a few days of catch up

I was in the studio with Patti Van Tassel twice this last week, and working with Andris Balins on our time lag piece in the studio one day. So, even though there hasn’t been much physical practice, I have had a pretty productive and creative week!

I have been feeling a twinge of pain in my right wrist from inflammation this week, so I have been taking it easy by just doing AT work, improvising, sight-reading with 2-mallets on marimba, playing drumset, doing simple pad work… and, to prepare for upcoming gigs, I’m doing a lot listening, score study, visualizing and practicing in my head. I haven’t done any four-mallet work, but I have been looking through the music and visualizing Surface Drifts quite a bit



not much to report…

After last practice session, I realized that I needed a mental break from practicing these two marimba pieces. I was in the studio today and yesterday, so I didn’t have much time to practice anyway. Today I just played drumset for about an hour, working through a set list of tunes for a gig I’ll be playing next week.


going in with no plan = not the best idea i had today

Rip Tide

Warmup/technique – exercise with BD, 1x no metronome; then at 130bpm, 140bpm, 150bpm, 160bpm. I am still working to find the best height for the stool…when legs are comfortable and balance is good, the arms are not comfortable, when arms are comfortable, balance is off and legs are too straight for comfort. There will be a solution. I just haven’t found it yet.

Mm. 1-93 – with and without metronome, with double kick and single kick, between 130-170bpm. Today’s lack of strategy was a mess… however, when I calmed down and just tried playing with single pedal at 130bpm, all was well and more solid than it was previously

Mm. 94-116 – with and without metronome at 130bpm. Not bad, but I am really tense!!! Need to stop!


changing positions

Surface Drifts (first session)

AT floor work

Warmup – DV, SI, and SA exercises

Mm. 1-31 – worked with metronome at 1/8th note at 100bpm; hands together, working through each phrase numerous times (beginning with last phrase, and working backwards always playing all the way to the end – this way I am getting tons of repetition on the less familiar sections), requiring at least 5-8x with 95% accuracy before moving on. 100bpm feels pretty good, except for the long phrase on the second half of page one. I should start at 100bpm next time I come to this piece, and work up at least +10bpm over the course of the next week.

Mm. 31-39 – worked without metronome (almost there!!!)

NEED TO DO/FINAL NOTES TO LEARN: M. 40 – grace notes (R and L hands separate)


Rip Tide (second session)

Set up BD so that I could actually use the double kick pedal. Played through exercise, with double kick pedal at 140bpm, 150bpm, 160bpm, and 170bpm. Arms and legs started phasing one another when I got to 170bpm, partially due to fatigue and partially due to technical discomfort.

Mm. 1-94 – worked in sections, all in at 130bpm (seated, and playing double kick pedal); a little sloppy, but much less fatigue than standing and playing with one foot. This is the solution, but I need to develop better balance playing with both feet from a stool that is a bit too high for comfort.



just another day in paradise

Surface Drifts (first session)

Warmup – DV 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-note build; SI 1/3, 2/3, 1/4, 2/4 combinations

Mm. 40-end memory check – about 95% accurate with dynamics, pitch, and rhythm!!!! Like yesterday, I did this as a speed run, hoping my mind and hands would be able to think faster than the piece actually requires.

Mm. 1-31 (including grace notes in m. 9 and m. 23) – played thru several times from memory

Mm. 31-39 – learned notes (one beat at a time)

Mm. 40-end memory check – same as above = good!

Sight read Bach Sonata


Surface Drifts (second session)

Ran ALL (looking at music ONLY mm. 31-39) – again, at least 95% accuracy

Mm. 1-31 – worked with metronome at 1/8th note at 80bpm; first, played through with metronome hands separate; then, hands together, working through each phrase numerous times, requiring at least 5-8x with 95% accuracy before moving on. Then, ran mm. 1-31 as written, with metronome at 1/8th note = 80bpm, and at 100bpm…both tempos pretty good. Start at 100bpm next time.

