i have to tell you about one of the biggest time-wasters of my life.
in high school, every day after school was over, i’d walk down to the band room, set up my snare drum, and start practicing.
first, i'd practice stick control for hours. i’d stand there and repeat each exercise. for hours and hours and hours. i’d also practice the PAS rudiments and some of the other standard snare drum method books.
then, i'd pull out my delécluse book and start working. i’d run through big sections, repeat hard parts, and get annoyed with all the things that i couldn’t do. like soft 4-stroke ruffs and smooth loud rolls.
my assumption was that if i worked hard on stick control and the PAS snare drum rudiments every day, then i would see a direct improvement on delécluse, lieutenant kije, and the rest of the snare drum repertoire.
but...it never happened. my delécluse continued to have problems. and as the weeks and months went by and i didn’t see any improvements, i started getting worried. and annoyed.
stick control didn’t fix my snare drum problems. i was wasting my time.
for me, there was never a noticeable connection between how much i warmed up in the “traditional” way and how much i improved as a snare drummer. it just never happened. i had no idea why.
playing flam accents never made me better at delécluse. playing stick control never made lieutenant kije easier.
and, like i said, it wasn’t for lack of trying. i was constantly desperate to find somethingthat would make the repertoire easier. i warmed up on stick control for years. i was always searching through method books for new things that could help me improve.
it wasn’t until college that i finally figured out how to warm up on snare drum.
i got so exasperated with my problems on snare drum that i put away all my method books and started experimenting with my own personal method to warm up on snare drum.
i told my friends that i was “starting over on snare drum.”
i developed a 45-60 minute warm up. i break it into three parts. it’s a 3-step warmup. and it’s effective as hell.
college auditions decide your life, so choosing your repertoire has to be very carefully considered.
i’ve heard lots of marimba players with huge potential shoot themselves in the foot by missing these basic elements of musicality.
can you slam together two trash can lids and make a beautiful sound? welcome to crash cymbals. here’s how to practice cymbals to stop getting air pockets and ugly crashes.
stick control and the rudiments have never fixed my snare drum problems. this is the 60 minute(ish) snare drum warm up that actually works.
it’s so annoying when you’re trying to get a piece ready for your lesson or for an audition and there’s one part of it that seems impossible.
how to play a smooth timpani roll (and 4 reasons your roll sounds like “bligabogldkgavlknlelkeevke” instead of “LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL”.)
so…one thing i’m terrible at (and not really ashamed to admit it) is independent rolls on marimba.