This blog has now reached it's end. The American Adventure has finished. Will there be a sequel in the near future? One will never know, but for now let's let the credits roll...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chapter 300309922

Random update. I know I haven't posted stuff in a while. To be honest, there hasn't been much going on except that I'm still hunting for work. It's been more than a month now and still nothing develops. New York has yet to reply me as well so nothing on the American Adventure volume 2 has opened up.

As for the 'Tales from MI' series that I've been posting, I've been delaying that simply because I keep forgetting to upload my picture and video that I need for the next update. I want to keep it chronological so it'll wait until the day I actually remember to put that darn picture on my mac.

Unless I decide to take an Adventure somewhere. Which I think I will. Stay tuned for that. Apparently there's an awesome free holiday destination somewhere in LA that I am yet to visit. So I might just go for it. We'll see about that.

Till the next time...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tales from MI - Chapter 6

Just to clear things up, I'm not attempting to write a day by day account of my life at MI. Even I, who's certainly capable of writing nonsense to that amount, can not account for every single day spent at MI. What I am doing is taking a class by class approach. To make it systematic so that I don't glance over classes I'm going through them in the chronological order in which I took them. This brings us to the final class of day 2 - Playing Technique.

I was looking forward to this class a lot upon coming to MI. The one thing I was never sure about when I taught myself was my technique. I'd escaped any form of drumming injury in my 10 years of playing experience and had not come across anything which I couldn't eventually learn in my rudimental playing. For the drum-uneducated, rudiments are like drumming scales. They are fundamental exercises which every drummer does to make sure his hands are in check and that he can play any kind of stroke required on the drums.

Having never confronted my own technique and cross examining it with someone who actually knows what their doing, I've always feared that my technique harboured some bad habits which needed to be fixed. As such I was looking forward to a class that would actually make sure that my technique was up to par with what was required of me as a drummer.

It of course helps that the class is taught by 3 time world champion super snare drummer Rob Carson.

Rob teaches in a mixture of intense physical training, zen mastery and mental preparation. I'm not all for the zen mastery that envelopes some of his talks but he doesn't force it on anyone. It's his own little way of approach and it's cool. But man is he a monster for speed and hand condition. His curriculum contains hand exercises that are designed to just screw with your physical capabilities and they push the limits of what the hands can do. They build around all the drum rudiments and require control, speed, power, and everything else a drummer's hands need to do.

I managed to make my way through his 18 months crash course relatively unscarred. Well, scarred in a good way - my hands are no longer the same ones that I had when I left but are now these machines that are capable of things I only dreamed of doing.

It's an intense class. And it requires a lot of ritualistic practice. It takes up a huge bulk of my time in the labs - at least an hour every single day - and it's the most difficult thing about practicing drums. It's exactly like scales. It's tedious and uninspiring, but necessary for advancement. I'm glad I muscled through it.

And those DC 10s.. will never forget those. The insane heavy weapons for the technique war that is Rob's class.

A picture I posted a year ago and more. Just a reminder of how epic the size of these things are.

There's more that I can say about this class and that'll be next chapter. Plus you'll get to see a transcription and a video of my solo piece for my final - the one and only 'I SQUEEZE YOUR MANGOES'.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Tales from MI - Chapter 5

The Hess part 2.

So you've met gary in our previous chapter. He wounded up as my private instructor for my first 6 months too. I'm incredibly grateful for that. Gary's not the man with a million chops, but he's got everything he's got so solid you couldn't move it with a nuclear bomb.

And that helped me a lot because that's exactly what I needed - some good solid foundational stuff to build on. I've never had a teacher before coming to MI and so none of my skills were properly grounded. And Gary fixed that up real quick. It took him no less than 5 minutes into our first lesson to give me something that completely messed with the way I was positioned behind the kit. He slapped a little 16th note funk chart in front of me that totally screwed up my hands and how I was hitting the drums, immediately requiring a fix.

Best part about working with Gary was the fun big bang charts we did in the second quarter. I've never played to jazz charts before in my life, let alone big band stuff so it was incredibly fun. Coupled with his reading class, I started to get the hang of reading charts right off the bat and now I can do it pretty easily. Setting up figures and stuff is a lot of fun when you've got a whole brass section behind you and you nail those notes right on the head.

I also had Gary for my music minus one class.. but that's day four. We'll get there when we get there. We're in day 2 and that's no where near getting done.

Stay tuned for the next chapter - Playing technique with 3 time world champion snare drum master, Rob Carson.