Rhythm of the Head – Chapter excerpts
The following excerpts are taken from RHYTHM OF THE HEAD:
“This book may also be regarded as a manual or reference, containing keys to open up your mind and playing enabling you to accomplish your musical goals. I believe that aside from poor technique, the biggest barrier for any musician in obtaining and achieving optimum performance in their playing is due to mental blocks or incorrect thinking. No matter how good your practical skills are, if your mind is filled with negative, self- limiting thoughts, then this can only lead to one result – a bad performance.”
(Taken from the INTRODUCTION)
“Now if you’ve never tried this and think it sounds easy, I urge you to give it a go. You don’t even have to use the Stick Control book or any other book, just play some single and double strokes. You’ll be surprised at how difficult this can be. Put down this book, grab your sticks and turn on your metronome to 40bpm and play. Go on, do it now. Remember the object of the exercise is to play precisely on the beat, and you know you’re doing it right when you can’t hear the metronome.
Well how was it ? Did you start off all over the place and get it together the more you played? Did you find yourself ‘in the pocket’ at times ? – and when you realized you were did you find yourself slipping out of time ? Were you aware of any ‘flamming’ taking place between your strokes and the click ? No matter how well or bad you did, realize that Extra Slow Playing is an ongoing discipline and once integrated into your practice routine, will be of invaluable use irrespective of what level of drummer you aspire to be, and become.
(Taken from CHAPTER THREE – ESP Extra Slow Playing)
“Ask any ‘hungry’ musician what his or her ultimate objective in life is, and they’ll almost certainly reply that it’s to be rich and famous. Great, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this goal, the problem is that most really don’t have a clue how they’re going to achieve it. They broadly think that if they just practice enough and (somehow) manage to join the right band, this will be all that’s needed. Fair enough, for some this has happened and (with a bit of luck) might just happen to you.
The reality is that most musicians religiously and blindly practice away, waiting and hoping for that lucky break to come their way. The elusive break may just jump out of the blue, but I believe a better bet is to set a route or path of goals to follow, and strive for what you want to accomplish. This applies to bands and individuals alike, since we all have a ‘product’ to sell.”
(Taken from CHAPTER FIVE – Is setting goals relevant to achieving success?)
Motivator #2 – Aiming for the top. I often get asked by younger drummers and also mature beginners who I think the best drummer in the world is. I have to apologize because I don’t have an answer; however, I do have my favorite’s. Some are ‘better’ and the ‘best’ in one area, others the best in other areas, but as for the best drummer in the world? You tell me. Wanting to be the best at what you do is a great motivating factor. The music business is highly competitive and only the best and most devoted survive it’s challenges. To survive, you have to give your utmost 100% effort to compete at the highest level. For me personally wanting to be the best translates as being the best musician that I can possible be. This attitude (and goal) can never exhaust itself because there will always be something new to learn and master.
(Taken from CHAPTER SEVEN – How to keep on being enthusiastic)
“Aside from only listening to your playing, how about observing what you’re doing by the use of a mirror? For example: Are your wrists well controlled or are you using excessive forearm movement? Are your sticks uniform in height when playing alternate strokes between your two hands (as in a single stroke roll)? What about the actual grip – are your fingers well in control of the sticks or is there too much tension in your forearms due to a lack of finger control? And so on.”
(Taken from CHAPTER FOURTEEN – How to increase your powers of observation and listening)
This may sound a bit strange as you may think that by releasing the stick you’re likely to drop it. No, this release of the stick is really only a slight relaxing of the grip a split second after impact. It is an action not clearly visible on casual observation, but more of a physical sensation by the drummer. What this does is save your hands and wrists so they aren’t absorbing the shock of the strokes and as mentioned, will be extremely beneficial if you play loud rim shots a lot of the time.”
(Taken from CHAPTER TWENTY TWO – Drumming and your health)
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