Friday, March 13, 2015

Interpretation and playing expressively

I hate long instructional videos, except when I don't. Usually they go long because they underestimate their viewers' knowledge, and get caught up in explaining WHAT IS A DRUM STICK and a lot of other elementary background stuff. So they waste a lot of your time getting to their actual message, which itself usually ends up being less than Earth-shattering, and you hate yourself (and them) for having wasted 15 minutes watching it. Very rarely they will go long because they contain a lot of information, and, if they are telling you something you already know, it's something you actually need to hear spoken again and again.

In adherence to the stupidly dramatic style where you then say “this is such a video”, I will say this is such a video. The latter kind— the good kind. Tony Cirone is a well-known percussionist, educator, and author internationally, but he's really the center of the percussive universe here in the northwest quadrant of the US. My college professor Charles Dowd studied with him, and many of my peers, and most of my teachers, including drum corps instructors, studied with Dowd, or Cirone himself, or both. One of the big unifying things with all those people is that they've ingrained the idea of percussion as an expressive family of musical instruments. They do not have the deep meatheadedness that is—sorry to say— a feature of much of the drumming world.

This video gives you a little sample of why that is. It's directed at classical percussion students, but the spirit of it can, and should, be applied to every area of drumming:

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