how to learn difficult mallet licks (with angie zator nelson)

there are 3 things that scare me about playing a hard mallet lick at an audition:

  1. what if i hit a wrong note that NEVER happened in the practice room?
  2. what if i lose my place in the middle?
  3. what if i’m so busy trying to play the notes that something else happens, like the tempo rushes or i play the wrong dynamic?

guess what? everyone has these fears. and if you have an audition coming up, you’re probably wondering how to practice these difficult runs. 
you’re probably thinking, “what do professionals do when they’re faced with crazy mallet licks? they must have a system.”
well, they do.


i asked legendary philadelphia orchestra percussionist angela zator nelson (angie for short) to come explain how she learns difficult mallet licks. 

it’s a 4-step process and you can follow along in the auditionhacker studios (aka my living room) here.

rob knopper

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.