building tempos

2-mallets/Rip Tide

Sightread – Bach partita

Warmup/Improv/Technique – improvised in dorian scale over a C# drone, focus on incorporating double strokes that move from naturals to accidentals, and building tempo/endurance with double stops; then played around a bit more with the natural to accidental stroke, notice more specifically today that the LH is more inaccurate when moving outward nat to acc than inward, and that the issue is over-reaching combined with not rebounding high enough from the naturals – when I thought about accenting the second note (the accidental), the issue was resolved, though with some tension.

Mm. (94)119-151 – began by working this section with the same approach as yesterday, playing 2 beats into the next downbeat, at 160bpm. I can only mentally handle this approach for about 20-minutes, so I got through mm. 119-134, took a short break, then played mm. 94-151 straight through, no metronome as fast as comfortable – with many sections pushing 145-50bpm with ease (though some wrong notes)!!! I also read through with hands separate, and in this way both hands were pushing 180bpm!!!

Mm. 1-93 – worked hands separate at 170bpm (LH struggles with endurance and maintaining good rebound/use at this tempo, partially due to the larger intervallic jumps and numerous shifts between naturals to accidentals; RH is fine).


a good day to play

Morning reading: The Percussionist’s Art, by Steven Schick – Intro, and started the first chapter, Because the World is Round

2-mallets/Rip Tide

Sightread – Bach partita

Warmup/Improv/Technique – yesterday in practice, I noticed that my use, tone and aim was bad in LH 8th-note passages (in Rip Tide) that included movement from naturals to accidentals, in both close and farther reaching intervals (in this piece the farthest single-handed reach is no more than a 5th). So, I intentionally incorporated a lot of this type of movement in my improv, sometimes playing with only LH, sometimes only RH, sometimes linear, sometimes double stops, altering tempos, dynamics, and style throughout

Mm. 94-118 – worked through, with metronome at 170bpm, playing hands separate and hands together, in a few ways. 1. striking 3-4 repeated notes for each written note, and 2. playing two beats into the downbeat of the third, so the practice of the two-beat phrases overlap. Intention is to build capacity to play smaller phrase at performance tempo, with good use, and ultimately lengthen to full phrases (over the course of the next weeks/months of practice). Some phrases posed more difficulty, partially because this method takes things out of context a bit, both physically and reading, so some phrases were repeated quite a bit and some needed single hand repetitions, and others even needed to be played at 1/2 tempo several times between attempts to play at 170bpm, in order to maintain good use. Also, my RH is often late at this tempo when returning to marimba from thunder sheet, so the double stops sound like flams. This ended up being very draining, both mentally and physically – after 40-minutes of this, I actually only got through about ten measures of this section….and needed to stop.

Mm. 94-153 – using same method as above, worked through the whole section (went much faster than my earlier session today); then played through all, without metronome, and felt like use was good throughout.


just working on myself playing my instrument

Morning reading: Alcantara’s Indirect Procedures – Conclusion


2-mallets/Rip Tide

Warmup/Improv/Technique – within range of Rip Tide, played around with singles and double stop 8s, dynamic contrast, static and moving lines… pushing tempo, integrating cymbals, etc.,

Mm. 94-118 – read thru both hands separately BUT playing with both hands when reading (different perspective); then played through both hands separately, as written, RH=170-180bpm (hands only), LH=160-170bpm (with and without metronome… was able to retain good use at these tempos hands separate for quite a while. When bad use creeped in, I slowed down to 120-130bpm, alternating hands separate and hands together.


productivity in short sessions = it’s working!

Morning reading: Alcantara, Indirect Procedures Chapter 18 – Stage Fright



Warmup/Improv/Technique – Going in, my intention was to work on endurance, as well as double kicks (two 16ths in a row) at faster tempos, on BD; I also wanted to work on playing in triple meter, leading with my left hand, feeling alignment between left hand and right foot playing together, dynamic control of all limbs. I ended up playing for about 45-minutes straight, working through all the above mentioned technical aspects through improvising melodically, but also sightreading through a few triple meter Les Parks rudimental snare solos over BD on 1 and 3, and HH on 2, and playing with phrases/dynamics over a changing tempo shuffle. I am sure more went on in that 45-minutes, but overall, I feel like I touched on everything I went in to work on, and was able to do so with a more musical approach.

