Rethinking the Debate over Technique

I recently saw a social media conversation that started with a picture on a drummer friend’s post. The picture contained the opening sentence from the preface of George Lawrence Stone’s classic method book Stick Control for the Snare Drummer: “It seems that there are too many drummers whose work is of a rough-and-ready variety and whose... Continue Reading →

R.I.P. Mark Colby

A funny story about Mark Colby: One night on a gig at Fitzgerald’s (famous music room in Berwyn, IL) with Rob Parton’s JazzTech big band, we were playing a song that happened to feature the drums fairly heavily, and even featured a drum solo at one point. Rob had experimented with different setups on the... Continue Reading →

R.I.P. Neil Peart

Jan. 10, 2020 Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, I heard a lot of rock music on the radio. I was inspired by hearing the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the pop artists of the day. When I heard Rush as an early teenager, I had already been playing drums for a few... Continue Reading →

How do you get theater work?

Since I began playing a long run of Hamilton in Chicago, I’ve been getting similar questions in somewhat random inquiries from people, asking questions similar to these: How did you get this gig?  Did you audition? How does one go about “breaking in” to the theater scene as a musician? What kind of prior experience does... Continue Reading →

Do People Really Notice?

Originally posted 8/19/16 Sometimes when I get asked for my advice about music in performance and practice from students and some professional musicians, I point to musical details that at first might seem small and/or insignificant. An interesting question I hear from time to time is this: "If I pay attention to more details in... Continue Reading →

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Thinking

Originally posted 4/2/13 There are two ways we approach listening to music, and it affects how we think about practicing.  Consider the illustration below. (Picture borrowed from this website--I don't claim ownership of it) On one side, you have a qualitative view of something.  It deals with abstract qualities of something: impressions, feelings, and descriptions. ... Continue Reading →

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