8

March 6th, 2010

It's been a nice week - the sun has started to shine and it is been great to walk outside in the sun. There's nothing quite like walking along Brighton sea front on a sunny spring day. Had some mates around from BIMM on Thursday watched a bit of Star Wars, had a bit to drink.

I've not played much in class this week but really surprised myself by playing in Performance Prep, we had to learn Teenage Kicks about five weeks back, I had a look at it then and could just about get away with playing it, nothing fancy but we never got around. So this week with 15 mins left we get around to it and bugger me I get up after being picked out by Jake (one of my tutors) to play. I get up and just gave it a shot, I would never have had the confidence to do that 10 weeks backs, it's crazy but I really liked it.

So assessment time is here again, and only two weeks left and I'll back in Toronto. I'm also working on Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon and hope to play in class on Monday. I've really got to get my essay finished and look at some theory revision, ha ho the life of a drummer :> B) :D

Term 2 Week 7

February 27th, 2010

Its been a great week - I played three times in class, and finally manged to play London's Calling in LPW and it was great - I think I played with confidence, I kept it simple.

I had to relearn the middle eight as Vinnie was not happy with what I had done, so we worked on something that would go in class and I practiced it over the next couple of days. I really enjoyed playing in the last couple of LPW classes, so am going to give Sex on Fire a look to see if I can learn it sufficiently enough before the last class in a couple of weeks.

Here's me doing London's Calling.

I've been concentrating on researching my end of term essays this week and have finally finished the first draft of the Music in Context, I am looking at Kate Bush and its been fun replaying her old albums. I must say that Hounds of Love is still one of my all time favorite albums and I have been listening again and focusing on the rhythm parts and they are hypnotic. Really classy stuff.

I played Blondie's Heart of Glass in class on friday and I was not happy with it - I could have done better - but there is someting about playing in that drum studio which just gets me so nervous, really I feel some much more confidence on stage in LPW.

I also worked on my grip and double stoke with Pat Garvey, it was interesting to really focus on grips and understanding the difference between the controlled stroke and bounce. I am really getting a lot from my one to ones with Pat.

Term 2 Week 6

February 20th, 2010

Another quick week, and I had a horrid cold!

I've been feeling that I'm making progress, I'm starting to learn songs quicker, and picking up grooves quicker, my independence is coming on and then I have have a Technical Development class which just raises the bar another 5 feet |-|.

I played in Pre-Performance - the Rocks song - and also played in LPW, I was given a bit of advice by Jason Knight after my performance in LPW on Weds, which went a bit like this "you can get away with a lot in this game if you look and play with confidence" this was in relation to me not coming in or finishing the song strongly. Well it is the Clash next week so really, really want to get up and play this song and am going to try and be aware of my attitude when I perform this track.

I'm still struggling with music theory.

I also got my conditional offer of a place next year on the BIMM Professional Diploma :D

Term 2 Week 5

February 14th, 2010

Well it is also week 15 of the year, so that means half way through the year. This terms is really going quickly.

I have started on this terms written assignments. My music in context is on Kate Bush, really enjoying reading about her and listening to her albums again while I write the essay.

I had a good week in class, played twice, which is good, starting to feel more comfortable with this. I've been practicing Rocks by Primal Scream for next weeks Pre-Production and hopefully LPW. Check out the video below, one thing I have noticed when I reviewed this was that my right hand is a lot more relaxed, Dave says limp, but anyway, the work I have been doing with Pat Garvey is really paying off.

Had a really good lesson this week with Pat. I find him really good teacher. Started to look at my rudiments, a lot of work is needed I think.

In Technical Development we looked again at exercises that they call pure independence which looks at working the body's upper and lower limbs, I have decided to add these exercises to my daily routine.

Term 2 Week 4

February 6th, 2010

So this week has been one where the excitement of the first couple of weeks has died down a bit. I have started to look at new songs coming up later in the month. These are Get your Rocks Off and Londons Calling. I've got two weeks to get these ready to play in Pre-Prroduction and hopefully LPW.

This week I had a couple of really positive tutorials, one looking at the grooves in Londaon Calling and the other a gereral catch up.

Tues was a really intense afteroon of drumming - I must have got on for at leat three hours, worked on all my practice routines. But I also broke my amp, which is annoying. I was really getting to like drumming along on the acoustic set while playing music and the metronome through the amp.

I also was really amazed at how quickly I picked up a high hat off beat groove, things are strating to fall in to place a bit quicker for me this term.

And, I've had a number of calls in reply to my add but nothing concrete yet.

Hopefully some playing in class next week and maybe a video too.

Term 2 Week 3

January 30th, 2010

This week I played the Muse song in pre-production class, which was fun. I was pleased that I managed to do this and I am now trying to learn a new song to play in class and hopefully in LPW.

We had a great styles session lesson this week looking at Toto's Hold The Line, which made me listen to other America rock bands like REO Speedwagon and Foreigner, I forgot how much I liked this type of music.

Having no luck finding a band both in- and out-side BIMM which is a bit frustrating. I have put up a couple of adverts around BIMM so lets see if that brings any response.

The advert says "Committed Drummer looking for a Rock, Pop Band. Influences include: Beatles Fleetwood Mac Oasis Hendrix Muse Springsteen PSB Pink Floyd Queen Kate Bush" What do you think?

My practice has seemed to be unfocused this week, which I put down to starting to learn new songs, which for me can be a slow process. I am getting quicker and by the end of the week I have been able to drum along to the new songs, so hopefully can really start to get grooving along to these next week. The thing I have to do first is to tackle the main groves, and routinely play these over and over again to a click, slowly bringing the tempo up to that of the song. This is the same process with any fills in the song, this can be a slow process for me, but even I can tell that I am picking things up quicker than I did a year ago.

I also hooked the metronome to the amp this week, which is great, if not a bit loud, but it does let me practice on the acoustic kit with a click out loud, which helps me hear the drums better than when I have headphones on. I can also play around with the dynamics on the kit like playing louder, softer all the time trying to keep to the click.

The Bo Diddley Beat!

January 28th, 2010

Last week we looked at the Bo Diddley beat in class and I was total lost....I still am finding it very hard to mimic what happens in the class room. So I have done some research and have been working on the Bo Diddley Beat over the last couple of days. Once I was able to work out the sticking (R – l – r – L – r – l – R – l – | r – l – R – l – R – l – r – l ) I start playing 1/8 note strokes, using just right-left singles with accents on the hits in bold. I have been practicing this slowly and am working up the temp and it is coming along.

Term 2 Week 2

January 23rd, 2010

What a week, Monday started with pre-production where I got up and played Taxman by the Beatles, I have been working on this song for a while but discovered that on the original version there is no high hat and I had learned it playing high hat on the verse and ride on the chorus - but hey it works. I am still struggling with the fills on the song and cannot get them consistently right. In class, I only got the last fill spot on. This week I also played Taxman in Live Performance Workshop, ie with other people on stage, which was the first time. The bizarre thing is I seem to be less nervous when on stage than when I play in class.

I have also be practicing Time is Running out by Muse, which is coming along and hopefully I will be able to play it next week in class. I am still losing time on some of the fills. Really funny thing this week was I managed to get a good video take on me drumming long to the Muse song and uploaded to my YouTube channel, only to have it removed due to copyright infringement. It appears that Youtube and Warner Music Group are have a licensing issue.

So I will upload it here, so here it is.....enjoy.

Also got my Term one assessments result, I managed to get 2 Distinction, 9 Merits, 8 Passes, 2 Not Yet Achieved :) The funny thing when I saw the 2 D's I thought I has failed, as I still think in terms of old O'level grades ie A B C D F.... it was only when I sat down later that night and took a long look that I realized that D meant Distinction.

I also tried really hard to learn a song in a week, the song was Don't Go Away by Oasis, I managed to get the structure down and practiced throughout the week but the execution in class was poor, will try again this week.