The reminder from Alcantara’s book chapter about integrating technical and musical practices has really shifted my mindset in practice. I notice that since I have been thinking more about musicality during ‘technical’ practice, my hands are warmed up MUCH faster, and I am able to notice tension creeping in and can adjust myself quickly, rather than existing in a state of thinking about avoiding tension… which really only left me in a constant state of tension. I have always viewed my technical practice as a meditation, almost letting my hands move while my mind drifted into nothingness. I don’t think that is inherently a bad thing, and I do feel like what I have been doing these past few days/weeks is meditative in another sense. It is more productive and mentally/musically engaging, and is keeping me inside what I am doing rather than outside. (There is a chance that I have not actually understood the purpose or practice of meditation, but that is for another time and place.) I do believe there is still room (or need?) for me to do technique in the meditative way that I used to, but this more musical approach to technique MUST be present as well.



I did not get back to practice today… a bit tired, and felt such immense productivity in my morning session that I feel okay not doing more and letting my brain rest.


making space

Morning reading: Alcantara, Indirect Procedures, Chapter 17 – Integrative Practice Strategies. This chapter reinforced many strategies that I already use in practice (maintaining tempo of small phrases, but slowing down the pace, or while putting extra space between small phrases; also, making gestures of required of specific music without worrying about hitting the ‘right’ notes), but made me think of them in terms of AT work (using the slower pace, or the extra space to remind oneself of personal use, tension, posture, etc.)…. I am hoping to integrate some of these ideas into practice today.


Sightreading/Warmup – sightread a 4-mallet solo that I am reviewing for the PAS journal, Percussive Notes. It is mostly linear, so I read it first with two mallets, then with four.

Improv/technique – played with SI strokes, overlapping right and left-hand entrances with dramatic crescendos and decrescendos, sounding a bit like Christopher Deane’s Vespertine Formations; technically moved into DVs with a similar musical approach, then fell into playing the opening chorale of Eric Ewazen’s Marimba Concerto.

Mirror of the Navigation in the Western Sea – (this is one of the mvts of Gatonska’s marimba piece) I don’t often specifically practice this piece – a graphic score – but, every improv that I do is preparation for it. Today, I decided to go right into the score, setting it within 5-8-minutes, nothing fixed on the marimba, just 4-mallets. The result = a way more melodic and chordal improvisation than I am usually inclined to do when presented with absolute freedom, and I ended up using some of the cymbals that are set around my marimba for Rip Tide. This may be a result of so much recent improvisation focused on imitating or playing in different styles, rather than completely free improvisation.

Surface Drifts mm. 1-39 (with most focus on mm. 25-39) – Worked this section beat-by-beat, playing one beat into the downbeat of the next, between 70-80bpm (likely approximate performance tempo), focus on shifting with good use, and using space between each repetition and each beat change to remind self of AT. There are a lot of challenging shifts in this section, particularly mm. 25-39, so this type of practice, at performance tempo, is very useful to help me move toward ultimate performance tempo… assuming I do it comfortably. For the most part, I was able to do this, though I did have to stop after about 20 minutes to do some AT work on the floor. After I returned, use was better and I continued for another 20 minutes.

Surface Drifts mm. 1-39 (again, later, on campus) – continued working on these measures in a similar way…working backwards from the end of the section to the beginning. The practice method I started earlier has highlighted a few 32nd note passages that I need to change to DL strokes rather than two SI strokes.

Surface Drifts 5s, and thru to end – played thru 2x, then played thru to the end

In addition to more work with mm. 1-39 in a similar manner as today, try Surface Drifts 5s (again) same technique as above, at 65bpm.


fela kuti and the roots

Morning reading: Indirect Procedures, by Alcantara, Chapter 16: Daily Practice (again)

Sightread Bach Violin Sonata, to ‘clear the air’ 😉


Snare drum/drumset

Warmup/Improv/Technique – improvised with singles (first hands only, then added feet), moving into rudimental style improv, then settled into a sparse linear groove and played around that for a while. I thought a bit about the tension that built in my left foot during last practice session, but didn’t try ‘working’ on anything around it.

