Getting Beastly In Rural Areas With Scottish Snare Tutor
A Monster Blog By Hayden Halsted
Montana (USA). One of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth that I hold very dear to my heart. A place where everyone knows everyone else and communities are very tight knit, including the music community. There are some amazing musicians here that makes for a very eclectic and surprisingly diverse music community throughout the state. In a quick google search, there are approximately four pipe bands spread out across this massive state.
Why All This Talk About Montana?
Relative to the size of the Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg) that holds 27 million people, Montana holds 1 Million in an area about 4 times the size. This makes it difficult for many musicians to interact and hear what others are doing without traveling for 6 to 8 hours. I bet many of you can relate to that.
Because of this, I have had to utilize many online resources to help me along my journey even with the resources that living in the second largest city in Montana has to offer. Rhythm Monster has been the most recent online resource I’ve used to expose myself to a style of music I don’t get to experience much in my area.
There is one thing in particular that I discovered this week that separates Rhythm Monster from other educational sites.
This week I checked out Scottish Snare Drum Tutor Volume 2: the Drummer’s Alphabet. The Drummer's Alphabet does what many other online sources don’t and that is providing a clear and concise PROCESS to what you are learning. This series will get newbies started down a clear path to success, will challenge trained American percussionists to focus on their new technique, and will remind and refresh the seasoned Pipe Band Drummer to help them focus on the small details that can push their playing to the next level.
The Drummer’s Alphabet is brought to us by Monster Instructor Michael Eagle as a way to break down the “Nine physical possibilities that immediately apply to rudiments and rudimental drumming,” as Eagle puts it. So often we have a goal in mind of what we want to be able to achieve but we don’t know how to get there. If your goal is to become a Beastly Drummer of any sort, understanding this concept will guide you down the path for success. It works the same way as learning to read. Let’s break it down:
Learn the 9 letters of the Drummer’s Alphabet. Only 9! You had to learn 26 back in grade school.
Understand how to combine these Letters into Words. Our Words as drummers are our Rudiments. If you don’t know what those are, that’s okay! You can check out Scottish Snare Drum Tutor: Volume 3 and you’ll get it.
Combine this knowledge to create Sentences or what we might call “Phrases” in musical terms.
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Why This Course is Right for all Levels
Newbies - Those who have never played or just started playing drums of any kind. You’ll have the opportunity to start off with clear and concise instructions on the 9 physical movements that this music requires from us. Michael is great about moving at a pace where everyone can keep up but you can always rewind and go over an exercise again.
Percussionists - Those who are seasoned players in other areas of percussion but have just started on their Scottish Pipe Band journey (I’m right there with ya!). These exercises will look relatively familiar to a lot of you, but if you’re really focusing on the technique required for this style of music it should feel new. As Michael says, “if it feels familiar, you might not be doing it exactly right.”
Monster Drummers - Those of you have been in the Pipe Band Drumming world will gain access to a wealth of new warm-ups and have a way to teach new members of your Corp in a more systematic way!
What Else Did I Dig About This Course?
I walked away with nearly a dozen handouts with all of the exercises in the videos and many more!
Michael creates a one-on-one atmosphere. I felt like I was in a private lesson because as soon as I was struggling with my grip, Michael was right there commenting on how to fix it.
He is great at including challenges for experienced players while providing helpful hints and encouragement for beginners all in the same class.
SLOW PRACTICE. Nothing about this course is about playing fast and that is awesome! I don’t need to feel bad that my thumb doesn’t like to play by itself yet and being able to play right along with Michael at slow tempos is not only helpful to learn the technique, but encouraging as well.
As a percussion teacher, I have a new way to approach new students in developing stroke type and their drumming vocabulary.