I have got to try and play more in class this term so I have identified songs which I should be able to learn and have develop a timetable to practice them, so I have looked at them before the classes, this should give me a better chance of getting them right, I still find it difficult to mimic in class.

Lots of ideas going around my head after a drumming masterclass with Steve White. Which I must say was some of the most inspired and amazing drumming I have ever seen.

Term 2 Week 1

January 16th, 2010

Its been a busy week back, college started right back where it left of last term. It was great to get back see everybody, although the weather here has been a nightmare, with all the snow. I just had enough time to begin to recover from jet lag by the weeks end when I got a cold, so Thursday and Friday was tough, but managed to get through alright.

Had a private lesson on Wednesday, with Pat Garvey. He has stated to develop my independence on the kit and this week we looked at the Moeller method, which is really weird as it is like going back to basics learning an new sticking approach, although I have looked at this before with Robin Mason in Toronto, I am know applying it to grooves and pattens on the kit.

We are also going to be looking at an Oasis track next Friday in class so I thought that I would like to challenge myself to learning a song in a week and hopefully playing it in class! So I have found the song Don't Go Away on a CD in the loft, worked out the structure today, and will try and learn it by next Friday. I'll let you know how I get on. Two other exciting bits of news are that we should get our exam results back next Tuesday and it looks as if we are about to become property owners in Toronto.

Term 2 Starts

January 11th, 2010

Well term 2 is here, off to first class in about 30 mins but just to let you know that I have been working on a couple of songs over Xmas and new year and here is the first of them, Taxman by the Beatles still needs work but I am please with it as the fill is fast and took a while for me to get it up to speed.

Let me know what you think and here is to term two.

First post of 2010

January 2nd, 2010

So what will the next decade bring? Well I hope that the people of the world can all get along better than it did in the last ten years and that if we dream together of a better world then we can create one.

I have been listening to the songs that we learned in the first term at BIMM over the holidays. The good thing is that I am being exposed to different types of music, which I may not have listened to before, although I am a great believer that music finds you when you are ready to listen to it.

So my top 3 from term one are:

1, Baby Love by Mother's Finest
2, Bulls On Parade by Rage Against The Machine
3, Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand

Lets hope next term I can get to play them to a reasonable level so that I can play them in class.

Xmas 2009

December 30th, 2009

Its been a quiet Xmas in Toronto, amazingly there has been on snow in Downtown. We have been to see Avatar with was amazing and yesterday we went to Second City to see a comedy sketch show. We have been looking a number of apartments and put in an offer on the perfect place but for some reason the seller did not what to sell it until May!! Dave is keen to get some where soon as living a temporary accommodations is getting unsettling for him.

Santa arrived on the 24th with gifts, Apple TV, drum tuners and sticks for me, and zoom lens, gloves, and coat for Dave.

I also went shopping for some new clothes in the sales.

I have been drumming a bit each day working on a couple of songs for next term and working on Bass single pattens.

No idea as what we are going to do for new years eve yet.

Well that's it for 2009, many thanks for reading and following me over the last year. I hope you have a great new year and that your wishes come true as mine are.

Term 1: The Retrospective

December 19th, 2009

This blog entry was written as an Interview by Dave….

What was the best bit?

Playing live on stage at the Concorde as part of the end of term assessment, even though I didn't make a very good job of it. I found it very exciting - as soon as I came off stage I wanted to go back and do it again (and it wasn't even in front of an audience - so I can imagine what a buzz that would be). I wasn't as nervous as I thought it would be - I was really up for it.

What was the worst bit?

I don't think there was a worst…but in the first week for enrollment there was a lot of hanging around…waiting for timetables and things.

In what ways are you a better drummer?

I'm slightly a bit more confident. I have a better understanding of what a drummer does, other than just drumming. One of the things I have learned is the ability to listen to a song, break it down, work out its structure, and play along to it. I still don't hear everything, but considering I had no concept of it before. I am now able to use different techniques like video, drum scores off the internet to help me get the drum part right to songs. I'm starting to understand what to play.

How has it been to be back at school?

Weird at times, but we all have the same thing in common - being at BIMM - we might come at it from different angles, but that's life. The drumming group I'm in are a good bunch of people.

What have you most enjoyed?

Setting up my drum room and jamming with Ramon.

What are your tutors like?

I don't view them in the same way I did tutors when I was at school. They tell interesting stories, but once you've heard them 30 times it gets repetitive. I find the student-tutor dynamic and interesting to watch. It's fun being around young people.

Have you found a band?

Not a permanent band, but I had an audition outside BIMM that may go somewhere. I need to get with people whose focus and goals are the same as mine. I'd like to start doing different types of musical projects with people - and BIMM is the place to do it.

Was Term 1 difficult?

Yes, it was very difficult. Getting used to studying again was hard. I find it really difficult in drum class to mirror the tutor, coz you have to watch them and then turn it around - its not like a mirror. But now I pick things up quicker than I did at the start of term.

Has it made you more enthusiastic about music?

Oh yes, I want it more now. Whether I can do it or not I still question, but I definitely want it. I have found the rebel in me has started to show his ugly face again, I tend to want to do it my own way and follow my own path. But I know its important to listen to these people that have been there and done it. But equally, I don't like to be told to do anything - never have.

Has BIMM made you a better musician?

Its made me think more creatively again, its something I had lost, its easy to stop being creative over the years, and BIMM has made me want to be more creative.

How did you do in the exams?

I'm anxious to find out what my end of term results are, which will be interesting.

In summary…?

Overall, its been a fantastic 10 weeks - its been great - I'm drumming every day and it really is fun!

Back in toronto for Christmass

Week 10: End of Term

December 12th, 2009


My first term at BIMM is complete. This week was exams and assessment week. On Wednesday we had to submit our Music in Context and Music Business essays, Thursday was the Music Theory exam and finally on Friday morning my solo performance. Spare time this week was taken up with revision and practicing the solo performance. I think one of the interesting things about this week was that you have no idea as to the amount of revision and practicing that you do and how mentally tiring this is. Friday afternoon I had to rest as I was feeling so exhausted, this ended up with me having a afternoon nap.

Ramon and I went along to the end of term gig on Friday night which was fun, it is nice to get out once in a while.

So I will have to wait until next term to see how I did in the exams, so it is time to relax and have some quality time with Dave in Toronto.

Week 9: Nearing the end of Term 1

December 6th, 2009

This week has been about getting ready for our assessments. My essays are done, my solo performance is coming on.

Music theory is like another language to me. I have found these website really helpful and hope that with a bit more revision the exam on Thursday will go well.

I am really looking forward to getting back to Canada in a weeks time and having sometime relaxing, with Dave over the holidays. It is funny how different people give you advice - one tutor advised getting away from the drums for a while over the holidays and another said keep on practicing.

I also met up with some old work colleagues after classes on Friday which was great.

Week 8: Things are coming together

November 28th, 2009

This week started off playing live at the Concorde 2 with my BIMM band for this terms assessment, and end of term auditions. Lets just say it was fun and I really enjoyed the experience - it just makes me want to do more. I thought I would have been more nervous as this was my first time play live on stage, but I was cool about it. Anyway for us to have got onto the end of term gigs we needed to rehearse a lot more than we did, so there is a lesson for next term. Another lesson is to book rehearsal space well in advance to make sure its available and everyone has it in diaries. Here is the video of us performing; I’ll let you know what grade I get next term. We also have to find our own bands next term!

Finally starting to get somewhere with music theory, although intervals are still a bit of a mystery.

I also have to get ready my solo performance piece for assessment at the end of term. I have been working on that and hope to video some time late next week to post on here.

I have had a bit of time to reflect on the passed eight weeks and I must say although they have gone by at the speed of light, I am really enjoying the experience. Playing and being around music is a lot fun, but I am getting ready for my holiday and seeing Dave in Toronto in 16 days time…..

