a much needed break

I took a few days off after the John Cage concert last Tuesday. It was definitely a much needed break, for many reasons: too many meetings, a lot of work to catch up on, and several deadlines with very quick turnarounds. Also, a bit of mental fatigue from Cage prep…and the world in general. ;-(

This week, I am back to it, but again have several morning meetings that will thwart my practice sessions. And, unfortunately, I just do not have the energy to create and practice at the end of the day. So, I am hoping to get in several quick and productive 15-30 minutes sessions during the days while I am on campus.

Here’s to another week…



I needed to start off the week improvising. This was a bit directionless, musically speaking, but I played for about 30 minutes, including grooves that highlighted 2:3 and 3:4 polyrhythms, then shifted focus to developing BD endurance and speed (for the benefit of Rip Tide). After a while, I actually put on the metronome and worked on 8s on all limbs, together and in various combinations at tempos between 200-160bpm (I started faster, and had to slow down as I got fatigued). My attention was definitely on preventing tension up the spine and down the leg and into the ankle; I was able to maintain good use for the most part, with a nice relaxed flick of the ankle to strike the kick drum.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Pink Floyd lately, so I spent the rest of this session playing along with Dark Side of the Moon.


Rip Tide

ALL – played through entire piece, with BD, cymbals, marimba, all in, without tempo, but around 130bpm.

Mm. 1-93 – worked sections (all in) with metronome at 132bpm; it is not too difficult to add BD after working hands so much. At school, I have timpani stool set up, and a floor tom with kick pedal mount… this works very well. When I try to push tempo and have to play with BD foot heel up, my dynamic level is less controlled and the BD tends to get too loud. Also, playing in a smaller room just makes everything loud, and therefore, harder to hear. Marimba keys are smaller and closer, so inaccuracies all over the place. I must get better at adjusting to the two set ups…

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