Subdivide and Conquer – Coming Soon…

When it rains, it pours. Although I have just released my Art of Beating the Drum updated edition, forces have aligned such that the next publication is already on the way. I am pleased to announce that I have partnered with experienced band director and percussion teacher Robert W. Miller on a book called Subdivide and Conquer.

This new book will be released on Hudson Music in September 2021, with paperback copies hopefully available earlier.

Unlike any of my other books, Subdivide and Conquer is not JUST a drum method, though it does contain a beginning snare drum primer section. The majority of the book is intended to enable rhythmic reading and the development of solid independent counting for individuals AND/OR ensembles of any size. It will be equally useful for private percussion teachers, teachers of winds, strings, or voice, and directors of ensembles including band, choir, orchestra, percussion ensemble, or any other educational musical group.

As odd as this may seem, the flexibility stems from the fact that the book contains only rhythmic information that can be clapped, counted aloud, or played on any instrument to facilitate reading and accurate counting. It not only has rhythms for practice, it actually teaches users HOW to count.

Unlike most other books on the market, Subdivide and Conquer uses counting syllables (numbers and other standard counting devices “1e+a”) to measure the distance between longer notes, as well as label smaller ones. Most other reading and rhythm books fail to do this. As the name suggests, Miller and I are not just teaching how to count numbers, but how to SUBDIVIDE rhythms such that duration and placement within a musical measure is correct, consistent, and repeatable.

Players who know and use subdivision are able to more accurately sight read, play more difficult rhythms, and learn new rhythmic material faster. This is a foundational skill for literally any instrument or voice type. It doesn’t matter if you can play all the notes if they are not in time. Subdivision is a key that opens the door to easily playing rhythms so easily that pitch, intonation, phrasing, technique, posture, etc. can be at the forefront of any practice session. The rhythms will be locked in and correct because they are so obvious.

This book was developed specifically with educational ensembles in mind by myself, a percussion teacher and drum line instructor, and a career band director, Robert Miller, with decades of experience teaching young wind bands. He has used this method with his students successfully and he has shared it with many of his teaching colleagues who have found similar success. Using this book with a band, orchestra, choir, or other ensemble will eliminate guesswork, imitation, and confusion over rhythmic reading, so you can focus on playing music. Bonus: it will teach any percussionists in your ensemble to play snare drum synchronously. The snare exercises match the rest of the book, but with percussion specific information!

Whether you are a student looking to enhance your rhythm reading and counting ability, a private teacher hoping to do the same for your students, or an ensemble director trying to enhance the sound of many players at once, Subdivide and Conquer is the book for you!

Release details should be coming along shortly.

The Art of Beating the Drum – Out Now!

In a rare turn of events, editing was really quick and the submission and review process at Amazon took almost no time at all. My interpretive transcription/translation of Samuel Potter’s The Art of Beating the Drum is now available in paperback or Kindle ebook format.

Arguably the most important work in the history of British rudimental drumming, Potter’s masterwork is not to be missed by serious students and practitioners of the snare drum. Includes 17 Duty signals, such as the Roast Beef, Grenadiers, and Three Camps, plus 21 rudiments and an explanation of early 19th century grip and technique. All page numbers and formatting correspond directly to the original so a 1:1 comparison can be made.

Get a copy today!

Coming Soon – Art of Beating the Drum

I am pleased to announce that my next educational publication will be a new and original translation (or transcription or rhythmic interpretation if you prefer) of Samuel Potter’s 1817 rudimental manual Art of Beating the Drum into readable modern notation. I have 2 other books in various stages of development in the pipeline, but they are both waiting on factors outside of my control, so I decided it would be a good time to finish and release my take on this historical masterpiece.

I have previously done a similar translation of Ashworth’s 1812 book A New Useful and Complete System of Drum Beating. Potter’s book is already easier to read than the cryptic and unruly Ashworth notation, however it leaves almost all the roll timing to the player to figure out and, as is usual with ancient manuals, many of the rhythms listed in 8th notes or 16th notes were actually intended to be played in triplets or quintuplets or some other non-obvious timing. I’ve taken all the guesswork and esoteric knowledge out of the equation and presented the signals in a format that a modern player should be able to read and play without advanced background knowledge of 19th century British rudimental signals.

As soon as I receive my proof copy and make any necessary adjustments, I’ll be able to list this newly readable and playable ancient landmark publication. My hope is to get it out by late April or early May 2021.