Mm. 31-39 – worked without metronome

M. 28 Learned grace notes (R and L hands separate still for all grace notes); still need to learn grace notes in m. 40



minor adjustments and memory lapses

Rip Tide (first session)

Because it is still set up from yesterday’s practice, I did a few reps of the warmup exercise, with BD and the addition of an adjustable timpani stool I brought home from campus yesterday – at 130bpm, 140bpm, SPAZbpm-no metronome (approx 180bpm), 150bpm (2x), and 155bpm. Obviously, sitting on the adjustable timpani stool makes this much easier to play the BD (faster) without fatiguing…I’ll work the hands while seated at this level this week. Regarding tempo… 155-175bpm seems to be the middle range between controlled stroke and a spazzy leg stroke. I can stay with the metronome (spazzing) at 180bpm, and at 150bpm in a controlled stroke, so I need to work bottom up and top down in order to get the middle tempos in control.

Played through 1x with hands only (while seated).  This is not too uncomfortable, though I am struggling a bit feeling that the marimba is too high (even at it’s lowest setting), and if I raise the seat, my leg will be extended too far for the BD reach to be comfortable. 

Below is a pic of my current set up… the only thing left to change is to mount the thunder sheet from the BD tom mount and boom it so that it sets directly over the marimba. When seated, I don’t have as much rotating range of motion, so I end up having to squeeze my right arm back too much to reach it in a good spot. In order to mount from the BD, though, I have to switch BDs… but, I am not ready to do that yet.


Surface Drifts (second session)

AT floor work

Warmup – DV (1-, 2-, 3-, 4-note build); DV P5 extending outward; SI 1/3, 2/3, 2/4, 1/4 combinations. I can feel a bit of inflammation in my right wrist (probably due to weekend painting and yard work), so I am going to keep this session short with a lot of breaks, and not play too hard.

Assessment of status:

Mm. 1-39 – played thru 1x slowly; mm. 1-21 = well memorized; mm. 22-31 partially memorized, needs work; mm. 32-39 not memorized at all

Mm. 40 – end – played thru 1x slowly; mostly in hands, very well-balanced, and at performance tempo; was reading music, though it is clearly lingering in memory… need to pull it forward, so I can start working on seeing this section as a whole.


Surface Drifts (third session)

Played thru 40-end 1x slowly (looking at music)

Worked on memory backwards from end – pretty good… was able to work back all the way to m. 40 from memory, and speed counting/playing through everything to make sure brain could remember quickly. I did find that I have been playing one beat rhythmically incorrect in m. 49.




still pushing ;-)

Rip Tide

I didn’t get in significant practice on this piece over the weekend, so I am carrying over my weekend practice schedule to today.

Sightread – Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas

Warmup – exercise for piece, with BD, at 120bpm, 130bpm, 140bpm (2x), 150bpm, and 152bpm, with 90 seconds between each set – much more in control than last efforts. However, at 150 and 152bpm, it took about 16 18th-notes before my BD was in control…once it was there, it stayed, but I need this to be immediate.

Mm. 119-168 (no BD) – played all slowly 1x, no metronome around 105bpm; with metronome at 115bpm, 120bpm, 125bpm, and 130bpm, in sections, not moving on until having played at least 4x with 90%+ accuracy AND lack of tension.

Quick AT floor session

Mm. 169-180 (no BD) – same as above, but at 110bpm only… brain is fried!!

Mm. 1-118 (all in) – played 1x with metronome at 115bpm , and 1x at 125bpm. Frankly, neither run sounded great, but my I am processing through faster, so there is progress.


short day

Rip Tide

Warmup exercise – 4 sets, with BD at 138, 144, 150bpm (2x), with 90 second breaks between each set; at 150bpm I started to feel my BD foot spaz and play too loud, but if I focus the technique on just flicking my ankle, rather than using my leg (which is happening because I’m getting tense), then it stays in control; I also tried to play at 152bpm, but quickly lost control and didn’t think I was going to get it, so I went back to 150bpm.

