Pedagogy, Philosophy

The following is what is possible when a student works towards mastery either on many instruments or a single instrument. Mastery is defined as 10,000 hours experience on a particular instrument, according to Malcolm Gladwell. Well-rounded (one instrument) 30 mins/day…


New Music Hipsters

Pedagogy, Philosophy

What I’ve said so far fairly sums up the state of at least American music around 1990. There’s general agreement now that it’s been a good ten years since the Down-Mid-Uptown terminology was adequate to cover the plethora of subcultures…


Cover Your Heads!

Pedagogy, Timpani

Investing in covers is money well spent. Timpani are some of the most expensive instruments in the percussion collection. Every cent spent investing in their protection goes a long way. Covering the heads will protect from dirt and the potential…

Swiss Army Knife

Being a Musical Macgyver

Pedagogy, Philosophy

Being successful in the music world is not only about musical skill/talent. No one knows you even have a skill until you’ve been given a platform on which to broadcast it. With the opportunities for musicians to simply “walk into…


Musical Efficiency

Pedagogy, Philosophy

The name of the modern musical game is EFFICIENCY. Everywhere we look, musical elements are being reduced in size for one reason or another. Look at conga playing. Traditionally, each of the three drums of a standard setup were performed…


Novelty Music

Pedagogy, Philosophy

In a discussion with Hollywood percussionist and composer Chris Wabish last week, he said something interesting: Percussion started as a novelty and is becoming serious, while everything else started serious and is becoming novelty. Chris brings up a great point….


Just Cool Dudes…

Pedagogy, Personal, Philosophy

Percussionists are just cool dudes. No other set of musicians is as easy-going and brotherly. Everywhere I go, no matter how well-known or unknown the player, percussionists just get along. Yesterday’s Kentucky Chapter Day of Percussion event proved this to…


“Percussion? I Can Do That!”

Pedagogy, Philosophy

Yesterday, I had a discussion with my colleagues about what attracts people to percussion — what brings people to percussion concerts. Is it all the motions and gestures that go into playing? Is the exhaustive list of instruments we get to play?…