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Reference             
Expectations

 
My intention is that any student, young or old, rocker or timpanist, can achieve his or her goals.  By indentifying what these goals are, our collaboration will ensure that these goals become reality.  There is always a systematic way to reach these goals with enough practice, the right guidance, and diligence.
 
There are no two percussionists that are exactly alike.  Though they may study the same music, have similar playing styles, or even have the same equipment, every musician is quite different.  The differences you never see are in the way each percussionist learns.  As an educator of percussion as well as other fields in public schools, I've realized this fact and have been able to apply many methods of learning to ensure the success mentioned above.
 
 
Some of the areas that are vital for success, regardless of your particular percussion instrument, are:
 
 

Technique:  anything from grip of the sticks/mallets to seating position or stance behind the keyboard is covered.  These are crucial components of playing 'successfully' on your instrument.  "Why can't I play a double-stroke roll smoothly?"  It's the technique of grip that must be addressed before you can belt out consistent rolls like these.  Concerns such as these will get a lot of attention simply because they tend to get easily overlooked.  Without that attention, one might just play as he or she always has, just because it's habit.

 

Musicianship:  To play with the ability to 'move' someone, to tap the emotion of the music by utilizing your own, and to mesh as one within a group of musicians are skills that are of the utmost importance.  It's not enough to simply play the notes on a page.  There are so many tools, written or not, that can make the music come alive, but it is in the hands of the player to decide when and how to use those tools.  In my experience, I've been in situations where I've learned the hard way, and in other times, I've had the pleasure to utilize those same skills to make the music 'live' for the audience.  Part of the instruction I give to students is how to use phrasing and dynamics for the benefit of the music and the enjoyment of the performer and the audience.

 

 

 
















Location
 
The main studio is always available.  Because travel and time can be an important consideration when planning lessons, the 'portable' studio comes into play.  The student's home or school is the next choice; if the student currently does not own any percussion equipment, it will be provided.  Location details can be discussed during our first contact.

Focus: Percussion
 
This "category" is intended to cover any categories outside of traditional or electronic drumset, even though every battery and mallet instrument is a percussion instrument.  Each area of percussion includes a thorough review of mallet/stick grip, technique, playing area, dynamics, phrasing.  For concert (school) percussion, your studies can include focus on:
 
  • concert battery instruments: snare drum, timpani, mallet instruments (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel), auxiliary percussion (technique for hand cymbals, triangle, tambourine, etc.)
  • marching percussion: snare, tenor, bass drum lines, front ensemble (mallet and auxiliary instruments)

Latin and middle-eastern percussion instruction can include focus on the following instruments, with a thorough review of hand technique, study of various styles in afro-cuban and brazilian rhythms and patterns:

  •  congas, bongo, timbales, auxiliary instruments (guiro, shekere, clave technique/rhythms), doumbek, udu

Focus: Drumset
 
When playing the drums, there are various genres that can be studied.  With all studies, however, there are elements such as stick grip, technique, seating and setup, hand and foot coordination, dynamics, and phrasing that are to be learned during lessons so that you're able to play any genre proficiently.  Some of the genres you may be interested in include:
  • rock (country, pop, punk, etc.)
  • jazz (combo; big band)
  • blues
  • latin (afro-cuban, salsa, brazilian)

In all genres, there are also various styles that you'll become familiar with.  For example, in the jazz:combo genre, studies can include standard 4/4 time rhythms (various tempi), ballads, shuffles, 3/4 time.

Materials
 
Percussion instruments and the necessary sticks/mallets/accessories will be provided during your lessons.  The only item that you will need is one spiral notebook to record notes and progress for each lesson.  This will provide you with material to practice for the next lesson and serve as a 'bookmark' for me so we can review the previous lesson and begin new material.