Archive for December, 2009

Some more Snare Drum videos

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Here are some more of my favorite John Pratt solos. These are from a series of videos that I have made for my students. Click on the tittle and allow about 30-60 seconds for the file to load. There may be a slight delay between the audio and the video so if this freaks you out just close your eyes! I have recorded all of the Pratt books for my students on DVD and audio CD. in the complete collection all of the solos are recorded at three tempos. Slower than marked, as marked and faster than maked. These videos represent the faster tempos. Let me know if you are interested in these recordings and I hope you enjoy these videos.

Pass in Review from 14 modern contest solos 1/4 note =122

Guidepost from 14 modern contest solos dotted 1/4=82

Ruffing Up A Storm from 14 modern contest solos 1/4note=120

Gladstone Cadets from 14 modern contest solos 1/4note=122

Stomping Through The Barline from 14 modern contest solos 1/4note=120

Hodge Podge from 14 modern contest solos1/4=130

Jolting John from 14 modern contest solos 1/4=120

No Left Flam from 14 modern contest solos dotted 1/4note=84

Dexterity from 14 modern contest solos 1/4note=120

Drum Corps On Parade from 14 modern contest solos1/4=130

Solo For George from the New Prat Book dotted 1/4=86

State Champion from the New Pratt Book dotted 1/4=86

Over,Under and Out from the New Pratt Book 1/4=120

Trojan Horse from the New Pratt Book dotted 1/4=82

Swinging The Swiss Pataflafla from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers 1/4 note=100

Attaching the 4-Stroke Ruff from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers 1/4 note=80

Flam Paradiddle Ruff Paradiddle from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers 1_4=96

Spasmodic Permutations from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers 1/4=96

Hands Across The Sea from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers 1/4note=84

Bostons Drumming Crusader from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers 1/4note=100

Tribute To Dr. Berger from Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers dotted 1/4note=74

The Perpetual Motion Technique

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Here is a technique that I use quite often on Drum Set. It involves what I call a drop and grab motion which requires minimal effort and is useful for performing continuous 16th notes with one hand. This is a very important technique for playing Brazilian Music as well as Hip Hop and R & B. It’s also great for playing poly-rhythms since you can “set it and forget it” while your other hand plays something completely different. I first saw Kenwood Dennard use this motion with Jaco Pastorious when I used to go see them at the Bottom Line in New York in the 1980’s. This video is from my hand technique DVD which is available from me. You can email me at rickdior@carolina.rr.com if you want to purchase a copy.
Please allow a minute or so for the video to load since it is a large file.
The Perpetual Motion Technique

Rudimental Snare Drum Videos

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Here are some snare drum videos that I have made for my students. Click on the link to play them. The files are large so please allow a minute or so for them to load. All of these Pratt video’s are available on DVD and CD as part of a set of recordings of the following books.

Rudimental Solos for Accomplished Drummers
The New Pratt Book
14 Modern Concert Solos for Snare Drum

you can contact me at rickdior@carolina.rr.com if you are interested

John S Pratt’s Allentown Inductions

John S. Pratt’s My Friend Norman from 14 modern contest solos 1/4 note=120

John S. Pratt’s Gingersnap from 14 Modern Contest Solos 1/4 note=104

The following video is from a DVD I have made which focuses on Snare Drum Technique.
Three Camps Demo

Some nice pictures from the recent (and not so recent) past

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Here are some pictures that I found recently of some sessions and gigs from the last few years.

The UNCG Big Band with Rick and Steve Haines in the Control Room

The UNCG Big Band with Rick and Steve Haines in the Control Room

The Rat Pack is Back Band 2007 at Spirit Square Charlotte NC

The Rat Pack is Back Band 2007 at Spirit Square Charlotte NC

The Beth Chornaeu group in the studio for the recording of her xmas CD

The Beth Chornaeu group in the studio for the recording of her xmas CD

Scott Sawyer, Lois Dawson Willie,John Brown and Ed Thigpen in the Studio

Scott Sawyer, Lois Dawson Willie,John Brown and Ed Thigpen in the Studio

Rick in the  pit  for Wicked at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte 2008

Rick in the pit for Wicked at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte 2008

Rick and Ed Thigpen in the Studio

Rick and Ed Thigpen in the Studio

Les Langhorst gig at the Blumenthal

Les Langhorst gig at the Blumenthal

Les Langhorst Band 2009 at the Blumenthal Theatre

Les Langhorst Band 2009 at the Blumenthal Theatre

UNCC percussion Ensemble 2007

UNCC percussion Ensemble 2007


Rick Rob and Rod at a Marsalis Session

Rick Rob and Rod at a Marsalis Session

John Brown and son pay Rick a visit

John Brown and son pay Rick a visit

Branford Marsalis Quartet from the Braggtown Sessions

Branford Marsalis Quartet from the Braggtown Sessions

Ryan Dior after his First Football Game

Ryan Dior after his First Football Game

Harold Danko, Rich Perry and Clay Jenkins at UNCC 2008

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I recently found these pictures of a concert I played with Harold Danko, Rich Perry, Clay Jenkins and Tom Hildreth at UNCC.

