Welcome to My Blog

July 21st, 2011

Sorry I have not written in a while. It’s been very busy this last year. Here are some new articles:
The purpose of this blog will be to keep friends, students, clients and other interested parties updated about the happenings at Acoustic Barn as well as documenting my performances and teaching activities. I will be posting links to video and audio examples as well as pictures. From time to time I will also post different thoughts and experiences from my life as a studio owner as well as a professional musician and teacher. I welcome all comments.

Teachers forum: success in a down economy

July 21st, 2011

As everyone is aware, these last three years have been a brutal experience when it comes to making a living as a musician or any other type of artist. It took a little while but the bad economy has finally trickled down to all manner of teachers and performers these past few years. Several orchestras’ have disbanded or are on very shaky ground (including my own) and all manner of employment for working musicians has been scaled back.
Even the colleges are starting to really feel the heat with severe cutbacks in many states.
So what skills can we teach our students to weather these rough times? Surely there will be other recessions as time moves forward. I myself have experienced three of them since I started my career.

The most important ingredient to surviving and even prospering in times like these is versatility. Personally I have always made sure I am constantly learning new skills even as I am continuously polishing old ones. It is not enough anymore to be just a drum set performer just as it is becoming impossible to have a high quality of life solely as an orchestra percussionist. We must teach our students to be competent in all areas of percussion at a young age. I learned audio engineering at a young age and this has really paid off big time for me. Being able to play any type of gig is also a huge factor in a musician’s success.

Gigging often at a young age is vital to building a solid career. I have noticed that many players do not even attempt to gig until they are out of college. This is a huge blunder. You can learn so much from older, experienced musicians that I consider this a form of higher education. I started actively gigging in a wedding band with much older players when I was 13 years old. I know that this is still possible since I have young students playing for money in bands and with theatre companies. I am also always pushing the entrepreneurial vibe on my students to get them to create there own gigs and some have done just that.

Another thing that is not taught much in this country’s academic institutions is general living skills. These are skills that you can learn that will save and can even make you money. Learning how to fix items in your household and do basic building and automotive repairs can save you a fortune over a lifetime. Years ago I could not afford to pay someone to build a studio for me so I learned how to do it myself. The same goes for putting an addition on my house. Over many years I have improved my skills exponentially where I feel like if I had to, I could do professional finish carpentry. Learning these things was not a burden to me. On the contrary, it was allot of fun and really satisfying. It also served to recharge my battery when I was burnt out from playing too many gigs!

All of us have talents we may never really explore, whether it’s out of fear or just plain laziness. I still believe that if you are really good at what you do, people will pay you for it. That goes for teaching, playing and creating things.

In my opinion the biggest factor to surviving a bad recession is stringent money management. Unfortunately most people sorely lack this skill. Saving money ahead of time is always a really good idea. Always have an emergency fund. Once I began a family I tried hard to put away enough money so that if I did not work for a year my family would still be ok. Living check to check does not cut it anymore in our modern society with it’s overpriced healthcare, pricey higher educational system and ridiculously expensive insurance options . It just takes one thing to go wrong and you could be out on the street. I also avoid debt at all costs, which means if I don’t have the money to buy something, I won’t buy it. There are exceptions of course and these may include student loans, a house or a car. The rule is, stay out of debt as much as possible and save your money.
Money = freedom and freedom= happiness.

Dior Drumsticks going strong

July 21st, 2011

Recently Drummers World in New York City became the distributor of Dior custom drumsticks. You can see a YouTube video they made showing them in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06cr2wwDUoI
I spent a good part of some late nights/early mornings in May and June making some sticks for them out of some gorgeous wood so they are well stocked. Give them a call at 212 840 3057

I recently recieved some beautiful new wood including Wenge, Leopardwood, Pauduk, Yellowheart and Zebrawood. Now if I only had time to use it…………

Here are a few pictures from my shop. I will post a video as soon as I find someone brave enough to get that close to me when the wood is flying.

Here is a side view of my main lathe. She's a beast!

Here is a front view. Notice the dust collection which is vital since some of these exotic woods are toxic when you turn them.

This is my quaint little custom finishing jig. I use a special resin formulated gloss finish that really improves the stick grip.

New recordings from the studio.

July 21st, 2011

Summer is always very busy time at Acoustic Barn. Rick is in the middle of or finishing projects up with:
Anne Trenning (new solo piano CD) http://annetrenning.com/

The Southern Fried Jazz Band with Don Eisamen http://www.southernfriedjazz.com/index_content.html

Pianist Jim Stack (two New piano CD’s) produced by John Snyder at Artist House www.artisthousemusic.com

The Da Cappo Brass Quintet who have just been signed to the Delos Label http://www.dacapobrass.com/

a new Kris Keeton Percussion DVD

A recorded article by Will Campbell for the saxophone journal http://www.dornpub.com/saxophonejournal.html

A new recording by Duo XXI. It is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Quest-New-Music-Violin-Cello/dp/B0049HBFSG

NFA Flute convention coming to Charlotte

July 21st, 2011

Charlotte will be hosting the National Flute Association (NFA) convention from August 10th-14th.
This year there is a large jazz component and Rick will be handling the drumset duties along with Ron Brendle on bass, Jim Brock on percussion and Mike Wofford on Piano. Artists will include Holly Hoffman, Ali Ryerson, Nelson Rangell and Jane Lenoir. There will be several jazz concerts at the Westin Hotel as well as the Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts.
Here are a few of the events Rick will be playing on:
August 12-concert with Jane Lenoir from 5pm-6:30pm at the Westin hotel.
concert with Nelson Rangell from 10:30pm to 12am at the Westin hotel.
August 13th– 8-10pm Gala orchestra concert at the Blumenthal
Flute Big Band Concert with Ali Ryerson from 10:30 pm to 12 am at the Westin.
August 14th– Closing Ceremonies 4-5:30 at the Westin
Hope to see you there.

