working it

Warmup – worked stick control, roll, rudiment exercises on pad; sightread Les Parks’ rudimental snare solos

Rip Tide

Technique – double-stop 8th-note chromatic (opposing direction) scales at 120-170bpm; worked on improvising chromatic and diatonic patterns (hands separately) at 155-170bpm/… LH lags behind RH by at least 10-15bpm, and is not able to maintain loud volume (this is both a mental and physical challenge); RH is good.

Problem spots –  worked three of the six problem spots at 70-95bpm hands together; playing goals/games are to execute each passage accurately at least 10x or 5x in a row before taking the tempo up 5-10bpm, sometimes adding prior passages to test ability to play in context

…and that’s it for today. ;-(

adding embellishments!

Warmup – worked through several Morello-style variations on paradiddle permutation on the drum pad; various stick control exercises

Sightread – rudimental snare solos from Les Parks’ book

Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – SA exercises; played thorugh 93-end hands separately with SA rolls; SI exercises playing 5s at 70bpm

5s – worked hands separate at 70bpm, and hands together at about 40bpm

Grace note passages (these are the last notes left to learn) – started working through these today… these are definitely posing some interesting challenges. For the six measures that include separate, but simultaneous, grace notes in both hands, I think I am going to need to notate an actual composite rhythm in order to make the relationships more clear… also, it may make it easier to play, so I am not just reading the two hands as linear passages to be played in one hand. Not sure if this is the right approach, but this is where I want to start…

Mm. 1-25 – worked memory and tempo

Mm 26-39 – starting to memorize

Played through entire piece – so much work left to do, but the hearing piece as a whole right now (though very under tempo) is helpful

 

Rip Tide

Worked problem measures ONLY at 90bpm

Played beginning to end at 88bpm (hands only)!!! Only crash was at mm. 130-134.

my practicing routines are very similar to my workout routines

Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – SI exercises; SA exercises = P4-M2 leading with both inside and outside mallets, up and down keyboard; DV exercises

5s (hands separate) – worked both RH/LH (separately) at 62-73bpm; decided on a few sticking changes (!!!!!) that includes more reliance on the inner mallets – needed for the faster tempo due to the striking angle needed for hands together; I also toyed with the idea (early on in determining stickings, and again this week) of using alternating 3434 or 1212 sticking, but the volume and accuracy is extremely difficult at the needed tempo (and I am assuming that I can get the whole piece to at least 80bpm, even though the composer calls for 100bpm!); so, the resulting stickings for the 5s are unison SI strokes played mostly with the inner mallets… it is a workout, for sure, but at the moment this seems like the best solution. BUT, as we know, solutions to problems change over the course of learning a piece (especially learning a piece that has never been played before), so the ending solution may yet to be determined.  😉

5s (hands together-with new sticking) – worked together without metronome, but around 35-40bpm (only measure still giving me trouble at this tempo is m. 58, beats 2-5)

FYI – 5s hands together is totally memorized!!

40-end – hands separate at 70bpm, playing unmetered SA rolls throughout. Both hands were a bit fatigued (from the constant rolling) by the end of this exercise, so endurance is still an issue – at tempo it won’t take as long, but the issue will likely still be present, so it is good to play through slowly for now. I am also (intentionally) practicing with slightly softer mallets today, which makes it harder to get the high notes to resonant with a full sound. Practicing a instrument is very similar to coordinating a good workout routine… push a little here and there, work different muscle groups, sometimes push a lot for short bursts, sometimes take it easy for long bursts, etc.)

QUESTION FOR MICHAEL: Sometimes  you indicate (same, or differing) dynamics for treble and bass clef parts; sometimes you indicate dynamics only under the treble clef part; twice there are parenthetical reminders under the bass clef part that indicate it either does or does not follow the treble clef dynamics (mm. 66-does not, and 132-does). So, the question is… are the dynamics for each clef completely isolated, to be played as indicated below each staff? Or, are there instances (such as mm. 62-64, 80-84, 100-107, 131-136) that I should apply the dynamics to both clefs?