I also thought about sightreading, but decided that I really didn’t want to. 😉 So, instead, I played along with a few tracks of The Roots, and a few tracks of Fela Kuti. My BD foot started getting tense during a fast tune with a samba bass pattern… I kept playing with the tension probably longer than I should have, but my awareness was solid.

FYI – my dream job as a drummer is playing with The Roots. 😉


Rip Tide

Warmup/Improv/Technique – Worked at drumset a bit to start this piece – working on BD (single foot) speed, endurance, and flexibility. Changed tempos a bit, playing mostly singles in hands, and often double stops on toms (in lieu of playing double stops on marimba).

Sightread – Bach again, different Violin Sonata – a fugue that requires four-mallets that I played with two-mallets, challenging myself to determine – as I was sightreading – the right notes to play/not play in order to best maintain the voices of the fugue.

Mm. 153-end – read through RH part with both hands, read through LH part with both hands (new physical and mental connections for memorization)

Mm. 94-152 – read through all 2x (hands only) slowly and softly, without metronome, around 110bpm; then, with metronome on at 122-134bpm, worked in sections, focusing on choreography/movement/use of self when picking up tempo, when hitting wrong notes, when playing more challenging sections… for the most part, I was able to maintain relaxed use, as I was noticing tension before it arrived… or, rather, I knew where I had the tendency to tense up, and why, and was therefore able to prevent it from happening.  😉


September 1, 2017

Morning reading: Alcantara, Indirect Procedures Chapter 16 – Daily Practice


Snare drum/drumset (not drum pad!!)

Warmup/Improvisation/Technique – I decided to do my snare work at the kit…. I started by improvising with singles notes just on snare, but expanded to toms also, then added BD, and HH… I noticed while doing this that I was having a hard time controlling the volume of the HH, specifically, not being able to play as soft in HH foot as I am in hands and BD foot. So, while the improv was still based in singles, I shifted to a linear improvisation in multiple time signatures integrating all limbs with a focus on dynamic contrasts and control across the linear phrases. Improv shifted to include doubles and flam rudiments, and cymbals.

Sightreading – Delecluse orchestral solo (with snares off playing singles for rolls, over BD/HH on beats 1 and 2); read that solo again with snares on incorporating buzz rolls, and lots of rubato in tempo, while maintaining BD/HH under. Then improvised in that style before moving on to read Les Parks rudimental solo, with BD/HH under. More improvising with doubles in rudimental style commenced after.

Groove/style – began with a linear groove, but my mind shifted to something a student did in auditions this week and I decided to play a shuffle which then led me to vamping the Purdie shuffle for about 15-minutes. 😉

Through all of this, I noticed several things: 1. tension in my left foot, 2. that I no longer prefer the sound of the Zildjian New Beat HH (actually, I have NOT preferred this for a long time, just need to take the plunge to get a new set), 3. that I tensed up all over when reading the orchestral solo with buzz rolls, and 4. that as tension in my left foot built it contributed to more tension overall. Throughout, I was definitely aware that there was tension, and was able to reset and center myself from the spine, and ended feeling physically okay… but, the last thing I noticed was when I stopped my jaw released. So, the jaw clenching continues. No judgement, it just happens. It may stop tomorrow, maybe not.



Warmup/Improvisation/Technique – started by tinkering around with simple linear diatonic lines, incorporating leading tones (technically playing with RLRL alternating strokes or RRLL, etc.). Just playing around led me to play some melodies that sounded Aaron Copland-ish, so I decided to go full out with that in my improv – mostly working around in the key of Bbmajor. Then, I played with the exercise I created for Rip Tide, but instead of playing with metronome, I varied dynamics and played rubato with lots of dramatic tempo fluctuations; I also played around improvising double stops in the range of Rip Tide, incorporating some patterns from the piece in different rhythmic phrases.

