Sunday, May 22, 2022

Life Lessons from A Drum Circle


Life Lessons from A Drum Circle

* Written by Courtney Sperlazza, MPH, has worked in health research and is currently a write-at-home mom to the most handsome and charming two-year-old on the planet.

I recently attended two drum workshops by Jim Donovan, music professor and one of the founding members of Rusted Root. I expected to learn how to properly handle a drum, maybe play something that loosely resembled a rhythm.
What I didn't expect was to change my whole approach to, well, everything. The principles that make a successful drum circle are the same ones that can improve your day-to-day.

What did I learn after a couple of hours of striking a piece of hide stretched over hollowed wood?

Everyone starts at the beginning.

Of our group of 11, the majority of us were beginners who were learning the hard way that it hurts to bang your thumb off of the edge of a djembe. Then we had the professor of music and professional performer (Jim) among us, who shared a story about how he air drummed to his Rolling Stones record until he could get his hands on a drum set. A few regularly drummed in groups, but were relatively inexperienced.

And we all drummed together. It didn't matter where our drumming skills were at that moment. Every person there had, at some point in their lives, never touched a drum. Nevertheless, we were all there going through the basics and enjoying creating music together.

The takeaway here? There's no need to be intimidated by anyone's expertise. Everyone started where you are right now, whether they remember it or not. Talent does not equal innate ability. Hard work makes experts.

People aren't really judging you so harshly.

Or at all, for that matter. Jim asked each of us to take a turn doing a solo, as an exercise in freeing ourselves and our creativity. After each of us cycled through once, I realized that I didn't let myself enjoy others' solos because I was either planning what I was going to do, or regrouping after taking my turn. I wasn't the only one, and Jim knew that, so we all discussed the experience and repeated the exercise. Only then could I enjoy both my own drumming and everyone else's.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "you wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Wouldn't this save us all a boatload of aggravation?

You affect others.

At one point during the session, Jim showed us how sound traveled through a djembe and could even vibrate the drums across the room. He then related the sound vibrations to the energy we project as human beings. We're not these individual, isolated bodies with self-contained thoughts and actions. Truth is, everything we do, everything we say, even our thoughts can affect those around us. And those people affect those around them, and so on. Call it energy, call it Karma, call it Newton's Law. The label doesn't matter so much as making sure you're putting positive vibes out into the world. You just may shake things up, for better or for worse.

Don't just be there, be present.

Drumming can be repetitive, especially using beginner rhythms. It's easy to just bang on a drum, left-right-left-right and have your mind wander to someplace else. To truly drum together, you have to be aware of the rhythm, aware of each other and aware of yourself.

This isn't much of a stretch from what it takes to do any task completely and well. Ever burned dinner because you were distracted? How much reading do you comprehend and retain if your mind is wandering?

The next time you notice you're not fully focused on what you're doing, try to snap yourself back to the moment. This one takes practice, folks. I'm getting better.

Sometimes, we need to act a little primal.

How often do we feel pressure to sit up straight, to dress a certain way, to keep quiet, to mind our manners? Our society is too gosh darn stuffy. Drum. Chant. Howl. Sing. Yell. It feels good!

Smile, and keep going.

That was Jim's only request. Which made it wonderful - our circle was a safe place to screw up. And since mistakes were okay, it was easier to dive right in.
Something that simple was an eye-opener for me. Think about it - there are very few places in life where mistakes are attached to dire consequences. So feel free to try things, take risks and screw up. Usually, nobody is worse for wear, and who knows - maybe you'll discover something magnificent.

Together, we can make music.

No two participants were alike. Different people, of different ages, from different walks of life, all came together and contributed to a common good. Our group of 11 strangers plus a facilitator came together, not knowing one another, and created a thing of beauty.

There's a word for what happened: synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What could you accomplish if you pulled yourself away from the blue glow of the television, found a group of people, and created something special?
If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Jim's workshops, do all you can to get there.

~~
 
Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Quote of the Day

 


  Quote of the Day 


*Excerpted from an interview we did with the McFly's Book Bliss blog


Q: What is your contribution to society?


Dave: As a drum teacher I hope to help the next generation of drummers by passing on the knowledge of drums and percussion I have accumulated in my career. 

I run a program called Drum it Forward that I was inspired to create years ago. 

I go to the schools and offer my services as a drum doctor armed with all the spare parts I have amassed along the way and fix their gear. 

The schools don’t have the budget to pay for this and the poor teachers don’t necessarily have the time or knowledge, so I do it as a donation. 

All I ask is that if they have any spare parts or pieces laying around that they consider donating it to the cause to perpetuate the program.



Find the full interview: 



~~
 
Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~

Friday, May 6, 2022

meme

 





~~
 
Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~




Sunday, May 1, 2022

Steel Drums



Steel Drums



*Written by Salil Kothari


Have you ever seen people playing music from any unused steel container? Does it seem weird? I hope it does not because the man is playing a steel drum. Steel drums or steel pans are the musical instrument made from metal oil barrels. The metal sheet is 0.8 to 1.5 mm thick. The area from where it is struck to produce sound is in the shape of a bowl.

Traditionally these drums were actually made from oil barrels. The difference in the modern drums is just that they can be tuned to a certain pitch. Different oval-shaped points on the bowl produce different pitches of sound. Larger ovals produce lower tones. Via this a melodious tune can be struck. Now a day's various sizes are available. They are chosen according to the need.