40-end (hands together) – 70bpm; really good…. I am leaning towards playing mostly SA rolls, but utilizing ripple rolls (especially in the longer rolls) when the volume needs to be pushed to enhance/vary the textures. (I am curious about Michael’s preference… he has indicated that he definitely has preference for one of the versions I sent him, but has not yet told me which he prefers. I have a feeling that we are probably on the same page, but not sure, so I look forward to hearing from him!) Also, it is great to note that playing with two hands is actually much less taxing than playing through each hand separately… likely the hands don’t have to work so hard when they are together, so the fatigue I mentioned earlier isn’t really a problem.

To end this session, I did a final run of 40-end with the soundscape field recording of China Lake that Michael sent me last week… I like the result, both sounds are so beautiful. I’m afraid, though, that one would distract from the other. One idea I had was to have the recording fade in as the marimba part reaches forte in the last few measures, and remain softly in the distance until maybe 20-30 seconds after the last note is played.

 

Rip Tide

Worked on problem measures identified two days ago (hands separate and together at 90-100bpm). It seems that these measures are much easier to play when taken out of context and played alone. I think the issue is more with mental visual focus in these more dense and constantly changing sections of the piece. However, I think working them isolated is helpful to make my brain and arms think they are easy. 😉

 

light day

Sightread 2- mallet music.

 

Surface Drifts

Mm. 93-end as block chords and as DV rolls (used as warmup)

5s – worked with metronome on, playing the RH and LH parts separately with the other hand playing it in unison one or two octaves above/below (to work on eye coordination, etc.); hands together (no metronome), around 35-40bpm… that is progress, and the connection between the notes on the RH and LH is clear – now it is just an issue of eye coordination to get it faster.

 

come together. right now.

Surface Drifts

Technique/warmup – SI/DV warmups; interval changing exercises m2-octave; chromatic scale exercises, focus on mallet combinations 1/3, 2/4, 2/3 for building endurance and accuracy for middle sections of piece; SA exercises focusing on TT-m3 intervals, maintaining dynamic strength and evenness in both mallets, in top three octaves of marimba. LOTS OF FOREARM AND WRIST STRETCHING TODAY!!

Mm . 93-end – worked through with each hand alone, playing unmetered SA rolls, working on volume, evenness of two mallets, and finding the most optimal placement for mallet on bar (considering other hand position, interval and dynamic needs); hands together at 80bpm

Mm. 40-92 – worked hands together at 60-70bpm (except where unison 5s occur… those were hands apart, to be worked on together later);

5s hands together – (hands apart are at 65bpm) trying to see patterns that connect the two hands; so slow with hands together that is isn’t even worth trying to work with the metronome

Mm. 1-25 – memory work; worked with metronome at 45bpm

 

Rip Tide

Read through all at 80bpm with BD

 

crazy eyes and double bass is IN!

So, I had to take a few days off to recover from snow day shoveling inflammation in both my wrists and elbows. Totally lame, but it was necessary… we had over three feet of snow in less than 36 hours and more came down later in the week. In my time off practicing, I did spend a day in the studio with Patti Van Tassell, finished my new lit reviews for PAS and got to the Music Square, the local music shop, to buy new drumheads for my kit (trying out the new Evans Calftone heads on the toms) and some new sticks (got Questlove’s super long and thin Vic Firth’s). So, still productive musically. 😉

Michael Gatonska had a chance to listen to the recordings I made last week of mm. 60-end of Surface Drifts (more on his thoughts/preferences later) and he sent me a field recording his did at China Lake and asked if I might try playing Surface Drifts with it in the background, just to see… maybe the piece will end up being played with a pre-recorded soundscape??

Here is his China Lake field recording.

Rip Tide

Technique/warmup – MA/MI scales and arpeggios up and down entire instrument; improvise focusing on using leading tones to move around; chromatic lines moving in opposite directions in each hand; all exercises 120-160bpm.

