Bryan's Blog | #3:
Progress, Meditation & Stick Control

Progress, Meditation & Stick Control         

A Monster Blog Series by Bryan Lowe


Learning a challenging skill is far better done when young, or so they say. For example, learning a language. It's a snap for kids, and nearly impossible for adults.  So it goes for adults learning musical instruments as well.

I am no expert on adult learning, but in my experience, while there are learning challenges for us as we age, there are also ADVANTAGES in learning a challenging skill as an adult.  True, neuroscientists say it is harder for the adult brain to learn a complex skill. I understand it's brain plasticity or lack thereof.



And yes, you are right, as adults we don't have parents to make us practice. Then there is the problem of time, given work, spouses, children, house repair, etc.


But we (adults) can learn!


Our adult brains have some skills that are totally absent in kids. Off the top of my adult brain, these include: 


  • Patience

  • Effectively differentiate

  • Awareness

  • Application of skill sets


I also think we can experience music in ways most children can't even begin to comprehend. Truly.


I’m going to try to create a set practice time because if you try to fit it in “on the fly,” it may rarely happen.   







Hand Coordination

My right hand obeys all signals from my brain without question.  My left, not so much. As a right-hander for more than 6 decades, my left hand is like a newborn fawn learning to walk.  My uncoordinated left limb has an intermittent and irregular beat, and the tip of the drumstick moves about like a moth fluttering against a lightbulb on a summer's night.  


Stick Control


George Lawrence Stone


Pipe Band Drummers  



I am practicing. Rhythm Monster classes provide me with a myriad of videos, extra notes, history, practice tips and downloadable .pdfs, many of simple Rudiment exercises that are perfect for repeated practice. A great example is from the Scottish Pipe Band Snare Drum Tutor: ST1005- Stick Control. This class has pages and original variations from the classic "Stick Control" by George Lawrence Stone.



In this past week, I've spent a couple of hours with it. A kind soul who wrote to encourage my effort to learn drums told me recently he found drum practice meditative, and I am finding he is right. It clears your mind. As the Buddha might have said…




Don't let your mind wander toward chores you must do this afternoon.  Just practice. Keep your mind there. I enjoy that. It works for me. It feels centering, and I am making some progress.

Rhythm Monster's video lessons are also nice in that you can watch them over and over again. I've really zoomed in on the left hand as our Monster Instructor does his demos. First the thumb, then that Vulcan greeting finger spread, and those other fingers placed just so.  


 “Don't grab it,” he says.

In the Left Hand technique, specifically for Scottish Pipe Band Drumming, they use a "One-Point fulcrum. For you established Drummers from other genres, don't loop that index finger over the stick. It won't work here. Watch the videos, he shows us how to do it.

Ready to join Bryan on his journey to being a Monster Pipe Band Drummer? You're just a few clicks away, my friend. Click below for an awesome preview video!




Yeah, progress.

It feels pretty good. More soon. 



Hey, you made it to the end! Isn't it fun to read and learn? Since you're clearly into learning stuff, below is a super secret link for a 7-Day Free Trial to Rhythm Monster! That's right, friend, 7 days of blissful online drumming education accessible from any device, worldwide. Way to be awesome! 



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