Rip Tide (mm. 153-end) – first read thru (hands only, marimba and cymbals) with no metronome, mf dynamic – felt good!






Morning reading: Chapter 15 from Alcantara’s Indirect Procedures

Snare Drum

Improvisation/Warmup/Technique – rudimental style with sections including focus on flam rudiments – lots of inverted flam taps, roll rudiments, diddle rudiments, all combined, triple and duple feels, took on style of Les Parks rudimental solo (since I’ve been SR from his book so much lately)

Sightreading – Les Parks rudimental solo, Delecluse orchestral snare solo (basically, reading one a day from these snare books.. will be done with Parks book soon). I definitely noticed more tension while reading the Delecluse solo… I was clenching my jaw and more stiff in my arms and neck,,, tomorrow (and for many days ahead), I think I should focus on improvising in orchestral style and focusing on when tension arises. (Also, I need to play on snare drum, rather than drum pad…)


Short break to do Alexander Technique floor work, and focus on integrating neck, spine, legs, etc.


Four-mallets/Surface Drifts

Improvisation/Warmup/Technique – utilizing all stroke types, improvised over a  20-minute ‘C’ tanpura drone with the Indian rag/scale C, Db, E, F, G, Ab, B, with some linear/melodic improv, some chordal…trying to play ‘tonal’ harmonies within the chosen scale. About halfway thru I started singing along, vocally anticipating the notes I was playing, in an pseudo-Indian classical vocal style. I say pseudo because I am aurally familiar with the style, and though I have studied some Indian classical music theory (harmonic and rhythmic) and history with several teachers from India, I have not had any specific training in the execution of particular gamakas (ornamentations) of the styles/pieces/rags. Also, because of the limitations of the set 12-pitch scale of the Western marimba, I could not accurately translate the ornaments I was singing that went between the notes of the scale. Anyway…

MEMORY WORK Mm. 40-end – tried playing thru all from memory… no peeking first! I THINK that I was almost 100% accurate with notes and dynamics, though roll durations were a bit off because I was changing tempo in my head to accommodate the difficulty of various passages. There is one phrase (mm. 126-128) that I missed the RH rhythm, and I missed it yesterday too.

Mm. 40-end – with metronome at 1/4note = 80bpm (except 5s…these went to half time), and using sheet music for reference when necessary. Worked m. 40 a bit, and noticed measures throughout that I regularly play too slow in relation to others…

All 5s – with metronome at 50bpm, hands separate; hands together, no metronome

Played thru mm. 40-end, no metronome, from memory. Much better, more accurate tempo, dynamics and all notes were accurate. 😉

I didn’t get to practice while on campus today as I had hoped, but still feel good about regularity of practice and progress this week.



connecting the practice of technique with the art of the craft

Morning reading: Indirect Procedures, by Pedro de Alcantara, Chapter 14-Aesthetic Judgement


Snare drum

Warmup – Improvised starting with flam rudiments, and double paradiddles (not sure why… this is just what came out when I got behind the instrument); then turned improv into a Delecluse-style triple meter dance

Sightread – Delecluse orchestral solo, Les Parks rudimental solo



Improvised in numerous styles starting with 16th-note HH hip-hop/R&B groove playing with various open HH notes and syncopated BD patterns. That turned into a drum and bass groove, then to something more heavy metal-ish, and finally, somehow, I ended up trading fours with myself in a super fast swing. How’s that for taking it where it leads me!? In any case, the hands feel awesome this morning, and likely that is because I wasn’t thinking about them… I was just playing and listening. 😉 Something I read in the book Indirect Procedures this week has infiltrated into my practice… about non-doing and not letting technique practice be machine-like (which I have a tendency to do, because it has at times been like a meditative practice for me). However, that seems to result in me not always integrating the musical/aesthetic side of my practice into my technical practice. While it has been good for my personal/mental meditation, it may effectively separate technique and music. How can I play a technically challenging piece musically, if I do not practice technique musically?

Let’s see if I can take this to the marimba…


Surface Drifts

Improvised including all stroke types, varying dynamics, opposing dynamics n each hand, at times improvising in the style of Steve Reich, at others in the style of Surface Drifts.