Started working on music by reading through everything hands together at the maximum (accurate) tempos I achieved  last week, which I indicated should be the slowest I start all further practice with so I can begin the drive to push the tempo even remotely near 200bpm. (Remember, the tempos I set last week were 70bpm at the end, and only up to 120bpm at the beginning of the piece, so very slow). As I did this today, I found that I was about 90% accurate with the notes, even after having a significant 5 day break from practicing. That is good news to me; it means that I am actually solidly at those tempos, and am ready to push ahead.

Today, I started to integrate double bass drum part!! In order to do this I sat on a bar stool with the marimba as low as it goes 86.5cm (had to shift hanging position of mallet bag). I learned two things doing this – 1. obviously, playing marimba sitting down totally changes the visual perspective to sheet music and instrument, as well as the physical relationship (distance, height, balance, etc.) so I must continue this way from now on, and 2. being comfortable playing at its minimum height (and close enough that I can reach the still not set up cymbals) requires me to sit at a height that leaves my knees at least around a 160degree angle and my feet are actually under the large resonators. As a result, I may actually be more comfortable with the bass drum behind/beside (to the right) me, playing the downstroke of each kick with my heel, rather than my toe. Hhhhhmmmm……

In any case, I worked that way on the following pages, at the following tempos, trying to play the double bass drum part with my heels on the floor (no pedal set up yet):

  • Pages 10-end at 70-80bpm (80bpm = minimum tempo for tomorrow)
  • Pages 8-9 at 80-90bpm
  • Pages 6-7 at 90-100bpm
    • (100bpm got a little messy and my eyes are starting to cross. When I spend too much time on this movement, my eyes get seriously crazy… I am zoned in on the notated music somewhere between too focused and not focused at all, and everything starts to look the same. So, I took a break before going on.)
  • Pages 3-5 at 100-110bpm
  • Read through all (including bass drum part) at 80bpm
    • Measures that are still giving me trouble = 83-86, 97-99, 138-142, 161-164, 169-170

So, doing that I realized that some of the more difficult passages are actually easier to play at the lower position because my eyes are closer to the instrument and the music, making it easier for me to see both at the same time. And, interestingly, playing the double bass part did not mess up my hands, nor did it require me to go slower. In some places the starting and stopping of the bass part did leave me starting on different feet, but I don’t think that matters as long as they both sound the same. Final thought…to all upright bass players: how do you manage to sit on a bar stool for long periods of time without cutting off the circulation to your legs?? I will be getting padding soon, but I can’t see it making much difference.

Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – improvising, trying to sing notes before I hit them; basic four-stroke warmups

Read through all – just refreshing hands and mind. Tomorrow I will dig into this again, and hopefully will have more specific feedback from Michael on the recorded materials!

snow (not surface) drifts and flocking birds

Drumset

Warmup/technique – Morello-style stick control variations with triplets, 16ths, 5s, 6s, 7s, 32nd, flams, etc.; paradiddle variations in feet (8ths) with hands playing 16ths; grooving with left foot BD, attempting samba bass with accent on second note (alternating between R and L foot to compare sounds and technique issues)

Improvised in 2nd-line style and played along with Bob Marley.  😉

Rip Tide

Warmup/technique – chromatic exercises with hands moving in opposite directions

Pages 10-end – Worked on each hand separate (with ostinato in other hand) at 140bpm; hands together at 70bpm

Pages 6-9 – Worked on each hand separate (with ostinato in other hand) at 140bpm; hands together at 70-90bpm

Pages 1-5 – hands together ONLY at 110bpm

Surface Drifts

Had LOTS of snow to shovel today, so didn’t get to this as planned. I know it’s March and I’m supposed to be irritated about this blizzard, but I’m not. It’s beautiful, and the birds are flocking to our feeders, making the most beautiful sounds together. Yay snow!!

flawed recordings…

Rip Tide

Warmup/technique – chromatic exercises (scales, m3/M3) with unison 8ths at 1/4 note = 160bpm; octaves as alternating 16ths at 1/4 note = 160bpm

ALL (starting at end and working backwards section-by-section) – LH as written with RH playing 8ths on single pitch at 1/4 note = 140bpm; RH as written with LH playing 8ths on single note, and in two-note patterns; both ways focusing on playing the moving line at notated dynamic while maintaining speed… it is easier to play soft at this speed, but need to push volume and tempo together.

