Monthly Archives: May 2016

The success secret to play drum

unduhan (10)I’ve been teaching online drum lessons over the past 10 years, and I’ve always been adamant that I will answer my own emails. To this day, that is still the same (I’m not lying, try me: jared@drumeo.com). I love connecting with my online students and helping their drumming in any way I can. I’ve manually responded to tens of thousands of messages from my online students and there always seems to be common themes that come up.

The biggest theme I’ve noticed is that most people don’t know how to practice. I’m not sure why students are having problems with this, but I definitely want to find ways I can help. Part of me thinks that I am partially responsible. With Drumeo, we provide so much information, it’s likely people don’t even know where to start. If you started watching Drumeo lessons today it would take you more than 100 days to complete all the videos if you watched 24 hours a day. (I don’t recommend this haha!)

This massive amount of information can be deceiving because students think they have to watch it all. But that’s not the reason we have so many different lessons. The reason we have so many different lessons is because there are so many different drummers who all want to learn something different. We want to help everyone!

So in this article, I want to share with you my five tips for practicing the drums and cutting through the information overload:

1) Always Go Into A Practice Routine With A Plan

I have known this for years, but it was re-enforced recently when I attended one ofBenny Greb’s Master Sessions. I think Benny is an amazing drummer, but that didn’t just come to him without hard practice. I actually think he’s just damn good at practicing and being super efficient with his time, which turned him into an incredible drummer.

So before you sit down at your drums, plan out exactly what you are going to do. If you want to just play around for a bit, then at least plan that (not what you’re going to do, but the fact that you’re just going to experiment for awhile).

The point of this isn’t to make your practice routine ultra rigid, and you can still be spontaneous if you’re feeling inspired, but you need to be more intentional with what you want to accomplish with your time spent behind the kit.

2) Get Your Lesson Plan From A Professional Teacher

This isn’t some hidden pitch for Drumeo. Obviously I think Drumeo is amazing, that’s why I work my ass off every day to make the best drum lessons in the world. You can get your lesson plan from anyone who is qualified. Go get a private lesson with a local instructor, take a Skype lesson with a drummer online, or maybe you could even get some Drumeo lessons. (Hint: you can also get a free t-shirt and drumsticks when you sign up right now!)

3) Have A Balance Of Technique And Musicality

I go through phases where I become obsessed with certain things. Like when I practiced finger technique non-stop for years, or sat in a room slowly practicing the Moeller motions for days and days. I would literally not hang out with my friends so I could stay at home and practice my rudiments. I know, I know, a bit boring but I am happy I did it – well, most of it.

One big mistake I made, and still sometimes make to this day, is that I don’t balance my practice enough between technique and musicality. What point is having good technique if you have nowhere to apply it? So for me, I need to be very intentional about playing music and becoming a better musician.

Practicing technique won’t make you a better musician. Playing music will make you a better musician. Technique is easy and fun to practice because it’s quantifiable, but it’s not the end all be all with drumming. No musical director cares how fast you can play, or how good your medium full stroke roll is. So try to balance your practice between technique and musicality. (if you need more help with this just email me: jared@drumeo.com)

4) Publicly Commit To Something Hard To Do

Tell your friends, wife, brother, sister, band-mates, dry cleaners, pastor, and whoever else you can think of that you are going to do something. Ask them to hold you accountable if you want. I did this once, and I had to learn the hardest thing I’ve ever learned. (it was a Virgil Donati exercises where he plays a single paradiddle between his right hand and right foot, then a double paradiddle between his left hand and left foot).

It was crazy hard, but I’m glad I did it. You don’t have to choose something as hard as I did, but it’s really motivating to pick something and go for it. Not only is it motivating for you, but you’ll be surprised that it might give someone else a kick in the butt to be more productive!

5) Practice Drums Every Day

Of all the tips, this is the most important (maybe that means it should be number one, but oh well, let’s leave it at number five so only the hardcore Drumeos who read the whole article get the best tip!)

Whether you are active listening to music, tapping on your legs, or just playing on the practice pad – do something every day. Even if it’s just 10 minutes each time, it’s better than nothing.

There are no excuses for not practicing. Don’t get into the mind-set that the ‘stars have to be aligned’ for you to practice on the kit. Just do something.

Tips for good at violin for beginners

I wonder if this ethereal quality of music is why musicians-spend-a disproportionate amount of time practising compared with actual performing for live audiences. In a way, like dancers and actors, we are the product.Yes, we study and train for our art, but more-than-anything else, we just practise. Love it or not, the not-so-gentle Art of Practice is a significant part of musicians’ expertise and life.

1. Slow Practice or Fast Practice

Every musician knows the necessity and value of practising slowly, learning to perfect a piece at an achievable speed. Making the connection with the music at the normal tempo is not as simple. It requires a different kind of practice: fast playing is not just slow playing speeded up. Performing a passage quickly requires additional skills, such as finger preparation, economy of motion, thinking ahead and learning some new ways of playing. Many techniques take on different qualities at speed. Certain types of staccato bowstrokes, for example, must be executed with the rapid springing of the bow rather than deliberate finger pinches originating at the bowhold.

Posture, bowhold and left hand skills that appear adequate for slow playing may not work well for quick playing. Stiffness in the elbow or fingers and excessive movement of the bow arm hampers fast bowstrokes and string crossings. Habitually raising fingers too high above the fingerboard limits the speed with which they can be accurately placed and causes poor coordination with the bow.