Week 7: The rush to Assesments

November 21st, 2009

This week the talk has been of assessment and the end of term one which is three weeks away.

So there is quite a lot to get done in the next couple of weeks.

On Tuesday next week the BIMM Band that I am in will have their assesment......

I have video myself playing my part....don't have the 16th note triplets yet!!

Week 6: The BIMM Band

November 14th, 2009

The highlight of this week was getting together with the members of my BIMM band. Over the week I played along to 'Please Mr. Postman' and 'Call Me', I wrote out the song structures and worked on the drum patterns which I simplified considerably. I must admit this was fun although after listening to these songs for the 36th time one does tend to go quite mad.

When the band got together on Tuesday at Brighton Electric rehearsal studio I was feeling a little bit nervous but also pleased with the work that I had done. So for the next couple of hours we rehearsed the songs but our singer wasn't comfortable with them. Then Corey one of the band members came up with the idea of playing 'Come Together' by the Beatles. The guitarists knew the song but our singer and I did not. Fortunately, the trusty iPhone came into its own and I managed to find the lyrics and we spent the next half an hour working over the song. For me the drum part was an enigma but I managed to drum along with them. And so it was that we found our song for the end of term assessment.

With the end of term assessment looming, I have been trying to get to grips with 'Come Together' and I have to say that the 16th note triplets in the intro and bridge parts elude me - hence I have changed them to 8th note triplets. I am sure that the musical world will one day forgive me for messing with a Beatles song. I like the idea of this song, the title is a reflection of the band; Five people meeting and coming together to work on a piece for their assessment. I hope we can do it justice and that it also inspires us. We are due to play at a mock audition on Thursday next week following a further rehearsal on Tuesday.

One other thing this week, on Friday we played a game in Rhythm class. You are given a fictional sum of money and have money deducted for mistakes made when you play up front, I came away with £100 from £200, but I think that the class were being easy on me and not pointing out all of my mistakes. I have said before they are a great group of people.

On reflection I have really started to enjoy playing with other musicians and my nerves are getting a little less, but playing in front of the other drummers still brings me out in a cold sweat.

Week 5: The rollercoaster that is BIMM

November 7th, 2009

Week Five

It has been a funny old week – to be honest its been a bitch – don’t ask me why, it just felt like it!

Pre-production was not as bad as usual, I managed to work out the main groves to the song “Baby Love” by Mothers Finest. This was a step forward as at the beginning of the lesson I had no idea, and I managed to get the groves by playing by ear. On the previous songs I had found things on the Internet to help me prior to the lesson, but this one was so obscure that there was nothing available – so I had to do it in the class. I also recorded the lesson this week, so I could play it back later. I found it really useful but annoyingly I could not play in time with the track from the lesson. I later found out that the beat starts on the ‘and’ of 1, and not on the 1, which I had been starting on. So no wonder I couldn’t keep in time with the recording.

Also this week I met up with my BIMM Band for this term, we decided to try and learn three songs in the next couple of weeks to play at the auditions for the end of terms gigs. We’ll choose the one we can play best for our audition. The auditions also forms part of this terms assessment. The songs we are to learn are ‘Please Mr Postman’, ‘Call Me’ and an original song which two of the guitarists will come up with. So most of this week has been learning ‘Please Mr Postman’, which I have finally got a handle on (although I have simplified the drum part considerably). So I have now got to work on ‘Call Me’, which I have had a look at and will simplify the beat again. We are due to meet on Tuesday for a rehearsal so I need to feel confident in playing these songs. This is really new stuff for me – five weeks ago I had never played with another musician. If I could go back a year, I would have looked for more opportunities to play with other musicians as am feeling somewhat behind in this area.

Also this week, Ramon and I went to the first BIMM gig of the year, which was a night of BIMM vocalists performing with the band of Amy Winehouse. This was a really incredible show, and I was very impressed with all of the performances. Watching the drummer play on stage was good for me as well – he was really relaxed and confident in what he was doing.

Week 4 at BIMM

November 1st, 2009

So it’s week 4 at BIMM, next week is half way through the first term. I have been put into a BIMM band this term so I am trying to arrange for everyone to meet, looks like this will be on Tuesday, so that will be interesting.

Really messed up in Session Styles this week. I thought I have the beat to "Get on the Floor" by Michael Jackson, went up to the kit and was out of time and messed up the off beat groove part, this was really frustrating as I really throught I had it.

The really big thing this week was the jam session I had on Thursday night. Having had a bit of time to reflect on this, it was the first time I really just played the drums without thinking about what I was playing to much - playing by instinct - the problem was I have a limited number of things I can play by instinct. But to borrow a line from a film “I could almost see the remote” (i.e. In Star Wars when Luke is learning to beat the remote by instinct with blast visor down)

I also had an extra lesson with a private tutor, this was to get a little extra help. Really I learned one important fact about sticking and how this works. Sometimes you see sticking on drum patterns as RLRL or RRL, the alternate stroke (RLRL) is the most common. It is used when the notes follow each other in time i.e. without any rests. So when you have RRL, for example, I learned that there is a rest in between the two right hand sticking - i.e. the its RLRL but with the first L not played - R_RL. I have no idea if this applies on all sticking patterns as I have been shown other approaches. But I have also be told to do what sticking is best for me, and at least this approach seems logical. We also learned in Music Theory about eight basic Rhythmic Patterns, so I will be applying this sticking approach to them, playing each day so that I can play them by instinct. Wish me luck.

Have tried to show the eight basic Rhythmic Patterns with the sticking.

We also look at a basic shuffle beat which was interesting, I really like the shuffle and am looking at this with a fresh approach since the lesson.

Jamming Session

October 30th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I placed an add on the Gumtree advert site looking for other musician to jam with and possible form a band and tonight I meet up with a some people for a 3 hour jam session and it was amazing, I held my own and helped create music :D:D it was really fun and exciting. The people were really nice and welcoming to what I did, I just kept things simple and solid and it seemed to work.

Confidence knocked

October 24th, 2009

It’s been another full week at BIMM. The week started with a look at the history of Motown, which was interesting. It was amazing to learn some of the musical concepts they used in songs – like vocal response – and that Motown was the first “Hit Factory”.

Pre-Production was frustrating as usual, although I had spent hours on the song I just could not quite get the fills right playing in class. What’s more annoying is that when I got home and sat behind my drums I managed to pull it off using my short hand rather than the music score. I’m developing this short hand to enable me to ‘see’ the sounds. Its just written letters to identify the sound, feel, and timing of the rhythm or fill.

In Style Sessions we looked at Mitch Mitchell, and played along to Bold as Love and Foxy Lady. The key thing I picked up in this lesson was to play with dynamics, lightly and with confidence. We also looked at some triplet fills, which I have seemed to get the hang of relatively easily. I also worked on my own triplet fills and building them into my own routines, but this requires confidence that this week has been knocked a bit. I cannot really put my finger on this but it may have to do with the amount of new stuff that I am learning and my ability to assimilate this information. I think one of my problems is that I over analyze things instead of just learning and having fun but I do feel the pressure to do well on this course.

In Performance Prep I did get to play on stage with a band! My instrument was not the drums but the Tambourine, which I found incredibly difficult. Not only was this my first time on a stage but it was the first time playing a tambourine. The song was The Beatles Day Tripper, which has a great tambourine part, and I didn't get it perfect but I had a go. I want to play the drums on stage!

The second full week.

October 17th, 2009

The second full week here at BIMM and it has been full on, classes have proceeded a pace, I have had a couple of tutorials to discuss various things.

The week kicked off learning about Bob Dylan, I am not really a fan but I came away thinking he was in the right place at the right time, although for someone so young in the early sixties he did have a wise head on this shoulders, his lyrics seemed to have inspired a generation.