Tempo progress report to self (hands together comfortably and accurately) – page 10-end at 1/4 note = 70bpm; pages 8-9 at 1/4 note = 80bpm; pages 6-7 at 1/4 note = 90bpm; pages 3-4 at 1/4 note = 100bpm; pages 1-2 at 1/4 note = 130bpm

For future practice… hands together should generally not be slower than the tempos indicated above, and pages 1-5 should almost always be hands together; pages 6-12 still need hands apart, but need to focus more time on hands together.

Cold run (later in the day), without metronome, but approximately (at least) 1/4 note = 80bpm

Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – DV exercises = octaves, interval changes, etc.; SI chromatic exercises playing 8ths, triplets, 16ths, and 5s with metronome at 1/4 note = 70bpm (all mallets separately)… 5s are tense (in all mallets) at this tempo, need to work on building this up, summed up from best to worst mallet 3421 ;-(

measures 60-end – worked all at 1/4 note = 80bpm, RH alone and LH alone playing unmetered SA rolls

Recorded 60-end in the following ways (all at about 80bpm):

  • DV block 16th note chords
  • DV (alternating) regular rolls
  • SA unmetered rolls
  • SA unmetered and ripple rolls combination

Click here for recordingsThese are definitely flawed recordings… of course, as soon as I pressed the record I made mistakes that I haven’t been making in practice. That’s partially why I did it…to see what would fail under pressure. Regardless of the mistakes, I am posting them, so Michael Gatonska can start getting an sense of what affect these four versions offer.

Page five – worked on 5s, hands separate RH at 65bpm; LH at 55bpm; both mostly memorized; wrists definitely tight when playing. I need to warmup into it better. (I stopped playing for a bout 45 minutes, then went right into this…)

Measures 1-25 – worked on memory, hands together and separate, tempo about 50bpm (no metronome practice)

 

just another day

Drumset

Warmup/technique – worked on several paradiddle variations from the drumset book I am reviewing; worked through several pages of Soph’s Musical Time, exercises from Soph’s Essential Techniques (building tempo), and Latham’s Funk Studies (building tempo); double bass tech – singles and paradiddle variations (in hands and feet, sometimes in unison, sometimes in opposition) as 8ths, triplets, 16ths, and 32nds at 1/4 note = 90bpm; soft rolls (double and multiple bounce) played alternating with 32nd singles; sightreading rudimental solos and Delecluse solos at piano

2-mallet/orchestra music

Scales/arpeggios at 160bpm across entire instrument; 8th note double stops in chromatic patterns moving in opposite directions across 4 octaves

Practiced orchestra mallet parts (at tempo and faster), listened to recordings and read through percussion scores focused on choreography and movement between instruments.

43124312/4343434343/12431243/12121212

Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – DV exercises (m3/M3, different in each hand, moving in opposite directions); SI exercises – 1/3, 2/3, 1/4, 2/4 chromatic lines, moving in opposite directions; SA exercises – P4/M3/m3s playing 5s at 1/4 note = 92bpm, almost feels smooth, not  striking each note individually, rather simply rotating as stroke should; when trying M2s though, I lose volume (at this tempo) and have to slow and execute each note as individual strokes, not rotating… so, tried some exercises to build strength at this interval… 43124312/4343434343/12431243/12121212, and similar variations playing 16ths (Ma2nds) at 1/4 note = 92bpm (again, rotating, but striking each note)

mm. 60-end – DV block through at 1/4 note = 80bpm; metered SA (16ths) rolls at 1/4 note = 80bpm (manageable, with good volume) and 88bpm (manageable, but not great volume control, and too much tension in arms); flexibe, unmetered SA rolls and ripple rolls (when appropriate) with 1/4 note at 88bpm = I think this is going to be the best interpretation of this section of the piece because it highlights the harmony of the 2 or 4 notes together without sounding like rhythm, and it allows for easy transfer from 2 and 4 note chords without abrupt texture changes. currently i do have more limited dynamic range (on the loud side), but that will grow. And, I think I found a solution for the ending measures… instead of playing the Bb/C SA forte roll with mallets 3 and 4, I need to take a breath and switch to play the Bb with mallet 4 and C with mallet 3…. there is no breath notated, as the roll is tied over several measure, but this allows for the greatest impact/force/energy to end the piece… we will see what Michael Gatonska thinks. Almost ready…RECORD TOMORROW!!!