Mm. 119-180 – worked hands only at 130bpm, with metronome on. I did at least 10x on each section – this was actually pretty messy, but by pushing the tempo beyond my comfort I was forcing myself to process the input a bit faster. Again, accuracy was not great (especially mm. 167-180), but I was able to maintain lack of tension, and this is necessary at this point to get me out of the 120bpm rut.

Mm. 167-180 – worked hands only at 120bpm



marimba workouts

Rip Tide (first session)

AT floor work

Warmup – exercise created for piece, with BD, at 140bpm (this is about as fast as I can comfortably control the BD mf dynamic while playing the 8th notes standing with a single bass drum pedal)

Mm. 119-end (hands only… need to give left leg a rest) – worked sections between 110-120bpm… with no metronome running; then worked several sections together, finally running all mm. 119-end with and without metronome at 110 and 120bpm. 110bpm was pretty comfortable, 120bpm got a bit messy between mm. 167-180. Otherwise, good.

Mm. 119-end – played 1x hands and feet at around 110bpm (no metronome) – better than expected. I think I need to continue working hands alone (marimba and cymbals), and then adding BD… Standing on left foot alone is too taxing to work for even a short 45-minute practice session. At this point, today, I have been at it for almost 90-minutes, only standing on left foot for about 15. That is doable, and doesn’t seem to be difficult to add it after hands are comfortable.

Practicing this piece is definitely a workout… I am taking 60-90 second breaks between runs, just like sets at the gym. 😉


Rip Tide (second session)

Quick improv (including cymbals), and SR Bach (though that was hard to do with all the cymbals in the way)

Mm. 43-118 (hands only) – worked at 110bpm (with metronome)

Mm. 43-118 (hands and feet) – played thru 1x at 110bpm (without metronome); then, worked it for a while, trying to pick up tempo…

Mm. 43-end (all in) – ran 2x (no metronome) close to 130bpm!!! AND, I am sweating, but focused… only 74degrees in practice room today. 😉



something happened on the way to the… funny farm??

Surface Drifts (first session)

AT floor work

Long warmup – DV, SI exercises; played through Ewazen chorale 3x, then did some lengthy (and slow moving) modal improvisations. Very early during this warmup,  I felt EVERYTHING fall into place – physically, mentally, musically, technically, spiritually, etc. The stars aligned, or something. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I wanted to hold on forever. Physically, I felt no forcing, no tension; I was just there playing my instrument. I then became very aware that I was feeling the non-tension and hearing all the notes at the same time. I am sure this is what I am looking for all the time, but I feel I shouldn’t focus too much on this.

Mm. 1-25 memory check, mm. 26-31 practice/learn notes – played through all 2x, looking at music when necessary (integrating right and left-hand grace notes separately in different passes); worked on mm. 26-31 (memorized, with hesitation) no metronome , but trying to build tempo; then worked on mm. 1-31 with metronome at 1/8 note = 80bpm – which is about the tempo I have been falling at without keeping it strict with a metronome, so the right starting place for building.

Mm. 40-end memory check – played thru 2x glancing at music when necessary (more often than I’d like)

DID NOT GET TO….Two-handed grace notes mm. 9/23/28/40


Rip Tide (second session)

AT floor work

Warmup – exercise created for this piece at 120bpm-152bpm

Read thru all (BD, cymbals included) at least at 90bpm (without metronome), some sections were much faster. Not bad for having left the piece for over a week. Again, I am surprised at returning to this after such a long break with minimal loss in comfort.

THEN…I tried to work on the whole piece (in sections) until comfortable at 120bpm (this is the tempo I ended with in the last practice session). BUT, I apparently lost my focus somewhere and began getting frustrated. So I stopped the metronome, took a quick break to do AT floor work, and came back to it. Continued with this practice without the metronome for a few sections, trying to push tempo and then identify where I am after playing through. I was only able to do this for about 15-minutes, and frustration was setting in. Sigh… I don’t know why the metronome all of a sudden became my enemy!?!?! I think, for today, I will blame it on the fact that my practice room is 76 degrees, and I get cranky when too hot. 😉

Anyway, it is time to stop and think ahead…

My main objective, for this piece, for this week, is to determine each section’s max tempo again, and build tempos from there. I’ve got to get out of the 120bpm rut!!!