5s – worked through mm. 56-60 backwards, one beat at a time, for a while – working towards greater accuracy and comfort in transition from 57-58, and 58-59; also played through 5s in m. 53 and m. 72 several times.

Mm. 40-end – played thru once reading, then played from memory with very high note recall, though hands didn’t always get to the right place. 😉

Mm. 1-39 – played through each section several times, getting used to different room, different mallets, and the school marimba. No metronome, not pushing tempo at all.

I actually found that my note memory was more accurate in this setting than it has been at home the past few weeks… perhaps being in a different setting my brain/memory work harder or just differently, and therefore performed better. What great evidence for changing things up, not always practice in the same place, with controlled settings… you NEVER know what’s going to happen on stage, and being flexible in practice is certainly good preparation for that uncertainty.




Morning reading – Indirect Procedures, by Pedro de Alcantara (re: Alexander Technique) Chapter 13: Technique


Snare drum

Warmup – improvised in Lt. Kije-ish style, playing ‘boldly’ ppp-fff, slow to medium tempo, duple and triple, included lots of flams, flam taps, and  two- and three-note drags; focus on listening to tone (yes, tone… even on the drum pad!!)

Sightread – Les Parks rudimental solo (almost done reading through the solos in this book)



Improvised melodic linear grooves… turned into some kind of samba groove… then triplet groove. Just taking it where it brings me.


Rip Tide

Set up 4.3 marimba with small BD, and cymbals in practice room on campus

Warmup – improvised 8s, 7s, 6s, etc., with crescendos, decrescendos and odd accents; improvised in range of piece.

The practice room at school is COLD!!! I hate AC, but I have to feel it, accept it, and choose to react to it with something other than hate! Hhhmmm…

mm. 1-42 – 1/4 note at 125bpm hands only, separate and together, worked mm. 30-42 extensively at 110-115bpm. Still sloppy, but my brain is recognizing the patterns sooner.

mm. 43-end – played through several times, in sections and hands only, without metronome… just getting used to cracked marimba bars and significantly different tone and resonance, as well metal sounds (I am not using the best, or even accurate instrumentation, just placing targets) different cymbal placement and different spacing of marimba keys.

I definitely need to mute the cymbals for practice in this room… for my sake, and for those around me. 😉


I was hoping to get in some practice on four-mallets today as well, but I am happy with the amount of work I got done on Rip Tide. In addition to setting up the space, I got my hands on a dehumidifier that is taking out the dampness and making the room a tiny bit warmer (thanks Gavin Vitale!!). Hopefully tomorrow it won’t take 45-minutes for my hands to feel warm!


Evening reading: Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon


officially back to work…

Today is my first day back to teaching after a semester (and summer) sabbatical. The day I finished teaching last fall was the beginning of this blog project, and I definitely plan to continue. This exercise has been really helpful to me, as typing out my practice, actions and reflections, has given me the opportunity to put out way more content that I ever did with hand written practice journaling. And, I have been able to create a resource that can be of some use to my students… as I said when I started, this really is for me, but it is out there in the world for my students to take what they can from it. Additionally, posting publicly, though I know not many people are regularly reading my posts, has helped me to at least feel more accountable on a daily basis.

So, as I return to work, my goals are:

  • to practice at least 2-3 hours each day, with perhaps one day off a week
  • to maintain a rotation of practicing snare, drumset and mallet percussion (with micro rotations on content, repertoire, and technique)
  • to stay aware of working on myself while I practice (AT)
  • to wake up in the morning with practice and teaching on my mind first, rather than other bureaucratic obligations to my institution


Snare Drum (at home)

Warmup/technique – 8s, stick control with clave accents, double bounces, 5-stroke, 7-stroke, improvised in rudimental style

Sightreading – Les Parks rudimental solo, Bach sonata/partita (on marimba)

Surface Drifts (on campus)

Warmup/technique – DV, SI, SA exercises

Played through all of Surface Drifts and worked on the 5s a bit, without metronome, slowly saying hello to a different marimba. It is a Marimba One, same as at home, but it feels different, sounds different, has different resonance, and I didn’t bring the mallets I have been playing with at home, so… basically, everything was different. It was not hard to adjust, but I did feel myself playing too hard at times and my left elbow was a bit tense.