page 5 – worked RH 5s at 1/4 note 40-60bpm (gradually increasing speed); worked LH 5s at 1/4 note = 40-50bpm (LH patterns have more spread out intervals, and left hand is just left hand); RH is memorized, LH is almost memorized; also worked each hand alone with the other hand playing in rhythmic unison on one note

mm. 40-90 – played through (slowly reading page 5), but all else at 1/4 note = 80bpm (no metronome)

mm. 1-25 – worked on memory (much better than yesterday); tempo approximately 1/4 note = 70bpm

YAY!! Almost the whole piece is in my hands. A few measures not yet touched, and I have not added any of the grace notes yet, but the structure is in me!

Orchestra music

Worked on mallet parts (picking up tempo); listened to recordings of pieces

FAILED my memory test today

Drumset

Stick control warmup with samba in double bass (right foot on down beat, left foot on pickup; and the opposite); exercise inspired by Blake Fleming’s late evening practice post on Facebook – played  16th notes in feet (RF and LF lead), with one hand playing 8ths and the other playing triplets = 4:3:2 (tried hands switching sides). Thanks Blake! (In case any of you don’t know, Blake is awesome on so many levels…check him out!)

I also tried out (just reading through) the first 15 pages of exercises in a new book that I am reviewing for the Percussive Notes. The book basically takes stick control (paradiddle) exercises and writes out variations in different meters for snare alone and drumset applications.

Surface Drifts

60-end – worked through with slow DV block chords, fast 1324 rolls, and metered and unmetered SA rolls (hands together, and hands separate). I am currently working on going back and forth between playing slow-ish alternating metered SA rolls and faster alternating unmetered SA rolls because I can not get the volume I need with the faster alternating unmetered rolls (lack of strength, endurance but also due to the difficulty of doing so with very small (m2-P4 intervals) in each hand… my hope is that by working the slower metered SA rolls, I am essentially building my strength and endurance. I can get the right volume with the slower metered SA, but it doesn’t actually sound like a roll. Playing the highest Bb/C at forte in one hand with SA rolls is just difficult… add to it that the RH is playing the A right below the Bb in the RH, and things get a little awkward. 😉 I am also working this section over and over to gain control over good tone while playing these small interval SA rolls at pianissimo… also not easy. I can also get the volume with ripple (1243) rolls, but then when changing between 2 and 4 note chords there is an abrupt difference in texture. What to do?

mm. 40-60 – worked hands together and separate – no metronome

mm. 1-25 – memory test (after at least 5 days of not playing this part of the piece!) = FAILED (only remember the first two lines). However, when I tried playing through (reading), my hands remembered what they were doing. Note to self – five days away from memory work is not recommended.

getting back to it (what happened to that alternating two-day plan I made??)

Since I spent so much in studio, in performance and working with project collaborators these last few days, I didn’t get any concentrated practice time. So, today I need to start slow.

Warmup

Basic stick control exercises – standing, focused on breathing and fluidity in lower body; finger control and wrist strokes. Sight-read a few Delecluse etudes.

Rip Tide – using Abe mallets today (and ear plugs)

Technique – 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, octaves (all with alternating sticking up and down entire instrument, then with double stops, no metronome, but changing tempo often); improvising double stop with differing chromatic patterns in each hand within range of piece.