Harold Danko Clay, Rich Perry Tom Hildreth and Rick play the concert

Harold Danko Clay, Rich Perry Tom Hildreth and Rick play the concert

Rich Perry and Rick

Rich Perry and Rick

Harold Danko and Rick Post Concert at Robinson Hall, UNC Charlotte

Harold Danko and Rick Post Concert at Robinson Hall, UNC Charlotte

Harold Danko, Clay,Tom Hildreth, Rich Perry and Rick

Harold Danko, Clay,Tom Hildreth, Rich Perry and Rick

Teachers Forum: Motivating Your Students

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

This essay is on motivating your students.

Over the years I have been blessed to work with many talented students.
But even though these students might be very gifted their motivation to improve has varied from non existent to manic determination. I have always felt that as their instructor, it is my job to make sure they retain the desire to continuously improve their skills. Usually the better a student gets, the more motivated they become. The form of motivation really depends on the particular student. Obvious factors include age, disposition, ability to take criticism and discipline which is either learned or part of their being. Other factors such as insecurity and fear of failure are sometimes the result of their family life and peer contact. These can be improved upon with the teachers support but are somewhat out of your control.
Let’s look at some behaviors that I have observed in my 25 years of teaching.

You would think that an older student (9th grade and above) would be very self-motivated as taking the time to seek out advanced private lessons, asking their parents to pay for them, and then assuming the responsibility to prepare for each lesson would seem to prove the fact. However, that’s not always the case. Usually what happens is that when beginning lessons for the first time the student will be very gung-ho but they soon become very inconsistent in their preparation. This is sometimes the result of the realization syndrome which can be defined as “hey, this is really hard and I thought I would be great after 2 lessons. You mean this is going to take years!!! Can’t you do a download”?

Students suffering this syndrome will need to be continuously hounded by you (the teacher) or even worse, their parents. In my own teaching I use the “three strikes and your out” rule which means that if a student is unprepared for the lesson three times I will refuse to teach them and I let them know this from the onset of lessons. Obviously this scenario is not a good model for the vast amount and speed of improvement that must take place for a young percussionist to be successful .

In my opinion true motivation must come from within. It is a combination of desire and self confidence which the student has been born with or somehow brainwashed into at a young age by outside sources. This self motivation really depends on several things: their love for the craft, the natural confidence of the student and where they see themselves as compared to their peers. In my experience most serious young musicians are not aware of their abilities as compared to their peers throughout the country. Sure, they may be the best at their school or even the best in their county or state but they have no idea how they stack up nationally or even internationally. I would argue that depending on the region of the country in which the student lives it would be remarkably easy for them to create a false image of their own abilities. Unfortunately, without proper guidance the student could be in for a rude awakening when college audition time rolls around.

This self-awareness is even more important if the student is looking to attend a major conservatory or a competitive university program. Repertoire and musical maturity must be up to particularly high standards. This is where the teacher comes in. A knowledgeable teacher who has had experience with other talented and high achieving students knows exactly what it takes to compete at this level. And this level keeps rising so the teacher must keep evolving along with his students. As a case in point, repertoire that was commonly performed on college senior recitals by my students just five years ago is now expected at undergraduate auditions. I have had students perform their undergrad auditions with the same repertoire that students who were doctoral candidates would have used 5-10 years before.
Hopefully the teacher will have been through this very selective process themselves and knows what it takes to get there.

So how do I motivate my students? Well, it depends on the student.
Different students respond to different motivational techniques.
First, let’s talk about two things that I don’t do…
1. I never yell or raise my voice with a student. When I was coming up many teachers had the reputation for doing this (not my own teachers thankfully). I think any kind of physical fear factor intimidation is completely useless and an utter waste of energy. It has no place in any kind of artistic instruction. If a student gets me to the point where I feel like yelling I will refuse to teach them or have them removed from the particular program.
2. I don’t give my students a false sense of reality. That is, I never tell them how great they are to make them just feel good about themselves if it isn’t warranted.
This seems to be rampant in society today and I believe it is the cause of much narcissism. Instead I focus on how they compare with their peers (no names are mentioned) in an accurate and non malicious matter. I also make it a point to try not to talk about students with other students although this is sometimes unavoidable.