UNCC Students 2010

July 21st, 2010

Here are some recent pictures of a few UNCC percussion students. What a happy crew they are.

Chris Bryan

Tom Reaves

Katelyn Reinhardt

Drew Courtney

Nick Nichols

Kyle Steinmetz

Trevor Cook-Yikes!

Clips from Rick’s new DVD/Blu-ray Video for Advanced Coordination for Drum Set and Hand Percussion

June 28th, 2010

As I announced in an earlier post, a video supplement to my book Advanced Coordination for Drum Set and Hand Percussion is now available in both the DVD and High Definition Blu-ray formats. The video shows the many ways the book can be used to improve your technique and coordination. The video is over 2 hours long and contains 80 tracks. There are also two different audio tracks on each disc: one with a click track and one without. You can easily switch between these two tracks with a press of the audio button.
Please contact me from the site if you want to purchase a copy of the video.
The prices are-DVD-$15, Blu-ray-$20. shipping is $5.

All of the exercises in the following clips contain the click except for the solo tracks. Please allow some time for download since they are very large files.

This clip shows how to use the Rhythmic patterns on pg 8 to work on your Jazz Coordination
The Click is on 2 & 4.
Track 21 Jazz Coordination

This next clip shows how to use the Hand/Foot exercises on pages 121-128 to work on your jazz coordination. This particular exercise deals with broken triplets and 16th’s under a jazz ride cymbal pattern. There is also a window showing my bass drum foot in action.

Track 29 Developing Jazz Coordination using the Hand/Foot Exercise from page 127

These next two clips demonstrate how to play page 121 from the book around the drums. The first clip is using one bass drum note and the second clip is using two bass drum notes.
Hand Foot Coordination from page 121 One bass drum note

Hand Foot Coordination from page 121 Two bass drum notes

This clip demonstrates how to work on the modular rhythms in the book with the rhythmc patterns. Here I am using a left hand lead Brazilian ostinato.
Modular Rhythms Left Hand Lead

This clip shows how to apply the rhythmic patterns with your bass drum to a simple funk ostinato.
Backbeat Ostinato

There are 13 solos on the video which incorporate the techniques learned from the book. Here a a few of them.
Brazilian Style Groove Solo

Fast Afro-Cuban Style solo

Hand Foot Solo#1

Hand Foot Solo#2

Rick inducted into J.P Stevens Hall of Honor

June 24th, 2010

Back in April I was inducted into my high school’s Hall of Honor in Edison N.J. They do this every 4 years for
past graduates and it’s quite an affair. I had a great time and met some really interesting folks. Among the other inductees were doctors, politicians, military and law enforcement personnel and scientists.
It was great to see my former band directors, Andy DeNicola and Chris Peterson as well as the school which I had not visited for 25 years. It was amazing to see the changes and they now have a whole wing for the performing arts. I got to share the day with my wife, parents and sister which was really special.
Here are some links and pictures from the ceremonies.

from L to R: Chris Peterson, Rick and Andy DeNicola

Mom and Dad

Sister Donna and Rick

Donna, Jennifer Dior, Chris Peterson and Rick

Andy and Rick in his bandroom-Check out those trophies!!

Donna Rick and The Mayor of Edison, Toni Ricigliano

Here's the Plaque that's in the hall

The induction ceremony

Some of the inductees

Here’s a link to a newspaper release

Advanced Coordination for Drumset and Hand Percussion DVD/ Blu-ray released

June 24th, 2010

I am now accepting orders for a Video from my book, “Advanced Coordination for Drumset and Hand Percussion.” The Video contains over two hours of examples from the book as well as 13 drum solos demonstrating the ostinato concepts. There are close-ups of Bass Drum and Hi-Hat technique as well as music examples on the screen. There are two seperate audio tracks- one with a click track and one without so you can mute the click at any time.
The video is available in the DVD and Blu-ray formats.
The price for the DVD is $15 and the Blue-ray is $20. Shipping is $5.
I will be posting some clips from the video soon so stay tuned.
Here is a cover shot of the art work. and a track listing:

Wicked 2010

June 24th, 2010

No -I am not referring to the economically horrible 2010, just the show.
I just finished a month run of the Broadway musical “Wicked”. It was fun except for the fact that I had a respiratory infection the whole run and the fog machines they used seemed to be aimed into the pit. You gotta wonder whats in that stuff!
Anyway the show was great and the traveling musicians and conductor were excellent.
Next up is Mary Poppins for a month in August. I will post that info in September.
Here are some pictures from the Wicked pit.

Here is the setup that I practiced with at home. Of course when you can't fit it all into the pit you have to move things around.

Here is the front of my pit setup.

Here is the left front side of the setup. I am using my old Leedy chimes as a percussion rack because of the limited space.

Here is the timp setup to my left. I had to build this strange trap table since there was no room for a normal one.

Here is the Bass Drum, Gong and xylo setup to my back right

The lovely Waterphone. It plays an important role in the show so I brought my own which is one of the originals. The waterphone they travel with is not happening at all.

Here I am in the pit

Here is a shot of the drum booth. Paul Hanna was the traveling Drummer and He was in his own self contained booth.

Bass Player Tom Hildreth

Here are the woodwinds, from l to r-Phil Thompson, Holis Ulacky, Jennifer Dior (my lovely wife) and behind them is Ron Turner on Trumpet, Racheal on horn and Anna Brock on Keyboard 4. Brent Ballard (trombone) is not pictured