When you think of Caribbean the image of tall dark men striking the drums on a beach must be clicking in your mind. Why not after all the origin of steel drums took place from there and continues to be their traditional instrument. Steel drums were first made in Trinidad, West Indies from a 55-gallon oil barrel. It is said that Winston Spree Simon developed the first steel drum from a biscuit tin. Later on the African slaves used oil drums while performing at Carnival.

After the abolishment of slavery the tradition continued. The 1930s brought metal pans replacing the bamboo ones. In the 1940s the first recorded use of the steel pans was done. The Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra was an official band which performed at the Festival of Britain popularizing these. The 19th century brought the great revolution for the steel pans. This was the decade when a steel band performed in the common wealth games which gave the steel drummers an international exposure. At present, these pans of steel have been accepted as an exceptional piece of art. The art has now been modified to adapt to various genres. Hip-hop, pop music all includes them now days.

The steel drums are made by sinking, heating and then making the ovals. Though now modern techniques are used for their manufacture. They have a high tempo and can be heard far across the distance. The large range of notes and tones make them an amusing instrument.

The era is gone when steel drummers were born only in West Indies. Japan, Sweden and various other countries now produce them. This symbol of revolt against the insensible social norms now mesmerizes the audience with its music. This Caribbean beauty is a true piece of art which forces everyone to tap their feats on its beats. Currently the annual World Steel band Music Festival is in its 67th year which is an achievement in itself.


~~
 
Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~


Friday, April 22, 2022

Recommended Resources

 


Recommended Resources



Michael Cuellar is the cofounder and VP of Ramona's Gift to Music Foundation, his post on Alignable states "we bring the gift of music to children and young adults through various outlets, scholarships and performance opportunities. A volunteer run non-profit that can be found here: https://www.ramonasgifttomusic.org

--


Youth Inspirations Theater - nonprofit performing art school filled with volunteers acting as mentors, helping others with a wide array of arts: http://yitindy.org






--


This interview with Dave and I was a lot of fun to do - this time, Dave was answering a lot of the questions and he enjoyed explaining his side of the business, teaching drums, his volunteer project and more. I truly enjoyed reading his responses and I hope you do too :)  

Check it out at: 



~~

Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~



Sunday, April 17, 2022

Beginner Tips for Latin Drums and Percussion

 


Beginner Drum Tips for Playing Latin Music


*Written by Louis Stuart, for Drumsplayerworld.com



Latin music originated in the Caribbean back in the 18th century. African slaves coming to the Caribbean Islands brought along their instruments like congas, cowbells, djembe and timbales. Originally, they used these instruments as means of communication between different ethnic groups. Cuba became a hot-bed for various instruments. This collection of instruments later became the percussion section of Latin music. The most important thing to remember in Latin music is this: there was no drum set back in the day. With this in mind, contemporary drummers have to merge the style of a drum set with the exotic percussion instruments in the original Latin music instrumentation.

A typical drum set in Latin music merely replaces the percussion instruments that should have been there. For example, toms will simulate the conga pattern while the cymbals will duplicate a timbale's bell pattern. The bass drum will play along the bass guitar's line while the snare drum replaces the clave or conga part.

Playing drums in Latin music is beneficial because you learn different beats, melodies and patterns not found in contemporary music scene such as rock and pop. Along with these patterns are the 2-3 Rhumba Clave beat, the 3-2 rumba clave beat, the Son Clave beats, Bossa Nova beats and many more. These beats and patterns are also found in different forms of swings and jazz. But the difference is the percussion they use for making these rhythms.

To get the best out of Latin music, you need to learn authentic Afro-Cuban instruments. If you can, try your hands on congas, djembes, cowbells, bongos and timbales. Sometimes, a Latin song requires you to get-off your stool and into the percussion section. A typical Latin percussion section consists of congas, tambourines, cowbells and wood blocks. Welcome the challenge of playing these instruments because the knowledge you will gain is very valuable once you get back in your drum kit.

Lastly, listen to different types of Latin music; open up to a different kind of flavour coming from Salsa, Rumba, Bebop, Cumbia and Samba. Get a copy of Santana's albums and study the techniques of his drummers such as Karl Perazzo and Paul Rekow. Surprisingly, jazz and Latin music have a lot in common. Maybe because of their African roots, both genres share the same patterns and grooves not found in other music such as blues, rock and country.

Latin is a whole new ball game for you. Trying your hands on salsa, rumba and Bossa nova presents opportunity for your development as a musician. What you will learn has a great impact to your development as a drummer and as a musician. Your whole outlook in different instruments, techniques and rhythms will help you in creating your own style.


~~

Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Quote of the Day


  Quote of the Day 


*Excerpted from an interview we did with the Canadian Media E-zine  


Q: What is the main objective of Angle Hill Studio?

A: Dave has a real passion for passing on his knowledge of the industry to other musicians. 

He gets so excited when his students achieve something, he enjoys watching them blossom as drummers & gain confidence. 

He has the studio set up so that he can run a YouTube channel, create promotional videos, instrument & musical product reviews, photo shoots & pretty much anything we need to do for the future of our business.


Find the full interview: 



~~
 
Visit the Brummet's Main Website

Find them elsewhere online HERE 

~~