I started playing drums at the age of nine. Being that I just turned 28 that means I'm coming up on two decades of drumming. I have been playing fairly continuously ever since I started. The only real break in my playing came in my freshman and sophomore years of college. The following year I jumped right back in, first learning to play the Bodhran while I lived in Ireland and then moving into a house back in New Brunswick with a drum set.

The first nine years of my drumming I studied percussion with the best teacher I've ever had (of any variety). Taking percussion lessons had a profound effect on my life and I highly suggest that all musicians study with a teacher at some point. The reason that my lessons were so meaningful to me was because they taught me how to teach myself. At some point I would love to take lessons again but for the most part I feel confident with my abilities to analyze what I want to learn and figure out how to get there. This attribute is what brought me to a recent epiphany. I was playing my drums way too fucking low!

I've always liked keeping my drums super tight together and low to the floor. I'm not exactly sure why I started doing this but I've never really questioned it. Well, now I'm definitely questioning it.

My whole percussion training was based around German grip. I still warm up on a practice pad before every show we play. During these warm ups, I use German grip. On our last show of the year at the TLA in Philly, I suddenly realized that while playing drumset I was using French grip! What the hell have I been doing?! Why have I trained myself for nearly 20 years with German grip and then play every show with a grip that I don't totally understand. After realizing the situation I came to the conclusion that if I raised my snare, hi-hat, and floor tom, I would force myself into German grip (actually, really it is more of an American grip, but close enough). Thus I have made the first major change to my drum setup in well over 5 years!

Along with realizing all this, I decided that I needed to spend more time with the practice pad, metronome, and classic drum books. Right now I'm spending a lot of time with 'Stick Control for the Snare Drummer' by George Lawrence Stone. This book was published in the 1930s and is still really annoying (I mean, a great workout).



Anonymous said...

the sound you 3 achieve as a whole is so profound due to little efforts such as this with the amazing talents you already sustain. there's ALWAYS more the brain can take in. knowledge is infinite. i anticipate the new album coming out, keep up the phenomenal work you all. i will catch you on the 11th!


jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjon said...

It's cool to see how seriously you take your instrument and to learn of the knowledge you have, coming from both the perspective of a fan and a fellow musician. Here's to keeping at it and keeping your mind and abilities sharp no matter how long you've been playing for!