Ugh… what a day.


rethinking my practice schedule (again, shifty plans)

Rethinking my schedule… (fyi – in my world, everything is under constant evaluation, so I can’t help changing things all the time.) Last week, I was thinking that working heavily on Surface Drifts and Rip Tide in alternating weeks was a good thing. It has been helpful, up to this point, to work that way. HOWEVER, the last few days, I have noticed the numb/tingly feeling in my shoulder again… a result of working heavily on Surface Drifts (particularly the end of the piece with a lot of high range chords)) which is a lot of loud (hard hitting) and fast four-mallet work. (fyi – I also get really focused and excited about what I am doing, and tend to overwork myself). In order to avoid muscle injury (or, aggravating what may be a pinched nerve), I have come up with a new plan of attack for my weekly practice sessions. Still working in 45-90- minute practice sessions, I want to follow this weekly pattern:

Monday-Surface Drifts; Tuesday – Surface Drifts; Wednesday – Surface Drifts and Rip Tide; Thursday – Rip Tide; Friday – Rip Tide; Saturday -Surface Drifts and Rip Tide; Sunday -Surface Drifts and Rip Tide

This pattern also reflects my mental capacity/strengths as the week progresses…. I am always much more focused at the beginning of the week, and over the weekend, than I am towards the end of the week. (Surface Drifts is more mental work, Rip Tide is more physical work.) Also, fyi (too many fyi’s for one day) – most of my practice occurs before noon, though I do also practice in the afternoon. These days, I rarely practice in the evening.


Surface Drifts (first session)

Considering my shoulder issue, I am going to spend most of today working on the first 39 measures of the piece, since they require the most mental work, and the least taxing physical work. I should run 40-end at least once today, though, to check memorization.

Warmup – improvised DV alternating notes (hands set in 2nds, 3rds, 4ths); SI chromatic scales with mallets 2/3; SI misc intervals with mallets 1/3, 2/4, 1/4

Mm. 26-39 (learning notes) and mm. 1-25 (memory/tempo) – note-by-note, I learned the first two phrases starting at m. 26 (so mm. 26-31); in between working on learning those notes, I memory tested mm. 1-25 about 5x with good accuracy and faster tempos each time.


Surface Drifts (second session)

Warmup – AT floor session; simple melodic improv with DV, SA, DL and SI strokes, focus on full body posture

Mm. 1-25 memory check, mm. 26-31 replay – all pretty good… almost have 26-31 memorized. Should try to get all the way through 39 memorized  by end of this week. Hands/shoulders feel good.

Two-handed grace notes mm. 9/23/28/40 – learning notes in each hand separately (going into the phrase they precede), trying to hear each linear phrase. I only got thru mm. 9 and 23 (left hand part in m 23 is SO COOL!!). Replay in memory checks from now on. And, try learning one grace note passage each time I come to the piece for the rest of the week.

DID NOT GET TO… DO TOMORROW Mm. 40-end – memory check and repetitions



Surface Drifts (first session)

Warmup – DV alternating improvised chord progressions; SI alternating exercises with all 2 mallet combinations; DV blocking (4ths and 5ths)

Short AT floor session

Goals for today – mm. 26-39 (learn notes), 5s (build tempo), grace notes (learn notes in each hand separately), memory checks, and tempo building/checking for mm. 1-25, and 40-92, read 93-end

ALL 5s from memory – started at 200bpm (metronome playing the 5s) and progressed incrementally up to 240bpm… at 240bpm  (or 48bpm) I started losing accuracy, so this is as far as I pushed today. Next time, I will start around 220bpm and try to push above 250bpm. Still a long way to go here, but there is definitely progress from the last time I tried pushing the tempo (especially in control of tension and posture). I also played a few times without the metronome, pushing where possible, and pulling where necessary.

