Episode 028: Geometry Can Help Your Snare Drum Technique

We have all heard about the connections between music and mathematics, but did you ever think it would improve your sound on the snare drum? In this video, I talk about playing zones on the drumhead and angle on your drum sticks in relationship to the drum. Remember to think about the sound you are creating on every instrument you play. If you pay attention to your zones as well as your angles, you will dramatically improve your sound.

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…)

Episode 026: Composing using the Rudiments

I am a strong believer that we can and should all try to compose music. Composing is a skill that can be learned. Over time you continue to develop this skill with regular practice. (Sound familiar?) There are a lot of great resources on the internet, including The Art of Composing which includes articles, blog posts and a podcast about composing.

So how can you get started? The first place I recommend is to start with the snare drum rudiments. I have used this process with my middle school students as well as my college students in my percussion methods course. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you compose a new piece for snare drum. (more…)

Delécluse Etudes for Snare Drum

Rob Knopper, percussionist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, is in the middle of his 12 Days of Delécluse. If you are not familiar with Jacques Delecluse’s 12 Etudes for Snare Drum, head out to our friends at Steve Weiss Music and buy yourself a copy of this seminal book for snare drum. There are a couple of books every percussionists should own and this should be one of them. (Other standard snare books include Stick Control, Anthony Cirone’s Portraits in Rhythm and Mitchell Peter’s Intermediate Snare Drum Studies to name a few.) (more…)

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