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.