Kettle Brew by Alex Shapiro and David Jarvis

Kettle Brew by Alex Shapiro and David Jarvis (2015)

From YouTube: It all started near midnight in a 2-star hotel lobby bar on the outskirts of recession-hit Reno, Nevada. David and Alex sipped their scotch from plastic cups because the locals had a penchant for stealing the barware. Surrounded by band musicians on the final night of a regional CBDNA conference in March 2012, their scheming about a new piece for timpani began at that table with the chipped brown Formica and cigarette burns, continued over emails that summer when Dave was in Oahu, and congealed into notes on the page when he stopped by San Juan Island, WA. on his return home, to work with Alex at her studio.

“How about an electroacoustic piece?”
“Wonderful, Alex.”
“Let’s add some other percussion for color.”
“Great, Dave.”
“Two words: funk timpani.”
“Oh, yeah, Alex!”

As Bald Eagles flew by the window, Alex inputted Dave’s hand-written timpani riffs as fast as he could pass them to her from the sofa while not spilling his beer. Once Dave went home to Pullman, WA, Alex got busy creating a prerecorded track unlike any other for kettledrums and percussion. When it was largely in place she emailed the audio track and score to Dave, who proceeded to add what seemed like thousands more percussion notes to the fast sections because, well, he knew he could play ’em.

KETTLE BREW represents the best aspects of composer and composer/performer collaboration, and proves what percussionists have always known: two heads can be even better than one.

Purchase “Kettle Brew” here.

Dennis Chambers performs “Low Blow”

I remember seeing Dennis Chambers play live at the 1990 Zildjian Days at USC. I was blown away by his feel and groove. Even after 25 years, he is still grooving! In this video, legendary drummer Dennis Chambers performs “Low Blow” by Leni Stern (1993) on a 4-piece Reference Pure Series kit in a Black Cherry finish.

How to Practice Scales

Flutist Leone Buyse talks about practicing scales. Even though this is a flute video, it can easily be applied to mallet percussion instruments. Be sure to check out the entire video please visit MUSAIC.

Send in the Clowns – Cavaliers Indoor

As the Percussion Product Manager for Yamaha, I get to attend some of the top percussion events in the US. This April, I was in Dayton, OH for the the 2015 WGI World Championships. Most people don’t get to see behind the scenes. Here’s a video of the Cavaliers Indoor Percussion WGI 2015 (Semifinals Performance) on a Yamaha YMRD-2900 Marimba. The video begins back stage and takes the viewer through the performance and out of the arena to the truck.

Bill Bachman Lesson Series

Bill Bachman Lesson Series: Velocity, body parts & the kitchen spoon

VF Signature Artist Bill Bachman discusses the differing velocity of strokes generated by wrist, fingers, arm & Moeller whip strokes. In this lesson, Bill will demonstrate the different velocities garnered by each (using a kitchen spoon!?) and discuss how to play with more power and the pitfalls to avoid. Awareness of the differing approaches will also help you in evening out your hands.

For more insights, head over to and check out the “Extreme Hands Makeover” for in-depth lessons on these techniques and workouts where you drum along with Bill and a whole lot more!

Percussion Education Weekly Reads 9/6/15


Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their three day weekend (in the US). Summer is winding down and school has started. It is time to get back into those routines. What did you do this summer? What did you listen to and read? I hope you had a productive summer. Below are some articles to check out. Please let me know if you have any recommendations. (more…)

Pin It on Pinterest