Reflections

It’s been a really amazing start to 2013.  I currently have more students in my teaching studio than ever, I had the pleasure to play on a bunch of recording sessions that will be great additions to my discography and I got to play at a venue that I always thought would  be out of reach.

This has been a great couple of months for my teaching practice.  I’ve begun to realize and appreciate the dramatic benefits that current technology allow educators and students alike.  From audio and video recordings of lessons to demonstrate concepts both during the lesson and later in the week, to streaming services that allow one the ability to find practically any song at any time, I’ve been surprised and excited to find how much new technologies have complemented and improved my teaching.  I look forward to the day that my lessons will feature computerized notation software, high-resolution video, high-quality recordings and a web-based library of my concepts.  All in due time.

As for the recording sessions I’ve been fortunate to be a part of, I look forward to both hearing the final versions and to more studio experiences in the future.  The ongoing sessions with Jasmine Dreame Wagner have resulted in some of my best drum tracks.  She has been extremely supportive of every crazy idea I’ve brought to the table and as a result there’s some really interesting sounds.  Everything from extended cymbal techniques, to arrythmic drum fills, to multiple drum tracks echoing into chaos have been represented and we’re not even done tracking all of the songs.  The sounds I’ve been able to get have been some of the most accurate examples of what I hear in my head.  Credit is due to the engineers I’ve been fortunate to work with including Kenny Seigal at Old Soul Studios and Aaron Nevezie at The Bunker Studio.  In addition, I feel like I’m getting much better at not only performing in a studio environment, but in tuning the drums for the specific sound I want and listening for specific areas of improvement in my resulting tracks.

The other recording session I was very fortunate to take part in, was with my old band Cheerleader.  We did the session up in Northampton MA at Sonelab with Justin Pizzoferrato.  I was lucky to be able to use a lot of the gear there including a 70s Gretsch kit, a Ludwig Acrolite snare, an old 26″ Leedy bass drum and a selection of old A Zildjian cymbals.  Even though this was an Indie-Rock/Pop session, we were able to record the drums completely wide-open with no muffling.  This has always been something I wanted to do but was never able to find an engineer willing to go along with me 100 percent.  Huge shout out to Justin for the resulting sound of the tracks.

Lastly, I’ve been very fortunate to have played a bunch of great gigs these past few months.  My regular gigs at Asylum Hill Congregational Church and with Andre Balazs have continued to be very rewarding, but it’s the last week and a half that have been truly amazing.  On March 2nd I was given the opportunity to perform at The Blue Note in New York City, a place where many of my personal musical heroes have performed.  From the minute we stepped in the door you could feel the history in the walls.  The staff was extremely gracious and welcoming and I immediately felt as though the music we were about to make was not only anticipated, but also appreciated, respected and an integral component to the atmosphere of the space.  The audience was unlike that of the majority of gigs I’ve played in that they listened intently, and interacted when appropriate.  I could tell that these people were there to see and hear us intentionally; not that our contact was a chance occurrence.  It was a high point for me to be sure and an experience I won’t soon forget.

More to come.

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First Blog Post

You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

I’m planning on using this blog to discuss primarily things I’ve discovered during my private lessons over the last 5 years.  I have found that teaching has solidified many aspects of my own drumming and philosophies about drumming and music.  From time-keeping and a drummer’s role in a rhythm section to ideas about practicing and improvising, numerous areas of my musical life have been affected by working with my students.

I hope that these thoughts will be of use to not only my own students, but other drum students and musicians of all experience levels.

There may also be posts on other general music topics or just things I’ve found interesting.  We’ll see what happens!

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