On June 27th, 2016 I had the honor of interviewing my own teacher—jazz drummer and educator Alan Hall. The interview is filled with deep insights and practical advice for any musician, artist or aspiring professional. Alan is an amazing drummer, masterful educator and quality human being. The years I spent studying with him changed my life. I know you will enjoy hearing what he has to say.
We discuss his experience studying with Alan Dawson, teaching at Berklee College of Music, performing in New York at Madison Square Garden with Cirque Du Soleil, Percussive Arts Society competitions, the connection between music and visual art and advice on maintaining integrity, developing your own voice and dealing with competitive pressures. Continue reading Interview With Jazz Drummer Alan Hall→
Twelve Classic Books for Every Jazz Drummer’s Library
It is with great pleasure I share these books with you. I reference them daily as have my teachers and those before them. Each will present a quest and an adventure that will build skills you will own for a lifetime.
If you’ve ever wondered “What are those crazy things that jazz drummer is doing?” the secrets will be revealed by your hard work with these classic study guides. The reward is impossible to express in words. If you love what you hear and it sounds like pure magic when Max Roach or Tony Williams takes a drum solo, developing these skills will be a feeling I can only relate to being granted the ability to fly. Part of the human soul is set free when you have the tools to express your passion.
We’ve heard the many benefits of music education. We know that the human mind is an instrument and music is a highly effective tool to train and maintain it but no matter how hard we try, kids dig in their heels and refuse to practice. Why is this such a common problem? Consider a fresh mindset.
1. Keep It Together
Music is a group activity. For at least 42,000 years humans have been playing music together. It’s in our DNA—at the roots of our culture and civilization. Music developed along with language and art. These all have meaning in social context. Keep music in the family, with friends, take lessons together, play together, practice together. Enjoy it. Make it a part of family life.
“…music may have been one of a suite of behaviors displayed by our species which helped give them an edge over the Neanderthals – who went extinct in most parts of Europe 30,000 years ago.
…played a role in the maintenance of larger social networks, which may have helped our species expand their territory at the expense of the more conservative Neanderthals.” –BBC Science and Environment
There’s a good reason kids don’t want to be sent to their room to practice alone. They know better!
I use Roland V-Drums, specifically a Roland V-Tour Series TD-9KX2 electric drum set*, adapted for my teaching studio. For years I had a strong bias against electric drums. That changed recently when one of my students graduated from high school and began attending University of Southern California to study jazz drumming with Peter Erskine. When I heard USC had a drum lab equipped with these sets I decided to check them out and see how the technology has evolved. It has come a long way!
For practice and teaching, electric drums are amazing tools. For performance, playing brushes, material requiring subtle dynamic shading and a variety of textures, they fall short of acoustic sets. Continue reading Electric vs. Acoustic Drums→