In this weeks style class we looked at Keith Moon, the main thing that I got out of this was to enjoy every minute on the drums, really use them to express my freedom, just put a record on and play along to it, go on try it!!!! One key thing we were told was to try and lean back before performing the fill as this may help relax you while executing the fill.

Performance Prep was weird, we watched video performances of three songs by different bands with the idea of trying to establish what made a song work on stage. The weird thing was I had not heard of any of the songs unlike most my classmates. And this coming before the week we are supposed to pick a cover song to work on and perform with people from the class, some fun times ahead I see..

In music theory the key message was that I have to get away from counting the beat (as in 1+2+ etc). Funny thing was that that same night I was jamming with Ramon while he was working on his song and he also told me to stop counting the beat in my head. I find difficult to not count, so I worked on this for the rest of the week and am trying to verbally sound the beat in my head (do-dah-dah-do), this seems to be coming along, apparently you have to see the sound!

The highlight of the week has to be having a master class with Pete Thomas, this was very inspiring.

He really did impress on us the need to work hard, practice but above all have fun.

Its been crazy so far this week

October 15th, 2009

Its been crazy so far this week, with Dave over from Canada for the weekend and the days at BIMM have just flown by, not really had time to check in on my blog but will write a post on Sunday covering the week, will try and focus on picking up on things not covered in the books, titbits from the tutors, if you like.

I did play in front of the class again this week, which was cool but the real test is on stage in LPW, so I thought you might want to see a picture of the BIMM House; I have Live Performance Workshop here on Wednesday’s.

BIMM House

The first full week at BIMM

October 11th, 2009

The first full week is over, and on reflection, it has been an interesting and challenging week.

The practical classes have been the most rewarding but also the most challenging – Pre-Production, Session Styles, Live Performance Workshop (LPW), and Performance Preparation. We also had a number of theory classes.

In Pre-Production and LPW we learn to analyse and perform a new song every 2 weeks. Pre-production involves learning the song by ear and analysing the drum part. This is really new to me since I have always learnt new stuff from sheet music. My classmates are the opposite, and very familiar with learning by ear. This is something that I will have to work hard on – I may need to take additional lessons.

Session Styles is all about looking at other drummers and what makes them tick. We learn to pick up ideas from their styles and influence our own. This week it was Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts. I had difficulty at first with Charlie Watts’ style of missing the high-hat when hitting the snare but having worked on this, I’m finally getting it.

Performance Preparation is all about what makes a great performance on stage. This class was very interesting and a lot came out about what it takes to create a great performance.

LPW is all about getting on stage and playing the song we analysed in Pre-Production with other musicians. OMG – this is really scary for me. We all have to learn our part and nail the arrangement for it to sound good and work on stage.

On the whole it was a very busy week. I did find it a tiring week - I cannot remember when I felt so mentally tired. This really showed up just before the last lesson on Friday, Rhythm and Extended Studies, which look likes being a really interesting end to the week. I was in the common room on my own at about 4pm and I thought I'd put my feet up and rest my eyes. I fell asleep. Thank god that the drummers from my class came in, which woke me up....

A milestome reached

October 9th, 2009

The other day in Technical Development class as BIMM I played for the first time in front of the class, it was really scary and exciting at the same time, it was also the largest group of people I have ever played in front off.

I seem to have been really lucky and have been placed with a group of really nice people whom are really friendly and supportive, so lets hope that over the next 30 weeks we can help each other out and support each other in the same way that we had to do this week - thanks guys and thanks to all the great tutors this week.

First couple of days at BIMM

October 6th, 2009

So it Tuesday and the first couple of days have been amazing and scary....

Having lessons about music is so great, but also discovered yesterday that we had to learn the songs by ear....Panic was my first reaction, although they did say that they can get the drum score for me which will be really helpful. But I also want to be able to learn a song by ear so really looking forward to Fridays Sight Reading and Ear Training lessons.

Boss DB-90 Metronome Review update

October 4th, 2009

Boss DB-90 Metronome Review

Just wanted to let you know that I have found that the Boss DB-90 Metronome has a voice setting that talks the beat to you ie, 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & which is perfect for learning a new drum groove as you hear the counting and follow along with it, it has really helped me keep in time with my eight note grooves.

BIMM lessons start on Monday

October 2nd, 2009

Had a great BIMM event at the Theater Royal Brighton today, lots of talks from people from EMI and A/R people really great to be exposed to this type of thing.

BIMM Diploma Day

October 1st, 2009

The other day all this years “Artist Development Diploma in Modern Music intake for BIMM assembled at the Concord 2 in Brighton to have an overview of the year ahead.

The event introduced some of the tutors and was done in a very innovative way using music and bands made up of other BIMM students and tutors.

The BIMM ethos was explained and that playing the simple things well, with hard work and commitment we can all achieve our realist career goals and develop as confident solid musicians.

That night me and Ramon went to see a couple of bands that were playing in the Brighton Live event taking place in and around Brighton this week.

We got to see an acoustic set by a member of the Wise children

The Mojo Fins,

We ended the night watching “The Special Ks”, whom just happen to have played at the earlier Diploma day event, I really liked this band.

BIMM Initial Tutorial

September 30th, 2009

At BIMM they have a tutorial program, which is there to help you get the most out of your time at BIMM and your course. The initial tutorial is an opportunity to discuss your ambitions, career goals, strengths and weaknesses. I met my tutor and had my first tutorial last week.

Funnily I thought that goal setting would have been over when I left my job in local government – where goal setting is not an enjoyable process. But crazy as it sounds, at BIMM it has focused my mind and I am more determined to try my best to achieve them.

And my career aims over the short and long time are now documented to become a working and earning Professional Musician, with a diverse drumming style, and to gain gigging experience and build on my musical network.

I’m glad I thought about the tutorial beforehand, as I was able to list out some musical influence and any concerns I have before starting the course.

In case you’re curious, my musical Influence are; Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, Prince, Abba, The Beatles, Oasis, Toyah, Pet Shop Boys, ELO, Fleetwood Mac, Freemasons, Bruce Springsteen, Tommy Igoe, and Simon Phillips.

Boss DB-90 Metronome Review

September 27th, 2009

I have been using the Boss DB-90 Metronome for a couple of weeks now and have found it very useful. The DB-90 has a load of useful functions to enhance your drum practice. The Rhythm Coach function with an onboard mic is really handy, and after a quick read of the instructions easy to setup and use. The Rhythm sliders make it easy to control the volume of the notes being played. The jog wheel is great making it fast to change tempos. I have not explored many of the other features yet - like the different voices or the 30 different patterns, but I have found it simple and effective at doing what you want a metronome to do - especially for learning the drums - like playing quarter, eighth, sixteenth and triplet patterns.

Overall, I think this will last me a lifetime. This has the all features any drummer could want, and need. One criticism would be that the memory settings are lost if you are running on battery power and batteries runs out, which is a shame – but not unmanageable.

Enrollment at BIMM 2009/10

September 24th, 2009

So I was due at BIMM west at 2pm to enroll today had a Starbucks on the way. The next two hours was really strange, all level 3 diploma drummers and bass players were enrolling.

The process is well managed. You are split into random groups and proceed to four different rooms each dealing with aspects of the enrolment process and life as a student at BIMM.

Room - 1 Photo call and a talk through the Student Handbook.

Room - 2 Registration, were you provide your ID and completed forms.

Room - 3 Is enrolling with the affiliated college for your course. As we went into this room we were asked our ages, then told to go left or right, when it came to me the women looked at me and smiled and said right, so I did not have to say out aloud my age. I figured out that if you are over 19 you are affiliated with Brighton City College, there were four of us over 19 out of a group of about 15.

Room – 4 The welcome, were you get your timetable and course material

Not sure about my timetable yet but at first glance I do not have any lessons before 10 30, but do have 3 days of classes from 4-6 and one of them is Friday. Each lesson is 1 1/2 hrs long, I only have a couple back to back.