Worked on pages 6-10 – one hand playing static 8ths on one note, then with static two note patterns, while other hand is read as written at 1/4 note = 100-120bpm. Playing the static two-note pattern in RH while reading LH was much more difficult than the other way around… had to go much slower to accomplish the mental coordination. Worked hands together at 1/4 note = 90bpm. Some problem measures still causing stumbles, but overall physical and mental tension is absent… as Michael Gatonska put it this weekend, the piece is starting to feel ‘mechanical-zen-like’ – my hands and my brain are no longer working so hard, or fighting each other. Now, it’s really time to work the tempo, and add the cymbals and kick drum to the mix.

Read through all at 1/4 note = 80bpm.

Orchestra music – worked through mallet parts (stickings, building tempo, etc.) for several pieces for orchestra gig later this week

Surface Drifts (quick practice, just to get 4-mallets in hands today)

4-mallet technique – DV, SA, SI at all intervals m2-octave; 1324 and 1243 permutations

Worked page 5 hands separate and together; worked page 6-end with various rolls types.

weekend fun with Tuhausen and Schtockdor

I was really busy over the weekend with orchestra rehearsals and performance, a recording session and a day of workshopping initial ideas with one of my favorite collaborators. I’ll work my way backwards….

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Dryhill Studios with Andris Balins and Patti Van Tassel in what turned out to be a group music therapy session! It was so much fun! Patti had written lyrics for a tune she originally envisioned as a chant. After talking about the intent of piece (tentatively titled Peace on War), and listening to the lyrics, Andris started playing around with a slow drone on the the organ, and I improvised some pseudo old sloppy military-style snare and kick drum grooves creating a heavy, tense protest song. I don’t really want to it all away before it’s released… it is Patti’s tune, and this is just the first track of an album of tunes! Anyway, we were able to get a good recording and mix of the three of us playing together, and simultaneously, I think we all let out a lot of anger and emotion that has enveloped us over the past few months. We were drained after each take and each playback.

———————-

On Saturday, Brett Masteller Warren and I spent about 5 hours workshopping some ideas that we have been discussing for the manipulations of nature project. This was our first attempt at making sounds for this particular project. My basic understanding before we got together was that we were going to be creating feedback loops with contact mics and contact speakers on various percussion instruments, potentially to be fed through various homemade analog filters. (And, though I could state that, I didn’t really even know what that meant.) I brought out quite a few instruments, but we primarily worked with a 32in timpani, a 21in timpani and a wind gong. I also brought about four stick bags of implements…and ended up not using more than 4 or 5 pairs.

We really were just experimenting, looking for sources that would give us a diverse range of sounds to play with. Brett and I often changed positions (him playing instruments, while I turned knobs); this was definitely an important experiment, as it made me listen differently. A few things (revelations?) came out of this for me…

  1. (At the moment…) This piece seems to be about me NOT striking the instruments that are hosting/sourcing the feedback loops. The piece is about unactuation of the feedback by applying varied pressures or lightly placing fingers (or other implements) in different places on the instrument to change the vibrations that are feeding the mic which is feeding the speaker which is feeding the mic which is feeding the speaker…aka the loop. 😉 I can see an effective performance being one in which you see no action from the percussionist… which is extremely counter to the way percussion is generally presented or experienced. I envision one performance possibility is that the percussionist is not in the room at all, or the visual presentation of the performer is hindered in some way.
  2. Playing the knobs made me listen differently, but also engaged me in a very nuanced kind of playing where minute motions created huge changes in texture. When playing knobs and percussion instrument, I was looking for the breaking point between two seemingly stable sounds and trying to hold it there.
  3. We should try to do this with more than one instrument having separate feedback loops (perhaps timpani as a low/drone-y static element, feeding back on its own with no performer manipulation, and wind gong with dynamic manipulations from performer (sort of functioning as melody)
  4. (Un)implements that worked well on the timpani – fingers, light chains, moleskin mallets, hard plastic mallets, smaller objects, paper; heavy objects did not work
  5. I would like to try feedback loops with tub(s) of water
  6. (Un)implements that worked well on wind gong – metal spoon, fingers

Andris Balins also stopped by to listen to our sounds, asked some great questions, and gave us feedback. A few thoughts, words, music, ideas that came from our conversations (mostly this is notes for us)….