If you are interested in historical rudimental playing, Potter’s book is not to be missed! Potter was a drum major with the Coldstream Regiment and wrote the first British manual that actually made any sense, after being (rightfully) disappointed with the quality of incoming musical recruits and the previously available education materials for drummers and other musicians. Some of the signals played today in the UK military are still taken directly from Potter and they are all remarkably similar if not identical to the drum signals in the USA during the same period. Applicable on both sides of the Atlantic, Art of Beating the Drum is a timeless classic. Stay tuned for more.

Thrash Metal Drumming OUT NOW!

My 4th book with Hudson Music is out now at these links: https://hudsonmusic.com/product/thrash-metal-drumming/ or https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M8HF3V8

Featuring all the skills you’ll need to master the art of thrash drumming and play like Dave Lombardo, Lars Ulrich, Nick Menza, Tom Hunting, Gene Hoglan, John Tempesta, Gar Samuelson, Rat Skates, Igor Cavalera, and many more.

Features 32 audio examples and 64 transcribed phrases from bands like Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Testament, Havok, Warbringer, Evile, Exodus, Testament, Gama Bomb, Nuclear Assault, Destruction, Dark Angel, Municipal Waste, and others!

Base your metal playing on the best possible foundation for success, Thrash Metal Drumming. The skills will allow you to branch out to other genres like: death metal, black metal, prog metal, hardcore, metalcore, deathcore, slam, djent, or anything heavy or extreme.

Thrash Metal Drumming – Coming 10/28

Thrash Metal Drumming, my 4th instructional release with Hudson Music, is officially scheduled for release on October 28, 2020!

Featuring 32 audio examples, 64 transcribed phrases from classic thrash songs, and plenty of beats, fills, and advice pertaining specifically to thrash metal. This is the only book of its kind and will help anyone looking to get into metal drumming.

Thrash Metal Drumming not only prepares you one genre, but also lays the foundation for death metal, black metal, power metal, prog metal, metalcore, deathcore, hardcore, djent, slam, and many other heavy genres. The modern incarnation of all of those styles directly traces right back to classic thrash drumming.

The book will be available as a download from Hudson Music or in traditional paperback from Amazon. Here is a playlist of related video content, much of which directly references the book: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_3q633asTF5lirkY3L8V8Ri1hJpFFcbC

The Other 26

Every drummer worth their salt knows the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD) 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments. A staple of drum pedagogy since 1933, these rudiments have often been erroneously or misleadingly credited as the “original,” “only,” or “official” American rudiments. This claim has persisted even after the publication of the Percussive Arts Society 40 International Drum Rudiments. I will not touch on the 26/40 debate as I have already done so here. Instead, I would like to present:

THE OTHER 26 – Selected American Rudiments 1778-1925.

The Other 26 is a collection of rudiments I have gathered from American rudimental history that features an entirely separate set of rudiments to the NARD 26 that are no less authentic and no less American. They are simply rudiments that NARD did not include, i.e. rudiments that existed in published American literature between the Von Steuben’s time at Valley Forge and Sanford Moeller’s The Art of Snare Drumming and were not on Strube’s 1870 list of Lessons from which the 26 are mostly derived.

If you have percussive training of any kind, you will immediately notice that several of the Other 26 are not obscure or unknown to modern players. I did not select them just to be weird or confusing. 4 of them appear on the PAS 40 in some form and 2 more are ubiquitous and known to most players despite their failure to appear on most rudiment lists. At least 6 others are represented in most collections of Hybrid rudiments, though they are much older than the drum corps hybrid concept. This set of 26 does not include every snubbed ancient American rudiment, but is a manageable subset of that larger group. It is also not in any way intended to replace the Standard 26, but merely supplement it and open drummers’ minds to the wider world of rudiments and their history.

As evidenced in Encyclopedia Rudimentia, there are hundreds of rudiments spanning several centuries of rudimental practice throughout the western world. There is no “correct” number of rudiments to learn nor is any rudimental culture or regional variation inherently superior to any other, however Americans seem especially unaware that a larger rudimental history exists beyond the NARD sheets. The Other 26 is merely an example of what other rudimental knowledge lies beyond the staples of 20th century training, even in our own insular American system. I hope it can provide some subtle insight into the past, inspire some thinking outside of the box, or at least amuse some open minded drummers with ideas they may not have heard yet. Here’s a video I did on the first 8 rudiments in this collection: https://youtu.be/XQ3xKFh8U6E

Postponed: Thrash Book

I’d like to announce that this summer eventually I’ll be partnering once again with Hudson Music to release my 4th original drum book, Thrash Metal Drumming. This development stems from a poll that I conducted in early 2019 where I asked my YouTube subscribers what type of book they’d be most interested in. I have followed through on the results of that poll and created what appears to be only the second book ever written specifically for thrash metal, the other having been released and subsequently discontinued decades ago.

