Two Hand Bones Rudiments

Looking for a new instrument to add to your arsenal? How about the Bones? This video features James Yoshizawa in an advanced bones instructional video. James is a former student of mine and received his BM in Percussion Performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in 2009. Since graduation, he continues to work hard making a living in Southern California and plays regularly with the The Katisse Oddsemble.

If you are new to bones, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the instrument: “The bones are a musical instrument (more specifically, a folk instrument) which, at the simplest, consists of a pair of animal bones, or pieces of wood or a similar material. Sections of large rib bones and lower leg bones are the most commonly used true bones, although wooden sticks shaped like the earlier true bones are now more often used. If metal spoons are used instead, as is common in the United States, this is called “playing the spoons”. The technique arrived in the U.S. via Irish immigrants, but has a history stretching back to ancient China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.”

James has put together an excellent video and handout describing his approach to incorporating rudimental drumming as a means to strengthen his technique on the bones. I am extremely proud of James and I hope you take the time to check out this video.

Block Chords are our Friends

percussion_education_yamaha_marimba

How many times have you stepped up to the marimba to work on a passage and it seems like you have never seen the music before even though you spent hours practicing the day before? Well guess what? This happens to everyone including me. It is frustrating and makes you want to throw your mallets across the room. If this sounds familiar, I want you to start incorporating block chords into your practice routine. (more…)

Episode 027: The Secret Behind Great 4 Stroke Ruffs

As a young percussionist, we all learn the rudiments. For us, the rudiments are our scales and it is how we learn about technique on a single surface (aka a snare drum). In the concert snare drum repertoire, the 4 stroke ruff doesn’t usually occur until somewhere in the Advanced Snare Drum Studies book by Mitchell Peters, Delécluse’s 12 Etudes or later in Anthony Cirone’s Portrait in Rhythm. It also shows up in the orchestral excerpts (Lieutenant Kijé). Because it is not officially part of the 40 Standard American Rudiments, it is not something we practice at a young age. (more…)

Michael Spiro

With PASIC being right around the corner, I wanted to share some videos from past conventions to show you some examples of the clinics that are presented. Today’s video features Michael Spiro, one the foremost educators of Afro-Cuban/Afo-Brazilian music in the United States. He currently is on the faculty at Indiana University, has recorded and performed on over 100 albums and has produced educational materials for Warner Bros. Publications. (more…)

Episode 022: Roll Exercises

The snare drum roll is one of the most difficult rudiments on the snare drum. The concept of the roll is easy. The difficulty comes with the execution. Over the past several videos, I have illustrated different strategies for improving the roll. I have found that over the years, I like to vary the exercises that I use to strengthen and improve my rolls. Here are two exercises that are guaranteed to help you develop your rolls. Download the PDF, get out your drum and roll.

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