a Percussion Discussion

performance tips

The Importance of Learning to Play an Instrument as a Child

The American Psychological Association (APA) carried out tests on 70 healthy pensioners between the ages of 63-80 and found that musicians performed better on several cognitive tests than those who’d never played an instrument or learned how to read music.”

“Musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of aging,” said lead researcher Dr Brenda Hanna-Pladdy at the University of Kansas Medical Center”

The report (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/04/music-lessons.aspx) comes from the results of a study by the APA who discovered after carrying tests that those who played a flute, piano, clarinet, violin or any other musical instrument that requires reading sheet music performed better on intelligence tests.

The musicians were placed in three categories

  1. advanced musicians – 10 years of study
  2. mature musician – less than 9 years of study
  3. non musicians – no study

Don’t wait around! Playing and reading music will make you smarter now and help when you’re an AARP member. Nothing more cool than a rockin’ grandpa or grand ma!


what makes a great music teacher?

  1. makes learning fun… and what other topic is more important?
  2. patience, patience, patience… what can I say after that?
  3. being a parent… having a child gives you a complete perspective on what you can expect of a student
  4. having formal training… you wouldn’t hire a math or english tutor that taught himself would you?
  5. having a flexible teaching system that adapts to different brains… there is 360 degrees in a circle thus there is at least 360 ways to view any topic
  6. experienced performer… seen it, bought it, sold it. A player that has played many gigs knows what works and what doesn’t
  7.  experienced private teacher… the more years the better. Working with many students with the same thematic material helps future students
  8. experienced recording artist… having a sound that can be put under a microscope confirms techniqical know how
  9. experienced sectional conductor… understanding how to blend your section with the band
  10. an expert in the genres that the student wants to learn… like studying French in France, you must find someone that is fluent in the style you wish to learn
  11. teaches the student the proper way to practice… can’t just send a student home without a clue on how to get work done on their own
  12. conducting experience… working on both sides of the baton gives a unique teaching perspective
  13. teaches technique, theory and music… balanced diet grows you to your potential

rods vs silencers

When you need to cut volume on the drums for those late night practice sessions or someone in the household has had enough of your volume, you should try using a metal brush hybrid called the Rods by Pro Mark (http://www.promark.com/products/drumset-alternative-rods/). These wooden brushes come in different sizes and can drop up to 75% of the volume of the drumset without losing feel. Much better than tape, pillow cases or drum silencers. You want the drum to sing and have a certain feel, not choked and no rebound.

The rebound feel of the rods allow buzz and double strokes easily, which are very difficult with regal tip metal brushes. You just use your current grip and angle with the rod and play your drums and the volume is cut. No need to learn a completely new technique. No need to play two inches off the drum. The Rods allow you to play at the same height you practice or perform at giving you confidence during your session.

I have used rods for acoustic set performances live and the drums blended perfectly with the lightly amplified acoustic guitars and bass.