Did have time to send a few tweets which tell how I felt during the process.

On reflection it is a very intense experience, there is alot to take in about the events and running of BIMM, there is also the end of term gigs, auditions for the gigs is in 8 weeks, each band has to have at least 3 BIMM members. Is it realistic to have a first term goal of getting into a band and auditioning for the end of term gig?

I found the two hours really full on and a tad bit scary.

Will up load my timetable soon.

A couple of events over the next week, tutorials, etc classes start 5th October.

Enrolment Week

September 21st, 2009

Seven days to the start of BIMM.

This week it is time for enrolment which for me is on Thursday at 2pm. Was asked yesterday about any concerns & fears that I have and on reflections these stem from my drumming ability and how I will compare with others, although I have come to the conclusion over the years that the real battle is with ones own self belief, which is a total different struggle.

I have had two excellent drum tutors in the last 20 months. I have been able to take what they have shown me and have had the freedom to play around with the different lessons & techniques and develop these to suit me, I am not sure how this learning techince will go down at BIMM.

I am a slow learner and in the lessons which I have taken I understand what is being taught and am comfortable in asking questions or seeking clarifications, (11 years working at the council helps here) but really struggle with taking new things on board really quickly and have found that working through things on my own at my snails pace works well for me.

So will have to see how it goes over the next couple of weeks.

Have also had a email on from someone asking if I would be interested in trying out for his band, musically right up my street, but as I am due to start at BIMM I am currently not sure what the timetable and commitment levels will be this year, so hopefully I'll check back later and see if there is anything we can do.

Pearl Vision Maple VMX Drums Review

September 17th, 2009


I thought I would write a review of my new Pearl Vision Maple VMX Drum’s. Over the summer I was researching, which drum-set to buy, and decided on Pearl’s Vision Maple VMX in white. The main decision was between a set made of birch or maple. I discovered that a set made of birch would have less resonance, shorter sustain and less bass, while maple is known for its warm resonance, rich tone with more sustain and more bass.

The shells and finish of the Pearl VMX are excellent. It seems as though Pearl really put their effort into these aspects of the kit. I decided on the 900 series hardware which are very impressive and simple to put together, although you buy the shells separately from the hardware, this allows for the possibility of updating individually pieces later. The feel of the kit once up was awesome. Overall, the kit sounds huge and I am really satisfied and very impressed with.

The snare has a really decent crack to it and the sound of the toms is very impressive. The bass drum has a very warm and strong sound. This set was recommend to me for intermediate to advanced players, as it may be too high quality for beginners or a kid's first set. As someone said to me, you only buy your first drum set once so make it a good one and Pearl’s Vision Maple VMX is certainly that, it looks good and sound awesome.

putting together the kit

First recording with my new Pearl Vision VMX drums

September 16th, 2009

I really wanted to record something on my new drums so sat down the other day and had a go and recorded the following. The sound is recorded directly into the Macbook Pro using its internal mic with the music playing behind, the drums have silencer pads on, the next test will be without silencer pads. Really not a great sound all in all and the Hit Hat and crash cymbal sound really dead.

Let me know what you think or any ideas of how best to record acoustic drums.

My Pearl VMX Drums have arrived

September 13th, 2009

So finally last Thursday my Pearl VMX Drums arrived, just as I was leaving for an appointment the door bell rang and there they were, so I quickly signed for them knowing I have to leave in 10 mins, but with a little help from my friends Lee and Oliver we managed to get one of the shells unpacked.

I got back a every long hour later to complete the task....

I am amazed how rich and loud they sound and I must admit that I feel very much at home behind a set of drums, thanks to Dave and the UK tax people for helping me purchase my new drums.

Brighton Institute of Modern Music Diploma

September 9th, 2009

So September has arrived and so has my enrolment pack. So I will be studying a BTEC National Certificate in Music with a focus on Drumming, enrolment is on Thursday 24th September 2009. For enrolment I need to provide a copy of my passport, 2 passport sided photos and have to search the attic for the original copies of my GCSE certificates, with I took in 1989:roll:

They also recommend hearing protection during live performance work, so will have to look into this over the next couple of weeks.

Just in time my acoustic drum set should be arriving this week :D Have had Juliet, Lee and Oliver staying for a while which has lead to some discussion on up and coming topics for the blog as the focus over the next couple of months will be around my first term at BIMM which runs from 28th September (induction week) to 11th December.

So up and coming topics:

Set up a music room in the modern internet age, to provide online and streaming content.
Recording acoustic drums on a budget and achieving an acceptable sound quality.
Is an iPhone an essential tool for the modern drumming student.

Any other comments ideas let me know.

Chasing Waterfalls, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario.

September 5th, 2009

Well it is my last weekend in Canada for a while as I am due back in the uk to start at BIMM. So for the last day I wanted to drive out into the country and photograph some waterfalls and try the trick of getting the water to look like cotton wool, first we headed to Engenia Falls, where we did get a good effect.

Eugenia Falls Ontario

Next we went to Hoggs Falls, where the effect worked much better.

Hoggs Falls, Ontario

Hoggs Falls, Ontario

So hope you like......

Expo and the Zoo

August 29th, 2009

So this being may last full weekend in Toronto until xmas, we had set out to go to the Fan Expo and the Zoo.

On arriving at the Fan Expo, the queue to get in was horrendous, so with Dave's "can we not get a executive tickets?" option out of the question we decided to head off to Toronto Zoo, the weather was not great but we thought that it might brighten up and it did, we have finally seen a bear and a bison. I am not much for keeping animals in a zoo, but it was nice to see such a variety of animals although they could do with some lessons in how to model for the camera ;)


Tiger Toronto Zoo

I was most excited about seeing the polar bears and they really did not disappoint, they are such elegant swimmers and very big animals.

Polar Bear Toronto Zoo

There's a bat in our Belfry

August 26th, 2009

Weird thing last night a bat flew into our apartment :!: While the opportunity was there we took these pics, it took us a while but Dave managed to gently catch it in a towel and put it outside, we hope it is ok..

Bat on the wall

Wilderness Canoeing in Algonquin Park

August 19th, 2009


Last weekend we spent a tough but magical three days canoeing in Algonquin park. The idea was Dave's as he wanted to experience the true wilderness, and it truly was, no mobile phone signal, no roads, no shops and no rescue if things got tricky, with the local bear population.

We travelled with a group from Wilderness Adventures, Allee was our guide, then there was Wendy, Brandi and Rick, they were a great bunch for the trip, both Dave and I were please that the tip organizer Paul McCormick was not going as we all experienced his grumpy attitude on the phone prior to the trip starting.

From left to right, Dave, D@n, Allee, Wendy, Brandi & Rick

This is were we set up camp, the water was clear and cool in the 30 degree heat.

The trip really made me appreciate running tap water, as all the water we drunk had to be pumped from the lakes.

We learnt to canoe and achieved our level A Flatwater ORCKA Canoeing program,

The thing I will take away with me from this trip was the stillness and quite of the landscape, and the amazing night sky filled the an abundant number of stars lighting up all over the dark night sky. It is a shame that I live in areas with such heavy light pollution as I would love to see the stars at night more often.


2nd Wedding Anniversary (Paper)

July 31st, 2009

We had a great time on our 2nd Wedding Anniversary (Paper) earlier this week. I had booked us into the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower, the food was great and the views spectacular, we saw in the distance a thunder storm which was very impressive. You really get to understand just how big Toronto is.

I had lobster and champagne and Dave had a steak.

We also had the opportunity to go to the viewing platforms, the glass floor was a spooky experience. Dave would not allow me to jump up and down on the glass :>

Elora Gorge Camping

July 26th, 2009

This weekend we went to Elora Gorge - camping. It rained. It took us about 4 hours to get there from Toronto - crazy Friday afternoon Toronto traffic in the rain. But the campsite was really nice...