Scheduled for release in roughly 3-5 weeks this year (I’m thinking early to mid July 2020 hopefully Sept or Oct), the book will cover all the necessary skills to play legitimate sounding authentic thrash, and even more importantly, build a foundation from which drummers can expand to any other modern genre of metal or other heavy music.

Thrash drumming had influences, of course, including hardcore punk, heavy metal, and classic rock, but its particular blend of speed, power, and idiomatic phrases went on to form the basis for all the common heavy genres played today. Death metal, black metal, deathcore, metalcore, slam, djent, and many more of today’s styles of heavy music draw directly from a classic thrash drumming paradigm, on top of which they add their own unique flavors. If you want to play metal well, you start not from the current trends, but from the roots. Thrash metal.

Includes 64 transcribed phrases from real thrash songs from both old school bands like Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Kreator, Exodus, Testament, Sepultura, Dark Angel, Destruction, Nuclear Assault, Overkill and new wave thrashers like Vektor, Toxic Holocaust, Warbringer, Exmortus, Municipal Waste, Havok, Skeletonwitch, Evile, Gama Bomb, and more! Written exercises are also augmented with 32 handy audio examples, and the book gives advice and tips for: touring, tuning and tone, health, metronomes and time, and kit setup. There is even an abbreviated history of thrash and an essential listening list so you can absorb the genre properly. Everything you need to get started playing thrash.

If you have any designs on playing metal or -core music at a high level, you’ll want a rock solid slab under you. Thrash Metal Drumming is the way. Stay tuned for specific release date details.

Denver Drum Society and Band Mini Camp

May should be an interesting month despite being quarantined. Tuesday, May 5th I am giving a talk to the Denver Drum Society via Zoom about my experience publishing books and I’ll be giving out a few tips on double bass from my first Hudson book The Complete Double Bass Drumming Explained.

This month I’ll also be holding online sectionals for LAHS marching band spring mini camp. We were hoping to do these with instruments in person to teach marching skills, but we will have to settle for practice pads and working on music. Still useful and important sessions for the future… assuming there is a 2020 marching season in New Mexico. Since there is currently no front ensemble instructor on staff, I’ll be handling battery and front ensemble on a regular basis.

I’ll also continue teaching private lessons online for anyone who wants them. FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, etc. New students are welcome at any point.

 

 

Pandemic 2020

As with most businesses, I am closed for in-person lessons until the state of NM says otherwise. I am, however, available for video lessons via Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger Video with payment via PayPal or Venmo. Contact me to schedule a time.

I have also finished a new book recently for which publication is in the works (but certainly delayed by the current conditions) AND I am continuing to work on some collaborative projects that I hope I can bring out sometime soon. There should be a lot of educational material flowing forth this year or next year… eventually.

With school closures, essentially all concert and marching percussion is on hold until next fall. HOPEFULLY, band camp will happen as scheduled in late July. Nobody knows.

Stay safe out there, practice hard, and watch my youtube channel in the meantime.

Early 2020

As the new year opens I am currently working on promoting a few different projects, including my newest adventure in public domain drum notation translation ashworthcoverfront (or transcription if you prefer), Ashworth’s 1812 book, A New Useful and Complete System of Drum Beating in which I’ve taken the illegible 19th century drum notation and rewritten it in a legible and standardized 21st century format. Its currently for sale on amazon, and you can see more details about it here. 

 

Of course, I also just put out my archeology tsankawifrontcovernon-fiction book The Forgotten Side of Bandelier in October, which you can check out here. It details the prehistory of Tsankawi at Bandelier National Monument and can be purchased from Amazon or in person from the Los Alamos History Museum gift shop, if you’re in town. Its not a drum book, but I think its an interesting topic none-the-less.

In other news, I am still working with the 30+ percussionists at Los Alamos High School and Los Alamos Middle School for the concert band season and will be occasionally preparing kids for marching band with auditions materials and other exercises. I will also be doing at least one session at Mountain Elementary to prepare for the upcoming middle school placement auditions. At home I have 14 private lesson students this year (and counting, there’s room for more), aged 7 to adult, many of which are working toward better placements and overall increased ability in next year’s marching, jazz, and concert bands.

I have plans for 2 to 4 more books this year or in the next couple of years, which I will have to space out prudently through time. Watch for those announcements; I’ve got more translations of 19th century classics and some much more modern drum kit instruction in the works… plus a totally different collaborative project going.

There has been almost no playing or performing going on, but with the roughly 40 students I see weekly, plus my publishing efforts and dad duty, I’m pretty busy.