  1. Playing feedback is working chaos in process
  2. Listening to the natural creation of feedback was interesting because on the surface it seems like it is static, and it seems like it is chaos, but if you listen deeply, you start to hear patterns that emerge in rhythms and pitches
  3. We should all look into Jim Crutchfield and his ideas about patterns in chaos
  4. Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed
  5. Think about levels/combinations of control/lack of vs. predictability/unpredictability, and then determine what our controls are (the instruments, the mics, the speakers, the room?)
  6. Cool band names – Tuhausen and Schtockdor (we were thinking about Stockhausen and Tudor) 😉

Below is a sample of the wind gong feedback.

time lag

So, I didn’t have much time to practice today (just sat at the kit with a pad for about 30 minutes before going to teach), but I finally shared my blog post on my Facebook page. I hope many of you (students, friends and colleagues) will subscribe to the blog, and give me feedback!

I also got a little inspiration from Matt Sargent, who is writing a piece for me with gongs and computer. It turns he also wrote a piece in 2010 for percussion and time lag (a technique that Andris Balins and I will be working with on another piece of this sabbatical project), called a river is many single things going to almost the same place at almost the same time – check it  out on Soundcloud.

Off to rehearsal…

 

what?! exercise can help you play better?!

It is a windy 60 degrees out today. I opened the window in my practice room so I can accompany the wind. 😉

Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – working into it slowly this morning by playing soft, outlining ii V Is in closed position, trying to think of the overall key rather than the specific chord in the progression; exercises to strengthen inner and outer mallets; metered SA rolls in RH/LH separately and together, playing triplets at 1/4 note = 120bpm (4ths sand 5ths); metered ripple rolls (1243) playing 16ths at 1/4 note = 120-130pm (4ths and 5ths).

Strange feeling today… my left hand feels stronger than my right, and the outer left hand mallet (mallet 1) feels stronger than usual. I have taken a few days off 4-mallets, so it seems strange, BUT, I have also been doing physical exercises (…a workout, so non-instrument related) that are strengthening core and upper body. I have always worked out, and in recent years been active cycling and running. However, when I saw that I was gong to have to play double bass drum for Rip Tide, I realized I also needed to strengthen my core and overall balance. It has made a huge difference in my running and cycling abilities, but also the physicality of playing! On top of that, I feel much less tension in my left shoulder and back than I usually do (fyi – old shoulder injury, so this has been a long standing battle for me).

Throughout whole piece – block chord roll sections (playing 16ths) 1/4 note = 65bpm; SA roll through all roll sections (playing 16ths) 1/4 note = 80bpm.

Ways to record mm 60-end for Gatonska (when I get my recorder back):

  1. metered block chords (playing 16ths) at 1/4 note = 80-100bpm
  2. unmetered SA rolls at 1/4 note = 80-100bpm
  3. unmetered ripple rolls (1243) at 1/4 note = 80-100bpm
  4. various rolls = ripple and SA (as I notated in music) at 1/4 note = 80-100bpm

At this point, I am not even sure which way I prefer… they all offer something completely different and interesting.

Worked on the middle layout (with the overlapping 5s moving in opposing chromatic directions). Super hard! But, I am finding the right hand part is easier to remember, so I am trying to work that into muscle memory first and just reading the left hand along with it. It is definitely going much better than last week, and coming together more quickly than I though it would. Yay!!

Rip Tide

Read through pages 6-end just to test myself on yesterday’s progress. Pretty good. My hands, eyes and ears were quickly drawn back into the motion of the piece – that means it is starting to get in me, and I don’t have to think so much!

Orchestra music

Received parts for orchestra concert next week – marked parts (choreography, etc.), read through all, practiced mallet parts and determined what areas need most work for this week of practice.

Other things…

Zoom recorder update – issue is not fixable, apparently… so, ordered a discounted upgrade today. Hopefully we will be recording by this weekend!

This was a long day of practice, my head is tired, but my body feels good.