Memory check on mm. 1-25 = good, except I forgot transition into 4th phrase

Memory check on mm. 40-92 = good, except that I keep forgetting the first chord, and m. 66

Read thru mm. 93-end (start here again with next session… should start memorizing…. just take the sheet music away!!)


Surface Drifts (second session)

mm. 93-end (working on memorization) – first, played thru 1x looking at music; then, played thru 2x glancing at page for phrase references only; then, tried to play without music and ended up cheated a bit, so turned the page over; tried 2x with no reference = accuracy okay… but the rhythms at the end of the loud, single-pitch gestures are getting muddled in my head… not sure which is which, so I worked on those gestures alone for a bit; played thru with metronome at 72bpm and 80bpm and noticed that I am rushing a few of the figures and elongating many of the rolled measures

mm. 40-end (with metronome at 80bpm and 100bpm-indicated performance tempo, except measures with 5s) – looking at the music, I read through all of this section 3x. This is important today, as it is really the first time I am getting a sense of the bigger picture, in real time, with the roll type that I have been working on… I think it is working pretty well, though I am still feeling very mechanical about my musical choices. In due time…    Nonetheless, I think I will record this section this week. For now, I am feeling a bit of tension in my right shoulder, and my middle finger skin is getting tender again (lots of loud, fast rolls in the highest range of the instrument), so it’s time to stop and bandaid up. 😉


shifty plans ;-)

I’m going to be in the studio with Patti Van Tassel again today, so my practice at home is going to be rather minimal.

Surface Drifts/four-mallets

Warmup – one-note, two-note, etc. exercise, DV block to DV alternating rolls; SI exercises with mallets 2/3, 1/3, 2/4. 1/4 combinations in unison and alternating hands. All this was done while canvassing body (top to bottom) for tension – I’m noticing myself regularly locking my knees back and sucking my stomach in, and occasionally squeezing my shoulders back.

I only have a short time to work this morning, so I am choosing to work only on memory and tempo goals set yesterday.

Memory checks (mm. 1-25 and mm. 40-92) – mm. 1-25 = great note accuracy, again tempo is slow and spaces between phrases are not accurate (I played through once very slowly, then several more times at progressively faster tempos); mm. 40-92 = not as great… I had to look at the page to remember what the first chord was!! and I had to look again at mm. 66!! Otherwise, it was okay.

SHORT BREAK to do AT floor work…

5s – played through several times, listening for ways to phrase the notes; building tempo, started at 40bpm (at first, I had to break up the long phrase into smaller sections to keep with tempo). Well, today this turned out to be more about keeping a steady tempo and connecting the longer phrase, rather than actually building tempo (and realizing that I need to use harder mallets for 2/3, and noticing exactly where my eyes need to go to anticipate the upcoming moves). Anyway, I was able to get there at 40bpm, so after a few days of this I think I will actually be able to work on building the tempo. I mostly worked with the metronome on (playing all 5s), but I also played without a few times, and tried to play it at 50bpm.





rainy days are my favorite days to practice marimba (instrument sounds better, and I just love hearing and watching the rain while I practice)

Surface Drifts (first session)

Warmup (for the day) – started with SI, DV techniques, improvising and working on scanning body for freedom/non-tension; SI exercises included unison intervals octaves-two octaves with all two mallet combinations, and alternating 3rds, 4ths, etc.

Insert mini improvisations on the graphic score movement of the marimba piece – I haven’t forgotten you!! Generally, when I am warming up, I like to take at least 10-minutes to improvise (sometimes thinking about this piece, sometimes not)… it definitely helps me to loosen up physical, and it makes me feel more connected to the instruments, and/or the sounds I make (in both improvised and composed music).