2. Only Work on What Needs Improving

A little story… In the early days I was perplexed by the unusual progress of two of our young students. Despite learning new pieces quickly and keeping up all of the preceding pieces, their playing style and technique constantly lagged behind. Each week at lessons I  had to go over one of the fundamental techniques with them again – often the identical one. Correcting the same problems over and over is discouraging for everyone. I couldn’t work it out: their lovely dedicated parents, well-educated professionals, worked conscientiously with them every day at home. No matter how carefully and thoroughly we went over the point with the mothers and students in the lesson, things didn’t really get better in proportion to the practice they were doing.

Eventually through trial and error, we discovered a solution. Notwithstanding the consternation of their parents, I resolved to feature both students as soloists in a concert later in the year. So each week after the group class several of our teachers and I conducted a rehearsal-masterclass for them and other students. In this friendly public setting we identified a specific point for each performer to practice during the week. Over several months, the combination of focused attention and the irresistible power of social proof – watching other students improving – had the desired effect. Their solos at the concert were delightful!

Children naturally enjoy practising the music they already know and play well. It’s the means by which we learn musicality, freeing the attention to focus on expression alone. New skills are a different matter. Finding and working on challenging parts is the pathway to real progress in technique. I joke with my students that good musicians are happiest when they discover the really difficult passages. And it’s true. As frustrating as these parts can be, they are the cutting edge of our skills and abilities, providing a clear vision of what needs to improve in our playing.

I teach parents and students to identify and isolate the part that needs improving as precisely as possible. Is it difficult because of an awkward shift, a tricky string crossing, a speed problem, troublesome intonation or a particular bow technique? Correctly solving these problems makes students better players and fixes future pieces.

3. Practise with Recordings

Unless you can go to live concerts regularly, recorded performances of the great players provide us with golden models for study. On a good audio system you can listen again and again to great interpretations from the world’s top musicians of the music you are studying, a feat that was impossible just a few generations ago. Suzuki took this a step further by teaching students to play along with these recordings, absorbing the styles, phrasing and tempos of professionals, much in the same way as Leonardo da Vinci’s apprentices absorbed his painting styles and techniques by imitating and replicating his masterpieces.

When done correctly and consistently, this daily practice habit produces the fluent ability to perform securely and confidently – without stumbles.

4. Set Time Goals for Your Practice Sessions

I often hear this advice: “the quality of practice is more important the quantity.It’s true, of course. Half an hour of good concentrated practice is more valuable than an hour of sawing mindlessly away without a clear purpose. Nevertheless the reality is that we can fool ourselves into thinking that our short sessions are sufficient because we practised the important things. I’ve done it myself – all too often.

The quantity of practice is important too. The first hour is essentially warming up – maintenance. In the second hour you can start to make progress, and after another hour or two there comes a point when you feel like you can play almost anything. The strings begin to feel silky smooth, the bow moves freely and you become able to create subtle and minute differences in pitch, shape, colour and rhythm.

The important tips when playing violin

images (20)So what are the fundamental hallmarks of proper violin practice, and how can you use your practice time productively? In this article we’d like to shed some light in this area and take you through a few tips that are important for beginners to understand for improvement.

1. Private Violin Lessons

When learning to play the violin, the best place to start is by signing up for one-on-one violin lessons. Choosing a teacher is no easy task, but a few things to consider are the teacher’s:

  • Understanding of the violin’s mechanics

  • Knowledge of universal music and repertoire

  • Personal playing skills

  • Communication strength

Above all these characteristics, the most important thing to consider is the teacher’s understanding of the learning process – it must correlate with where you are as a student and your ability to learn. Naturally, private lessons are valued for their personal developmental qualities and progress, especially when it comes to younger students.

2. When and Where you Practice

Ideally, practicing the violin should be done in your personal “prime time,” when you feel most fresh and focused. For some this might be first thing in the morning; for others maybe it’s in the evening, right after school or work. Try following a routine that accommodates your natural energy peaks or dips. If, for example, you feel drained during a long practice session, try splitting your practicing into two shorter sessions. Whatever the case, make sure that you’re practicing consistently. Also, keep your environment –where you’re playing – in mind, as well. Make sure you’re in a quiet space that allows for minimal interruptions.

3. Practice Accessories

Take a few moments to gather all the materials you may need before starting your practice session. This doesn’t just mean your music and violin – you may also want to set up your stand according to your preferred position (sitting vs. standing), as well as sharp pencil to mark tricky passages and fingerings. If you prefer to play the violin while seated, use a chair with sufficient support to assist your posture – slouching only leads to poor violin tone!

4. Practice Length

When it comes to your violin practice sessions, it’s less about how long you’re practicing for and more about what you’re achieving in each session. Sure, repetition of exercises can be helpful, but be careful that it doesn’t become mindless! Mindless practice can lead to the reinforcement of mistakes. Keep your practice sessions at a length that you can maintain concentration at – this way, quality will trump quantity, and that’s what your aim should be.

5. Get Limber

Improved violin playing, solid practice sessions, and core disciplines all work together. While warming up with exercises or scales and trills can begin to feel like a chore after a while, they’re crucial to strengthening your fingers before any proper playing can begin. Practice holding your bow before even picking up your violin – and when you do start practicing, ensure that you relax your bow hand in between exercises by vigorously shaking out tension without the bow in your hand.

6. Practice More Scales

You have two options when learning a new scale: academic or physical. The academic approach relies on you being comfortable with looking at the music, learning the signature key, and then figuring out the relative minor and major keys. The physical approach can be a little more exciting – it relates to feeling the occurring tones and semitones by observing the spaces between fingers. Either way, you should practice all scales slowly and in detail until there is no clumsiness.

Many people tend to rush through areas of difficulty; instead, learn how to play a challenging scale or piece slowly until you get it right, and then speed it up. Another tip is to try practicing scales in front of a mirror – this will help you simultaneously develop a few other techniques, like the correct arm positioning during shifts or wrist flexibility.