My first vlog!! Is it meta that I'm posting a vlog on my blog? In this video you'll get a peak at my Caribbean cruise gig. BTW I got to meet Smokey Robinson on this gig!
Funny story about that: I was chillin in my room watching live action ALADDIN (of all movies). I pause the movie because I hear a band playing above me (my room was right underneath the main stage). I was listening and was thinking, "man that bass player is killin it". I get up and go back stage and sure enough, it's Smokey Robinson's band! (I had no idea they were playing that night!). So I just hung out backstage and then afterwards I met the band and they invited me in. The moral of the story is, follow your ears. And listen for sick bass lines.
**Do you have trouble sightreading music?**
Been getting a lot of questions on reading music from a lot of folks lately so I thought I would post 3 Tips for sightreading today.
✅Tip #1: Count. This is the number one thing you can do to help yourself sightread better. Counting aligns what’s happening on the page to your brain and that translates to what you’re playing. It’s also a great strategy to help you not get lost in the music. I recommend when you’re practicing to count out loud; this will really dramatically improve your sightreading ability.
✅Tip #2: Beware of D.S./Codas. There’s nothing worse when you’re playing along to a song and you run into a DS or Coda sign and you have no idea where to go! Before a tune starts, I like to scan the page for these tricky things so that it doesn’t catch me by surprise.
✅Tip #3: Time and Feel are more important than hits. Of course we want to catch every note but sometimes mistakes can happen. The one thing that must be there though is the time and feel. This will setup the song and the band for success.
Hope you guys find these tips useful. I’ve been teaching students how to read music notation/charts for 10+ years now, in person and via skype. If you’re struggling with reading, contact me today and let me help you out through my step by step reading program
Over the last few years, several of my gigs have required reading: Musicals, Church gigs, cruise ships, Postmodern Jukebox on Deck gig and handful of other gigs. If you don't know how to read, you may be turning down gigs! Reading doesn’t have to be hard and with the right approach and attitude you can get these skills today.
Soloing over vamps can be very fun. But when you're first starting out it can be overwhelming to know what to do. Here are some tips and things to think about:
1. Listen to and use the vamp to help you keep track of time. Think of the vamp as being an elaborate and musical metronome. If we focus on it that way it will help us keep track of the time while we solo.
2. Start simple. Vamps can be short lengths of time to long lengths of time. If you're playing a longer vamp, don't put all of your licks into the first 3 seconds of the solo. Instead start simple. Use a lot of space. Just start on one drum like the snare drum. Then as you go on you can build from there.
3. Build the solo. Start adding faster note rates. From quarters go to 8ths. 8ths go to triplet 8ths. Then go to 16th notes. etc. Add louder dynamics. Start softer maybe then get louder as the solo goes on.
4. Use Hemiolas to Build tension. Hemiolas are great for soloing. Use these repetitive figures to overlay a sense of a new downbeat to create tension. Tension is good because it puts everyone on edge. Tension is created when the sense of time of the one is starting to be obscured.
5. Release tension. Release the tension by re-establishing the one. For example after several rounds of hemiolas, bring the solo back into a more predictable time pattern. This theme of tension and release is a great way to construct a solo.
6. End with a big finish. Chops are not a bad thing. Sometimes the music needs a lot of notes and volume and intensity. And so it's up to us, especially as drummers, to give that to ourselves, our fellow band members and the audience. It's usually a good idea to have an extreme high to finish your solo. You can also contrast the extreme high with an extreme low: ending with a very soft dynamic. I've seen solos finish both ways to great effect.
I hope these ideas help you in your soloing! You can practice all of these ideas in my new drumless play-along, "Code Breaker". Head to the store tab on my website to download a copy (or click here). Also check out my video lesson on the Code Breaker solo vamp below.
See you out there,
The three levels of musicianship:
The first level, ‘what’ did you play is the basic level. It’s the notes you played. The pitches, rudiments, sticking, orchestration, etc.
The next level is ‘how’ did you play it. What dynamics. What emotions. What intensity.
The last level is the most important: ‘why’ did you play it. Why did you choose that particular groove. Why did you choose those notes at that time. Why did you choose to play that fill there. Why do you play music in the first place.
When we focus on the why, the how and the what will usually take care of itself 🤙🏽 Agree or nah? 😂
Hey!!! Welp I finally finished my 1 word improvisations project. At the beginning of this year I thought I would do one a week... but I should've known better than to trust myself to do that. But I did promise to get it done before the end of the year... and here it is! All crammed in tonight haha! Lesson learned: don't commit to recording something once a week.. and also, improvising can be fun. Hope you enjoy my personal get better at improvising endeavor:
Beautifully written open letter to the next generation of artists, speaking words of wisdom. In the wake of all the atrocities happening, it is a great reminder how all of us matter and every choice/action we make affects others. Read it here: http://liveforlivemusic.com/news/herbie-hancock-and-wayne-shorter-share-open-letter-to-the-next-generation-of-artists/
This year one of my goals is to get better at improvising and soloing on the drumset. I came up with this idea after I listened to Antonio Sanchez's soundtrack for the movie "Birdman". It's an awesome soundtrack and I recommend everyone to check it out. On the soundtrack he basically improvises some drum ideas to what's happening in the movie. Each track has a short interesting title. So stealing this idea, I thought it'd be a good exercise to work on. I'm going to do one a week so I should have about 52 recordings by the end of 2016 (I think I started a week late). Better late than never I suppose.
Here is my first one I titled "Chiggers #1". Hope you like it. Follow my soundcloud to catch each one.
After a long hiatus Adele dropped this music video a couple of days ago and all I can say is WOW. At the end of the day this is what music is all about; expressing our human emotion and life experience
Here is where I share some thoughts, ideas, performances and experiences in music and life.... once every blue moon.... (Follow me on my socials for more consistent updates!)