Mm. 40-92 – memory check (I quickly visually read through the sheet music, setting my body in the appropriate positions as the music dictated, continually switching eyes from sheet music to mallet/note shapes at the instrument before attempting to play without music.) The result = first time not great, second time much better (complete accuracy on pitches, though durations and some dynamics off)


Suface Drifts (second session)

Mm. 40-end – mm. 40-92 memory check (no peeking first); 93-end read through

Mm. 1-25 -mm. 1-14 worked on each phrase separately and together, including memorization (hand/arm/shoulder placement and footwork feels very comfortable today, and this is pretty much memorized…except the grace notes); mm. 15-25 worked on each phrase separately and together, including memory; worked mm. 1-25, again phrase by phrase, and then as whole. Note/rhythm memory in this section is very good, though I have yet to make myself honor the rests/spaces between each phrase. I am playing this at about 50bpm (should be 80bpm), so the one- to two-measure rests are pretty excruciating.

Goals for tomorrow: mm. 26-39 (learn notes), 5s (build tempo), grace notes (learn notes in each hand separately), memory checks, and tempo building/checking for mm. 1-25, and 40-92, read 93-end



With a note from Martin (AT teacher) in mind, I did a 15-minute session of laying on the floor, knees up, continually canvassing my attention from head to toe.

Surface Drifts/4-mallets

Started with one-note, two-note, three-note, etc., similar to yesterday. Worked with various intervals and mallet combinations (2, 3, 4) with feet set at center of instrument…. I was working on maintaining good balance, and free postures while extending to the high and low ranges of the instrument. I feel this was a good activity, and I seemed to be able to catch myself before I tensed. I was keenly aware that the tone/balance of the notes DID NOT change when I shifted from a more comfortable position to an awkward position. (During this exercise, I also thought now that I have built up strength from weight training, I can get back to doing yoga again, but with a focus on balance rather than strength and flexibility.)

Mm. 40-end – focus on choreography and MEMORIZATION! First, I worked on mm. 40-92: I read through a few times looking at the music, then walked away and tried to visualize the sheet music, then I left the music up for reference, but focused my attention on the visual pictures/patterns of my mallets hitting the correct notes (I did this 3-4 times), then I flipped the music to mm. 93-end, and  played through mm. 40-92 (1x) without the music, no lapses, and continued reading through the end of the piece. Then, I walked away, washed dishes, visualized mm. 40-92, and returned to do the same section without music and continue reading 93-end. Accuracy = very good… I think I forgot to play the phrase at mm. 45-46.  Still need a few runs of 93-end before taking the music away, otherwise, all notes and dynamics were in! I will check back on this later today.

Mm. 1-39 – read thru 1x. And, my brain is exhausted.

I will start here in next session, and continue checking memorization of mm. 40-92.





I started my practice this morning with a 20-30 minute session of AT work, in which I transitioned from laying, to sitting, to standing, then walking around the house. My focus, which I intended to bring to my practice, was very much on keeping my neck, spine, and shoulders free.

Surface Drifts/4-mallets (first session)

With the above in mind, and in muscle memory, I began my warmup with one single note, which I maintained until I felt I had at least 30-60 seconds of comfortable, free motion. I then added a second note, and third, and fourth, when I felt ready. After this, I gradually changed pitches on each of the four-mallets, until I was shifting pitches/chords, and ultimately body position, AND feeling free in the neck, spine, and shoulder area. I improvised this way a bit, with awareness on the notes, as well as my shoulders in particular. Then, I decided that I needed to try this while reading music, to see if I could maintain the freedom with the added mental exercise of reading, so I read through a Bach Sonata, elongating each note with several DV repetitions, until I could sense freeness in shoulders. After a while, I was able to read through the whole piece, reading notes and maintaining awareness on shoulder area.