Overall, I had a great first day back to teaching, and I am really excited that I not only got in a little over an hour of practice, but I also went to the gym after the work day! I must congratulate myself on getting off on the right foot… despite not being able to print my syllabi or login to the computer in my classroom. Who needs that?! 😉


just another day in paradise

Snare Drum

Warmup – 8s, stick control with clave accents, metronome at 100bpm

Played thru Surface Drifts RH/LH rhythms on snare, metronome at 100bpm – much better than yesterday

Sightread – Les Parks rudimental solo, metronome at 100bpm


Surface Drifts

Warmup – SI, DV exercises (half diminished chords, dominant 7 chords)

5s at mm. 56-60 – with 1/8th note at 90-95bpm, 1/4 note at 50-60bpm!!!!! This is definitely getting more comfortable at the faster tempos, tension is NOT building as I get faster. I think this has as much to do with how/what I am practicing as what I am doing at the gym these days! Thanks to my PT for understanding how to correct muscle balance by working areas that assist and oppose drum posture!! Also, completely memorized.

5s at mm. 53 and 72 – 1/8 note at 90bpm, hands separate and beat-by-beat following thru to next downbeat; each time moving to higher tempo or next section after at least 10 goo runs. Mostly memorized.

Grace notes – ALL – just ran each hand separately at least 5x. Mostly memorized.

Played thru mm. 1-40 including grace notes (one hand at a time), no metronome. Feels good today, though, no metronome.


going back to work… trying to get a few minutes to practice today!!

Snare drum

Warmup – 8s, stick control triplet-style

Played thru RH/LH rhythm of Surface Drifts on snare drum… not as easy to do as it might seem!

Sightread – Les Parks rudimental solo



keeping it simple – day two

I decided to take a day off practicing yesterday. I needed a mental break, and my left wrist was a little swollen/bruised/tender…I think I just hit it on something, but there was no need to inflame it more by practicing.


Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – exercises for SI, SA, DV strokes

Mm. 1-39 – worked RH only with 1/8th note metronome at 95bpm; worked LH only with 1/8th note metronome at 90bpm; hands together with NO METRONOME; hands separate and together, worked sections from end going backward to beginning in order to get more repetitions with ending material than beginning which is more familiar.

5s/grace notes – worked all grace notes between mm. 1-39 with hands separate, some hands together



right is left, left is right

Snare drum

A few days ago I rearranged a mirror in my practice room at home to a space next to my snare drum. Since then I have been having fun trying to trick my brain into seeing my left hand as my right, by positioning myself so that when I play and look in the mirror I only see my left hand, but it looks like my right because of the placement. I have worked like this quite a bit over the past 10-15 years, in effort to trick my brain into visually and, ultimately, physically believing that my left hand is equally as dominant as my right. Sometimes I feel very obvious differences immediately, sometimes not… but, I do know, overall, that my hands have become much more equal – when playing anyway. I do try to do regular household activities with my left hand on occasion, with less luck; and, I definitely can not write with my left hand. 😉

Also, for the past few weeks, I have been dancing/moving around while practice snare drum and basic technique exercises on marimba (sometimes moving in tempo, other times not). I am not completely sure why I started this, but my feet remain planted, and I move my mid-section, I THINK in order to challenge myself to be mobile, flexible, yet planted in feet and solid in arms/shoulders. In any case, it is definitely helping me remain aware of my whole body while playing, rather than just my arms/upper body, AND it is fun. 😉

Anyway, with that in mind…

Warmup/technique – 8s, stick control – with varied, flexible tempo and dynamics throughout


Surface Drifts

Warmup/technique – improvised DV chords; played 93-end as slow DV block chords

93-end – alternating DV chords, as written

40-end – alternating DV chords, as written, with 82-end from memory (pretty accurate… form was there, though some notes, duration and dynamics were off)

5s – worked hands together, metronome at 8th note = 80-100bpm  (focused on m. 53, mm. 56-60)

40-end – ran thru at 75bpm (except 5s, which were played in half-time)


keeping it simple

Snare drum

Warmup/technique – 8s, stick control 16s at 116bpm; controlled bounces 2, 3, 4 into rolls at 71bpm.

