Been a while…but still drumming

Still drumming faithfully nearly every day. My happy place (most days!) Lessons have been curtailed to once a month due to financial constraints and because I now have three children studying percussion! Practice times must be haggled over some days in order to ensure everyone gets in their time.  It amazes me how each of them is following a percussion path of their own volition and with enjoyment. My son has most recently chosen percussion for his upcoming fifth grade band instrument but ukulele is his first choice! Unfortunately not part of the band kid. My girls continue to pursue their own path within the percussion field. My oldest continues to play with the highest level band at her high school and participates in marching band along with the pit band for a recent showing of 42nd St at her high school. She has also been working on her trumpet skills with occasional lessons and self motivated learning and practice. This summer she will be in Europe touring with a program which provides performance opportunities and cultural experiences geared toward musically motivated high school students. My middle daughter loves the drum set with all her heart. She is part of her middle school band and her middle school jazz band. Watching her grow in her skills and confidence is wonderful to behold.

As for me I am in pursuit of an awesome shuffle…

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These Days…

These days I am working on my blues/swing 12/8 time. I had a long discussion with the Professor and decided after just about five years I feel like it is time to veer off and really work on a specific genre of music I love and can see myself playing in the future with a lot of joy. The idea of playing anywhere outside of the basement terrifies me yet I am so hopeful that once I feel more confident with my abilities in other words….very sure….I will be chomping at the bit to mix it up with some like minded folks.

Last Saturday was Record Store Day and I made my pilgrimage to my local shop to pick up some items: “The Charlie Parker Story”; for my Jazz girls, Ghost Song/Drums; special release “Honor the Treaties” produced by John Densmore and Keith Secola; Lyrics by Jim Morrison & music by the Doors; vocals by Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman and John Densmore, Greg Allman special release for RSD & Lucinda Williams; “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone.”

Which leads me to…going to see Lucinda Williams this week mostly because I think her drummer; Jonathan “Butch” Norton is something special to watch. In the videos I have seen his percussion is not limited to the set. He integrates all kinds of other percussion instruments and he looks so darned relaxed doing so. I am a wee bit worried he is not on tour with her this time around but really hoping he will be there!

Drum Head Magazine

Picked up a copy of this awesome magazine this month. Boy, was I happy to see there was an article called Micropause! Can you guess what that is? That strange thing I wrote about recently where I feel like there is a disconnect between hands and head when playing. It can seem miniscule but it is a hiccup which can easily cause a drummer to get off the beat and rush to catch up and perhaps to the untrained ear it would not be noticed but when I am playing it feels awful. The reasons for a Micropause are obvious especially for a novice like me but it was comforting to know that others out there experience it too!

Meaty interview with Mark Giuliana who is the drummer on one of the songs I am currently listening to A LOT; When I Met You off of David Bowie’s last album.

Worth a read.

Drum Duets!

Got to meet up with my elementary school music teacher today, Mr. Steve Calentropio for a wee bit of drumming and lunch. I sent him a duet to work on over the summer and I learned my part so that when we got together we could actually play. I am happy to report I held my own although he wanted to keep increasing the bpm from the prescribed 120 to 130 to 140! I was very afraid. I do not believe I have ever tried to play ANYTHING so fast before but I did try.

I feel lucky to still have a positive relationship with a teacher from my elementary school days. He was a special one.

A Weekend in Drummergirl(s) House

Friday night Dad had plans outside of the house which gave this Mom some free time to pick her daughters’ brains for some ways to improve her rolls. This impromptu session started the ball rolling into an informal drum off, dance session and overall music chaos! Nothing makes me happier. I love seeing all three of my kids in full on music mode. Dance parties reign. Agreeing on a song is not always easy though.

Sunday brought on the big drum head/bottom changing project and my youngest daughter was on hand to provide assistance. My older one was on hand to provide snarky commentary throughout the process. After reading and rereading the Pearl hand out on changing and tuning drum heads we also decided to use a Pearl tutorial on YouTube the first time out. This was very helpful. After that it was HGTV while we finished the job! They look and sound awesome. Looking forward to a long practice session soon.

Music

Prepare yourselves for some mighty strange music tastes emanating from this drummer girl. I have always had eclectic tastes and today get a lot of my music inspiration from the radio station FUV. Where can I hear Massive Attack and the Doors on one radio station? This is the one for folks who love a wee bit of everything. This week the blast from the past coming out of my car radio was none other than Tone-Loc. Remember “Funky Cold Medina?” Super fun to practice my improv to. I can’t help but smile and get in the groove.

My latest vinyl purchase was the Rolling Stones “Blue and Lonesome.” I am a big fan of blues music and although the Stones are on my radar as a band I enjoy this music from them really makes me sit up and take notice.

In January FUV began an awesome new program where they feature an artist or genre of the week and play interviews and music interspersed throughout their playlists by the artist or genre they are featuring. It is an excellent educational component and has made me explore further, artists I may have otherwise not given a deeper listen to. The one I most appreciated recently; Lucinda Williams. Not just her music but also her drummer!