Good Motivation techniques

1. Inspiration is a major part of motivation. Playing a great recording or video for a student can really motivate them to achieve a higher reality. Likewise the teacher should play and demonstrate for their students as much as possible. This may be the only time the student gets to see close hand what a particular piece of music sounds and looks like while being performed.
2. Challenge the student to outperform what they think they are capable of. This can be done with faster tempos, more difficult literature, performing different styles of music or even learning different instruments. For example, a student who is (or thinks they are) a “mallet specialist” and has a fear of the drum set might be motivated to learn to play the Drum Set if you take them on a gig with you and have them sit in (on a simple tune). Likewise you can record them playing with some music and show them that “yes they can” play the instrument on a basic level. Once the initial fear of failure is removed the student is usually motivated to try something new. You also need to make it clear that the student may need a particular skill in order to be successful in their musical career.
3. Talk to your students about your life and career in music. Invite them to come hear you perform. If they see that you are enjoying your life and manage to make a decent living they will be motivated to do it themselves. I have had lots of students tell me they want to do exactly what I am doing. While this is very flattering I always have to explain to them that my career was created by my motivation to be as good a musician as possible. I explain to them that I did not set out to make a lot of money or acquire lots of things. I tell them that what they see is a result of my motivation to be the best artist I can possible be. I always make it a point to explain that I am still always learning and seeking to improve my skills.
4. Get your students involved in community musical organizations such as youth symphonies, wind ensembles, drum corps, jazz groups, etc. They will be around students that are interested in the same type of careers and in this environment the motivation is strong.
5. Competitions are one of the strongest forms of motivation. District and all-state bands carry a certain amount of prestige for students and many are motivated to “beat out” their peers. Since these competitions are not always judged by panelists who play the same instrument as the auditioned it is important to put these events in perspective. Other reality issues exist as well. A student who is consistently #1 in the state in timpani can find out that they are woefully unprepared for a college audition which stipulates skills on many different percussion instruments.

When it really comes down to it my most successful students have been extremely self motivated and I rarely have to tell them anything twice. Others need a good talking to every once in a while but end up ok. If you find yourself having to constantly motivate a student to practice perhaps it may be time to advise them on a different career path. My general rule is that if after a year of study a student finds it difficult to become motivated to practice their craft they should not attempt to become a professional musician. The other alternative is to recommend a different teacher but 9.9 times out of ten this student has no chance in hell of doing this for a living and you can do them a favor by telling them this.

Drum Set Video #2

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

I made this video some years back for a student to demonstrate some of the time playing and soloing techniques of Tony Williams and Elvin Jones-two of my favorite jazz drummers. I was also trying to show him correct posture for playing the ride cymbal in an uptempo jazz setting. The first half is a tribute to Tony, the 2nd half to Elvin.
Now we have you tube so I just tell my students to check them out there.
Jazz Styles Solo

Drum Set Video#1 Left Foot Son Clave Splash Technique

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Here is the first in a series of videos that I will be posting demonstrating some advanced techniques for the Drum Set. These are all videos I have made for students over the years to help them see their lessons in action. Please allow ample time for download as the files are rather large.
This video is a demonstration of my splashed/choke hihat technique as applied to the son clave rhythm. I am playing a rather loose rudimental style solo on top of this using Afro Cuban phrasing. The 2nd part of this demo is with the snares off which I commonly do during solos of this type.
You may want to start out working on this type of thing by playing various exercises from Stick Control on top of the ostinato. Then you can graduate to rudimental solos such as those written by John Pratt. Finally you should be able to play just about anything with this ostinato so practice odd groupings (5’s,7’s etc.) as well as stretched triplet phrasing which is so common in this genre of music.
Left Foot Hi Hat Clave Demo For Students

Audio CD’s now Available for Rick’s Book

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

A 4 CD set of recordings is now available with the latest version (3rd printing 2009) of my book Advanced Coordination for Drum Set and Hand Percussion.
Here is the art work for the CD box
BookCover AudioVersion

This is a 4 CD set which contains many examples from my book as well as new transcribed ostinato solos, groove examples, Conga solo’s, etc.
The 4 CD’s are:
CD 1 Ostinato and Groove studies
CD 2 Brazilian and Afro-Cuban Grooves and ostinatos
CD 3 Jazz Coordination
CD 4 Conga Rhythms

These recordings are a must for anyone studying the book. Please email me at rickdior@carolina.rr.com if you are interested.

Here are some ostinato solos from the new CD recordings. These solos are transcribed in version 3 of the book and are also included with the 4 CD set.
Solo Ostinato#1 from Page 37
Solo Ostinato #2 From Page 37
Solo Ostinato #3 From Page 37
Solo Ostinato #6 From Page 37
Solo Ostinato #14 From Page 38
Solo Ostinato #21 From Page 38
Uptempo Jazz solo from Page 167

Pianist Jackie Oniel

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Pianist Jackie Oniel was in the studio recently to record a solo piano CD of Christmas music.
Jackie has recorded many CD’s at the studio and always sounds great.
Heres a picture:

Jackie at the piano

Jackie at the piano