Sightread Les Parks rudimental solos, with metronome


Surface Drifts/Four-mallet

Used Bach sonatas to work on DV strokes (chorale-ish mvts) and SI strokes (mallet 3 and 4, with gig-like mvts); SI mallets 1 and 4 with octaves and chromatic scales; SA strokes with M3, m3. Metronome on at 82bpm.

40-end – worked through various issues…no time to articulate what those issues were 😉


setting goals…

My goals for the day are to work through all of Rip Tide, and to get four-mallets in hands for at least 30-minutes.

Rip Tide

Warmup – scale exercises, exercise for piece at 140bpm

Beginning to end, in sections – all hands (including cymbals), slowly, no metronome, several repetitions throughout

Mm. 153-180 – hands separate (including cymbals and marimba) at 108bpm, 118bpm (could definitely be faster); hands together at 108bpm, 118bpm (can’t push much from here)

Mm. 119-152 – hands separate at 118bpm; hands together at 110bpm

Mm. 43-118 – hands separate at 122bpm; hands together and seat 113bpm.

Working with hands separate (including cymbals) at this point was really very helfpul…it forced my brain to reorganize my memories of the piece in different ways. I definitely had a more difficult time remembering notes with hands separate; my muscle and aural memory has become so engrained in my hands and my ear that my brain had ceased to be actively engaged in remembering/thinking/recalling the notes. THIS is why it is important to shift your approach once in a while, but particularly when you are working on a piece over a long period of time.



Warmup/technique – DV, SI, SA exercises in octaves, ii/V/Is, thirds, major chords

Improvised 5s – with metronome at 68bpm

Worked on 5s in Surface Drifts, and played thru to end

Sightread Bach Sonata/Partita 4-mallet


august 19, 2017

Snare Drum

Warmup/technique – 8s, 16/32nds, stick control 1-8 no accents, 16th-note triplets with various accents – metronome at 97bpm

Sightreading – Les Parks rudimental solos


Rip Tide/2-mallets

Warmup/technique – GH Green exercise in all major keys, left-hand lead at 117bpm; chromatic scale at 117bpm; exercise for Rip Tide at 137bpm, 149bpm, 160bpm, 178bpm.

Sightreading – Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas

Mm. 153-end – hands separate and together at 109bpm, 121bpm

Mm. 119-end – hands separate and together at 108bpm, 120bpm


just another day

Snare Drum

Warmup/technique – singles/8s/8-16s/doubles, metronome on at 83bpm-playing triplet based rhythms, shifting between fingers and wrist as the primary motivator

Sightreading – Les Parks rudimental solos

Controlled bounces – 3s, 4s into buzz rolls




what’s going on?!

Well, it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted my practice. I have been intermittently practicing between last minute summer travels, physical therapy and needing to allow my arms to rest, as well as preparing for the upcoming school year. Now that I am settled in for the semester (starts in less than two weeks!) and my arms are in better shape, I am ready to get back into a more regular routine!


Snare drum

Warmup/technique – 8s, double beat, doubles, controlled bounces into buzz rolls with 3s and 4s (all listening to pitch of sticks for tension changes in hands)

Sightreading – rudimental solos (Les Parks)


Rip Tide/2-mallet

Warmup/technique – chromatic scales (full keyboard), M3/m3/octaves, (alternating and double stops),

Exercise for Rip Tide at 150bpm, 160bpm and 170bpm

Sightreading – Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Violin

Played thru all at 120bpm, with metronome, marimba only


Surface Drifts/4-mallet

SI, DV, SA, DL strokes with chromatic scale exercises, 3rds, MA chords, octaves, in all mallet combinations

Improvised Bach chorale-like melodies, played opening chorale from Ewazen marimba concterto

Played thru all, no metronome, with music