Elora Gorge

On Friday night we cooked Wieners on the fire with our new wiener-fork...

Wiener cooking

We had brought a burner and coffee percolator for this trip - and it worked really well - no going to Tim Hortons for morning coffee...

Morning Coffee

Then we went White Water Tubing down Elora Gorge...

In the afternoon it rained, we went into town for a pub lunch, and then went to buy a Tarpauline. That night we cooked S'mores on the fire...

Cooking Marshmellows

Danny eating Smores

Sunday we huddled under our new tarp while it rained, then loaded the car and headed home. It was a fun trip, and we love Elora Gorge.

Toronto adventure begins...

July 19th, 2009

We have moved in to our fabulous apartment at 50 John St in the heart of the Entertainment District, just down from the Rogers Centre and the CN Tower.

From the roof top of the apartment you have a great view of the CN Tower.

CN Tower

I have started to practice my Rudiments but need to work a lot harder at them now i have recovered from the Swine Flu ...

We have a great apartment with BBQ's on the roof terrace...

Yesterday we went over to Niagara Falls in our Hybrid rental car...
Niagara Falls

And we just booked our camping for next weekend, watch this space....

The first World Tour Video

July 11th, 2009

Mucking around with iMovie and this is what we created....

Two Weeks Holiday

July 9th, 2009

We just got back from 2 weeks holiday - 1 week visiting family and friends in the UK, and 1 week in Mykonos, Greece.

I eventually managed to drag Dave back to the UK so that he could visit family and friends. This was Dave's first time in the UK for more than a year. So our first priority was to pop along and visit his family. Firstly, we traveled to see his Dad and Jo, and then make a quick stop to visit my Mum and Dad but unfortunately had to make a rapid escape as my mother had contracted flu, (although at the time of writing I am sitting in bed with the flu as well). We then visited Dave's mother who had the opportunity to mother us for a day before we visited Daves Uncle and family on our way back to sunny Brighton. Then we met up with Juliet, Lee and Oliver, before jetting off to Mykonos on Easy Jet.

We went to Kastros Bar a lot and drank tequila sunrises and watched the sen setting over the sea.

Mykonos Sunset

Most of the time was spent on Super Paradise beach and snorkeling.

Dave caught on camera an octopus and millipede.

Can you spot the Octopus? Call Dave not me.

We headed back to the uk at the end of the week before we jetted off once again to Canada, to start our east coast Toronto adventure.

Spring & summer in Calgary

June 14th, 2009

Dave is on his own in Calgary since I deserted him for a holiday in the UK. Spring finally arrived in Calgary, and everything sprung to life....including the Geese with their gang of Chicks...

Geese with their gang of chicks

Dave's last week in Calgary ends on the 17th June, the weather is fabulous, and the Gophers are running wild, going for this going for that.

Gophering for this Gophering for that

We will miss Calgary and Alberta alot, but looking forward to the adventure of Toronto when we get back from holiday.

In the uk and Tendonities

June 1st, 2009

Well I am back in the UK for the month of June, catching up with friends and family. Just got back from the Doctors, she suspects that I have tendinitis in my right hand, so will need to lay of the drumming for a while. Luckily the weather is holding up and the sun is shining. Brighton is a great place to be when the summer sun is here, working in the garden and looking around for flats to buy.

I am hopeful that Dave will be back in the UK later this month so we can go on a well deserved holiday.

Spring in Banff

May 11th, 2009

Dave has been working away alot and I have been drumming a bit over the last couple of weeks as the videos show.

Last weekend started with Dave getting a new MacBook, which he has wanted for sometime.

Dave and his new Macbook

We also stayed overnight in Banff so that we could take a walk in the forests before I go back to the uk.

We had hoped to follow a walk around the Sundance Canyon but the ice had not yet fully melted, so we just walk along the Bow River.

Sundance Canyon ice

Bow River Banff

Dave by the Bow River

For Dave : Comfortably Numb

May 3rd, 2009

This one was done for Dave. One day I will perform this live for him.

Revisiting some Pink Floyd tracks

May 1st, 2009


I have recently revisited the Pink Floyd tracks that I practiced for my BIMM audition.

Here is a track that I have been working on, a 4 to the floor groove on the drums, was having problems with the second part of the groove towards the end of the track but have finally nailed it.

Check out my Youtube Channel for the other track Comfortably Numb.

Disco - Working with Tommy Igoe - Groove Essentials

April 15th, 2009

Some people have asked and others want to know what I do with my time so here you are.

This is one of the tracks I practice most days - Since getting a place at BIMM, I have been working through the Tommy Igoe - Groove Essentials book, this is one of the tracks.

Hope u like, more to come or visit my YouTube Channel.

Take a walk with me in Downtown Calgary

April 14th, 2009

Really wanted to do a quick video of Downtown Calgary, so was working on a track in Logic, using a combination of loops/samples and my own beats and samples and this is what I came up with.

Skiing In Banff

April 8th, 2009


So when Judy was here we finished off our week of skiing in Banff.

We took the SLR camera up with us one day to try out the sports mode, here of some shots of us in action.

Dave in Action

Judy in Action

D@n in Action

There are plenty more shots so check out the Photostrem on flicker, link above

Sking the Power Line in Fernie BC

April 7th, 2009

Here is a short video of use all skiing the Power Line run, it was great fun, and you could smell the pine trees.

Ferine to Banff

April 7th, 2009

While we were at Fernie we found the best place to eat on the slopes here, a small cafe called the Lost Boys, the views just takes your breath away, unfortunately the weather was not great to get a picture of the view, but we did take a group photo on the balcony.

Dave, Judy & D@n

While Judy was here we traveled from Fernie to Banff through the Kootenay National Park, the scenery was amazing and just impressed on me how big this county is.

Model Village photo

April 5th, 2009


Hey, was watching the BBC Click programme the other day. They showed this site which manipulates your photos so that they look like a models. I had a go and here is what happened, the original is a couple of photos down. The view is from the Calgary Tower of the Saddle Dome.

Saddle Dome from the Calgary Tower

Dinner a loft the Calgary Tower

March 30th, 2009


Dave's mum, (the mother in law) Judy, visited so I booked us in to the Calgary Tower Restaurant to have dinner before we left for skiing.

The restaurant had really amazing views and the food was not bad either.

Here are some of the pics, check out the Flicker Photo stream for the rest.

Judy, Dave & D@n

In the picture below you can see our flat by the river.

View from the Calgary Tower

Here you can see the Saddle Dome, home of the Calgary Flames.

Here you can just make out the Rockie Mountains in the distance.

And we had a great meal...........

Dave's art shot

My art shot of the night......

Dannys art shot

Sking in Fernie BC

March 23rd, 2009

So Dave, his Mother and I have hit the slops of Fernie BC, the conditions have not been to great but as spring has arrived, so what can we expect.

Here we all are on the ski lift, I now have a helmet...

D@n, Dave and Judy

Dave and his mother discuss tactics for our decent.

Dave on the hill

Our car for the trip is a Ford Flex, which is ok, it is great having new car every couple of weeks to drive, but Ford need to work on this model as it is not the most stylish of motor vehicle.

Ford Flex

Morning Walk

March 12th, 2009

Since we moved to the new apartment we no long have access to a gym, so to keep up my fitness levels I decided to walk/jog 3 times a week around the riverfront. Today I took the camera to take some pictures, the route I take is about 2 miles, with a Starbucks at the end :D

I have place these pictures on google maps to give an idea of where they were taken.

Working with Tommy Igoe - Groove Essentials

March 7th, 2009

Ok, so I have been working with the Tommy Igoe - Groove Essentials DVD and book now for about a month, yesterday I was able to drum along with all the eight notes rock grooves. I was drumming for about 40 min's non stop which was good for me, I am also working on the faster grooves and hope to post a recording of these in a couple of weeks.

I recorded this this morning, hope you like, I think I am getting better...