THEN, I decided that I wanted to try this awareness activity while playing the notes of one f the pieces I am working on right now… but not Surface Drifts. So, I read through several pages of Rip Tide (with four-mallets in hand, playing with the inside two mallets, even though I am actually playing the piece with just two-mallets). I did this because I have felt (in past practices) that it is getting easier to maintain shoulder awareness with two-mallets, mostly because I get in to less precarious physical positions with my arms. I need to work on myself playing four-mallets with the same awareness and freeness. Working through Rip Tide this way was good for several reasons: it helped me see the piece from a different physical and mental perspective, and it showed me how much more quickly I feel tension in my shoulders and neck with four-mallets. I went back and forth between playing one particular page with two-mallets, and then with four-mallets, and the resulting tension difference was very clear. HOWEVER, when returning to four-mallets after playing with just two-mallets, it was clear that I was able to retain some of the feeling of freeness. Luckily, it was not the other way around – carrying over tension from the four-mallets into the two-mallet playing. I am not sure what all this means yet, but I definitely sense there is something useful for me here.

And, I have been doing this for 60-minutes, so break time…

Surface Drifts (second session)

I started this session with a short version of what I did earlier, starting with one note, then two, then three, etc., through to improvising chord progressions.

Mm. 40 – end – Since most of this is rolled chords, I figured doing this first would keep me most physically consistent. I read through these measures, staying on each chord until I felt settled. I noticed that the weird numb, tingly spot in my right should several times throughout this exercise. Perhaps I should have stopped playing, but I didn’t. It wasn’t constant, but when it was happening, I also sensed that I was forcing my shoulders down and back, rather than just letting them be.

Mm. 40-92 – worked on this section, actually tying phrases together (including all 5s, but not the grace notes); worked on arm/foot choreography.

A word on practicing in shorter timed sessions… these practice sessions seem to go so quickly (ranging anywhere from 45-90 minutes), and I almost always want to keep going. However, I do feel that I am accomplishing a lot, and when I look back at the end of the day, I find that I feel good about what I have completed (practice and otherwise) AND I do not feel exhausted by having given all my energy at one time to one thing.

I am also noticing that I am tending to work hard on Surface Drifts and Rip Tide in alternating weeks, though I do touch on them both throughout each week. I am ALWAYS afraid when I come back after some time off being totally immersed that I will have lost something. But that has consistently NOT been the case; I am actually coming back with better physical and mental memory than I left with. I think the lag in time forces me to rely more on my memories, which, in turn, is making them stronger.  This is definitely something to continue.

A word on my progress with the actual piece… it is high time that I start trying to memorize these notes. ;-(


back to my regularly scheduled program…

I’ve been out of my regular routine for over a week now (lengthy post coming soon…), so today is basically going to be a warmup to get back into both Rip Tide and Surface Drifts. Unless things go really well – or very poorly – I plan to do at least one 45/60-minute session on each piece. While working today, my AT attention will be on releasing my neck and spine, allowing my shoulders to fall away from my neck and from each other, and feeling the weight of my spine carried in the front of my body (rather than the back).

Rip Tide (first session)

Warmup – exercise made for piece, no metronome, but played between 110-140bpm

Read thru all (BD, cymbals included) at about 90bpm (without metronome). Not too bad. I could definitely feel myself remembering notes/patterns as they were happening, rather than anticipating them. And, either my hands forgot how far away the cymbals were or someone moved them (me) and they got farther away. I also did not feel left foot fatigue until the last two pages. I think this aspect (standing on one foot) is different than before due to better posturing (from AT work) and more strength (from leg work at the gym). I also really don’t like the sound of the BD today…insert blanket.

Mm. 153-168 – 110-120bpm This section is almost ready to be set at 120bpm!

Mm. 167-180 – 100bpm (most difficult choreography of the entire piece) 120bpm = not so much, but getting closer.

While working on these sections, I repositioned the BD so the double pedal is now in a more comfortable position.


Surface Drifts (second session)

Warmup/technique – a long session of DV block chords and alternating DVs, improvising progressions and patterns; long session of SI work, all mallets separate and in combinations of two, integrated improvised, semi-chromatic patterns of 5s.

Played opening chorale from Ewazen’s Marimba Concerto several times.

Sightread Bach Sonatas

I did not actually get into Surface Drifts music today… Mostly, I really needed to get 4-mallets back into my hands, and focus on AT work while moving around the instrument. Also, I was being lazy – I didn’t want to move the BD that was set up for Rip Tide.