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.