205 day till I start BIMM :D

We are off to Lake Louise Skiing next weekend for a well earned break, staying at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise B)

A Drive to Elbow Falls

March 1st, 2009

I have been getting over the flu this week and have had not very nice mouth ulcers and cold scores.

On Saturday I was feeling better but did not have the energy to go skiing so we had a drive out to Brag Creek situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, were we had lunch in a very nice rural Bavarian Restaurant before heading on to Elbow Falls which is a small set of waterfalls along the Elbow River, just west of the of Bragg Creek.

Dave & D@n at Elbow River Falls

Dave @ Elbow River Falls

D@n at Elbow River Falls

Elbow River Falls

Sunday Walk along the Bow River

February 25th, 2009


We have moved along the Bow river to a new apartment, which costs us less and will allow us to save towards my BIMM fees.

The river is still frozen, but spring is coming as the ducks and the sun are out. Although today it is -22 and snowing.

Will post some more drumming next week as I am having timing problems with my 16th note grooves, can play to the metronome but not to music as I keep losing my timing, so practice, practice this week.

Dave over looking the Bow River

Ducks & Ice

The reward for our walk...

Working with Tommy Igoe grooves

February 12th, 2009

So since getting back to Calgary I have been working with the Tommy Igoe Grooves book as recommended by Andy Nixon @ BIMM.

One of the suggestions in the book is to record yourself so you can chart progress, good idea. So I have just done recorded the first four grooves this morning. I am coming to the end of the 8th note grooves in the book, so I thought it a good idea to record were I am with these, I have uploaded my favorite.

Hey Lee, I remembered how to upload audio. :)

Skiing in Fernie

February 9th, 2009

This weekend we went down to Fernie to sample the Legendary Powder - we stayed overnight without drum pad and sticks. Fernie was really good - the weather was gorgeous and the snow was legendary.


While we were on the chair lift a strange old man known as Butch told us the story of the Griz - the man in the mountain that delivers the legendary powder and should be bowed to at every opportunity. Picture of the Griz....

The Griz

Dave got a chance to use the new Oakley goggles...

Dave and Goggles

As we downloaded the pics we also downloaded some from Xmas and New Year. This is us on the balcony...

Us on Balcony

Btw... there is a tortuous 232 days until BIMM...

Back in Calgary

February 3rd, 2009

Hey so just as I left the uk the snow started and it would appear that they are having fun but not coping well.

Spent yesterday practicing on my drums.

I was advised at my audition to work with two books, one called Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials and Buddy Rich's Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments. (When I was being told this on the day, I did think that it was a "learn these and come back next year").

The Groove Essentials works on playing grooves along to backing tracks and so far appears fun, the DVD helps if you need it.

The Buddy Rich's really goes back to basics and although I have only been working with it for a day looks very helpful.

237 days till I start at BIMM.

BIMM: Brighton Institute of Modern Music

January 18th, 2009

A quick update folks..

I have been successful in getting a place at BIMM in September 09.

My audition went well but my practice piece was well not so good I thought, but the assessor thought it ok.

I have some work to do before I go, so no slacking off for me.

I must admit that I did feel very at home sitting behind a drum kit.

Thanks to everyone for their support, especially Oliver, Lee & Juliet and a big hug and thanks to Dave.


Xmas (The Holidays) in Canada

December 30th, 2008

Christmas here is referred to as the Holidays, it is strange not to have a Xmas at home in the UK.

I have been busy getting ready for my audition and drumming a lot, Dave has been working!!!!!!

The weather here has been, lets say extreme, the temp highs have been minus 20 to 30 with wind chills of -40, crikey that is cold. We now have to plug in the car to keep it from completely freezing.

We have had mountains of snow, which has made driving hazardous , but we did get a white Christmas, opps holiday.

Dave cooked Xmas dinner, with all the trimmings and he did the washing up!!!!!!! I think we will stay here forever.

Dave got a watch, wallet, blue tooth ear piece from Santa. I got a blue ray DVD, but no player, and a Xbox360 and great new jacket that is wired for ipod control and sound.

We are hoping that it will warm up a bit so we can go skiing before I return to the uk in Jan.

Hope you all had a Happy Holidays and a great New Year.

Our hoiliday in Banff

December 15th, 2008

After six months of working without a holiday, Dave and I spent 10 days up at Banff, skiing and getting to know the Rockies. Banff is in a national park and after spending sometime there I can understand why.

Along with the skiing, which was great we also visited the Sulphur Mountain, where the views are spectacular.

Dave & Danny on Sulphur Mountain

Views from Sulphur Mountian of the Rockies

A lesson learnt, when visiting tops of mountains wear thermal underwear.

Dave tries to warm his bum

We were also lucky enough to go to Lake Louise, to do some skiing and watch the Men's Skiing Downhill World Cup.

Men's Downhill Race

Dave the Iceman

While we were at Lake Louise, we managed to get our own graffiti sweat shirts painted for free and here we attempt to model them for you.

Graffiti Artist



As we were in the wilderness we saw some wild animals, no bears as they are sleeping.

Deer on the way to skiing

All in all we had a great time and will be skiing at the weekends as Banff is only about an hours drive away from Calgary.

It is cold!!!

December 13th, 2008

We woke up this morning and the weather is snowy and -21 with a windchill of -37.

I opened the balcony door to see what -21 feels like, but hey, it was not that cold for the 10 seconds that I poked my head out into the freezing day.

Tomorow, is due to be cold and sunny, so e might try and make a snowman :DB)

The First Day of our Ski Holiday

November 25th, 2008

Well folks it has arrived, the long awaited holiday is here. Dave has hung up his computer and phone and we are on HOLIDAY :):)

The skiing conditions are perfect, sunny up in Sunshine Banff and the slopes are clear.

We are staying at the Fox Hotel in Banff, I'll post some pics later of the hotel.

In the meantime here are some of us skiing.

Dave Skiing

Danny Skiing

Danny & Dave

Night Walk in the Snow

November 19th, 2008

The other night Dave's suggested that we went for a walk along the river in the snow, of cause I jumped at the idea ;) So we dressed for the cold and took the camera.


We also discovered that there are Hare's on the island.

I also went on the swings, can you see me?

Photo Inclusion‏

November 6th, 2008


If you remember I told you that a photo we took, Dave and I cannot agree whom took the photo. Was submitted for slection for use on a website, well success, the photo has been used click the link above to see it.

Princes Island Park

November 3rd, 2008

We are lucky that we live just up from the Bow River that runs through Calgary, the source of the river is the Rockies.

The other weekend we went for walk in the Princes Island Park, in the Bow River, its full of public art and a nice place to walk.

Dave & Danny

Danny & Public Art

View from Princes Island

I love this set of pics of Dave playing by the river.

Don't fall Dave!

Will he make it?

Save can he get back

Here is the News

October 27th, 2008


A couple of news items for you.

Firstly many of you may know that a couple of years ago my Dad published a book of his Grandfather's WW1 diary.

Well on the the 3rd November he and hopefully the book will be featured on a BBC programme at 10.35pm on I suspect BBC One, but check TV listings.

Also on the 17th Jan 2009, I have an audition for BIMM (Brighton Institute for Modem Music).

Arrival at Calgary

October 19th, 2008

We have up'd sticks and moved to Calgary in preparation for the coming winter Ski Season. We arrived at the tail end of the Summer and have had some great warm weather.

Here are some views form our new apartment.

View of Downtown Calgary

Dave is working a lot more from home!!!

This does mean that he is getting under my feet a bit, but hey he is off to Miami soon.;)

Another Song from Edmonton

October 10th, 2008

this is another song that i worked on in Edmonton over the summer, as with the other, all the music was played or programmed by me, this concludes the Edmonton part of our adventure.

See you in Calgary!

Music made in Edmonton

October 9th, 2008

While I was in Edmonton I worked on a couple of music tracks, I played these to Juliet and Lee when I was back in the UK and they thought that that they were worth putting out there. The problem I have is that if left to me I would tweak them forever, so I have put the music to photos of the time we were in Edmonton.

All the music was played, programmed by me other other the vocal sample. Hope you enjoy.


October 6th, 2008

A couple of weeks ago now, I visited England for a few days and it was great to see everyone, although we have only been in Canada for 10 weeks it felt a lot longer. It was great to see everyone doing well and that not much had changed other than Oliver seems to have grown by about a foot.

While I was there Dave was in Vienna for a business trip and I popped over to see him. I traveled from Terminal 5, and I must say I was impressed, from parking the car to checking in, through security took 10 mins, the wait for a Starbucks coffee was longer.

Here are some pics of Vienna,



One of the impressive things we saw in Vienna were the statues:

I must say I did find Europe a little Grey compared to Canada, but winter is coming here and we have been told it gets cold and that over night a few feet of snow can fall!

My druming

September 28th, 2008

Just before we left Edmonton I recorded my drum playing to a couple of backing tracks. You can play them here...

Let me know what you think.

Edmonton the last days

September 27th, 2008

As most of you know we have up'd sticks and moved to Calgary.

Our last night in Edmonton we went out for dinner to our favorite Mexican diner to sample their Bulldog Margaritas.

Bulldog Margarita

Dave with Bulldog

Danny with Bulldog

So we leave behind us the city of Edmonton for the time being, but before I left I penned an Ode to Edmonton, so here goes

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Summer 2008

Its been fun
Its been exciting
There's been thunder & lighting

Movies and Miles
Have been traveled
In the Mustang
and not forgetting the Grand Cherokee

Together to Jasper
To the Badlands Camping
Shooting Stars
at night
Bucking Broncos
by day

Cowboys in the streets
on Harleys & Horses

In search for the Bison

August 31st, 2008

Yesterday we drove to Elk Island National Park in search Bison.

We went in our new rental car.. the Mustang....


Dave by Mustang

Unfortunately we saw no Bison although there was plenty of evidence of them.

Evidence of Bison

The views and walks were spectacular.

Tawayik Lake


August 17th, 2008

The August Bank holiday weekend was our first Canadian camping expedition. We went to a camp site in Red Deer which is between Edmonton and Calgary. The previous weekend we bought the cheapest camping gear including tent, chairs, sleepmats, sleeping bags and Wener fork.

It was nice to be outside in the countryside and spend the day by the campfire. At night the stars in the sky were incredible. Both Dave and I saw shooting stars.

The campsite also had activities which included mud wrestling, which we watched.

Danny cooks Weners

Dave watches Danny cook Weners

Danny Walking in woods

Mud Wrestling

Dave by the Jeep

July 31st, 2008

Here's a picture f Dave by the Jeep in Jasper last weekend.;)

Dave and the Jeep

Anniversary Weekend in Jasper National Park

July 29th, 2008

For our first wedding anniversary we spent the weekend in the Jasper National Park.

Jasper National Park

We stayed in a very romantic hotel by the side of a lake.

View of lake

On our way to the hotel we saw a Elk by the road, apparently Jasper National Park is a great place to see wildlife, Dave really wanted to see a bear, but unfortunately we did not see one.



On Friday night we had a really nice dinner in the Mousse Nook restaurant.

On Saturday we had booked a white water rafting experience. We went on a class III river called the Fraser River. The whole day was fun, but we both felt that we could have done class IV river, maybe next time!

Boats going down the Fraser River


To see all the pictures from the weekend visit the Flicker photostream.

The Devonian Botanic Garden

July 23rd, 2008


Last weekend we visited the Devonian Botanic Gardens. The Garden includes an authentic Japanese Garden, attractive floral gardens, collections of native and alpine plants, ecological reserves, and is situated within an attractive rolling landscape of pine trees and wetlands.

We had fun watching the wild life.

Watching the wild life

All the pictures can be seen at flicker.

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival

July 16th, 2008

Last week I went to the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, which is held in Edmonton's Sir Winston Churchill Sq. The festival features world class performers, whom entertain the public.

I saw the amazing Space Cowboy who swallows swords for a living.

Space Cowboy

Yesterday Dave pick up the new car, it is huge! I post some pics soon.

Its crazy how big thinks are in Canada.

Calgary Stampede

July 12th, 2008

Last weekend we had our first look at Calgary. We stayed in the Hyatt hotel which is in the heart of the downtown area. We were there to see the Calgary Stampede, which bills itself as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, it is a large festival, exhibition, and rodeo held in Calgary for 10 days every summer. In the 10 days over a million people visit the different shows.

On Friday which was the opening day we had tickets for the Chuck Wagon racing and opening show given to us as a present from one of Dave's work friends, many thanks to Melinda.

The Stampede Parade which occurs on opening day, is one of the festival's oldest and largest traditions. It is led by the Calgary Stampede Showband and follows a 4.5 km route in downtown Calgary.

Check out some of the pictures on our flicker account.

On Friday morning we missed most of the parade because Dave was working.

The Calgary Stampede Parade

We then went to the Stampede ground in the afternoon to watch the Rodeo. Which would not be allowed in the UK due to Health & Safety as it is very dangerous. We saw Tie down roping, Steer wrestling, the Saddle bronc, Bareback riding, Barrel racing and Bull riding.

Cowboy thrown from horse.

In the evening we watch the Chuck Wagon racing, which to make more interesting they need to allow betting on. After the racing was the evening Grandstand show, called the Dream Catcher, which was fantastic.

There was lights, fireworks, music, dancing, cowboys, Indians, motorbike stunts, comedians and acrobats.

Calgary Stampede Show stage

Overall it was amazing and we hope to go next year.

The first couple of days

July 2nd, 2008

Over the weekend we started to explore Edmonton. Dave has been working hard so had not really done much at the weekends.

Here is a picture of Edmonton from our hotel.

View of Edmonton

On Saturday we went to the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America and the forth largest in the world.

Pirate ship in the West Edmonton Mall

Since Dave sold his motorbike he has been obsessed by them and anywhere we go he takes a picture of them.

Harley Davidson

On Saturday night we walked down and had dinner on Whyte Ave, which is in the Old Strathcona district of Edmonton.

Whyte Ave

Dinner on Whyte Ave

On Sunday we drove out to hike around Cooking Lake, which is on the list of 100 things to do when in Edmonton. We are going to see how many we can do of the 100 during our stay here.

Dave at Cooking Lake by the rental car

Cooking Lake

On my flight out I got Dave a new Canon Camera for the adventure this is a picture of a dragon fly at Cooking Lake

Dave using his new camera to Take macro pics

On Sunday night we went to the movies to watch WALLE, which was fun, it nice being able to walk to the cinema.

On Monday we started looking for a flat and after looking at a couple have decided on one in Downtown about 15 mins walk from Dave's work.

We also had to pick up a new plug for my drums as they were not working due to the voltage being 120 and not 240 volts.

We are going to Calgary next weekend to the Calgary Stampede, which is one of Canada's largest annual events, and the world's largest outdoor rodeo.

My arrival

June 29th, 2008

I have arrived, went to have a beer and a burger in the hotel bar with Dave.

Here is the first of many pics taken with Dave's new camera.

Danny in hotel

The start of the Adventure

June 17th, 2008

The flight is booked for 27th June.

Firstly, I would like to thank Lee for all his effort in putting together
this blog for us, he is a good friend and we will miss him, Juliet and Oliver.

The idea is that by visiting the site now and again you will be able to
keep up to date on what Dave and I are up to on our Canada adventure.

As most of you know we have had the opportunity to live in Canada for a
year with Dave’s work. This will allow us to develop our skiing skills and
for me to focus on my drums and music for the next year. So I will be
blogging about what we get up to, the places we visit and the people we

So wish us luck and see you all soon.

Lots love
Danny :D