A Drummer is not just for…

…CHRISTMAS

 

 

The festive season maybe soon upon us but do not forget that drums are not just a seasonal favour; but for life!

Yes, we all understand that what comes with the territory of family obligations, the drums are sometimes relocated to accommodate a tree inside the house or a relatives bedroom for a few days; it is hard to get some drum time in December!

But, what we must not do is let the momentum disappear. One way to keep the home fires burning is to receive or give a drum related gift. It could be some new gear, if you have very nice and wealthy relatives, but ordinary items can do just as much good. The humble book can be one of the best ways to keep up the silent learning but DVD’s, Sticks, a new Album, a practise pad, drum key or even a new spring for your Bass drum pedal can be enough to keep satisfied the drummer within.

One of the main downturns over Christmas can be actual practise. With such a busy month, clocking up decent hours can be a headache. It is vital to remember, and quite often the wrong conclusion, that you need to have physical kit time and anything else is no good. Wrong! Yeah, it’s better to sit behind your drums but that can be difficult for some.

The act of playing is important, of course, but there are other methods to maintain healthy levels of memory, learning and stamina. If you have an electric kit, and thus somewhere to set it up, its near enough quiet and it’s almost as good as the real thing – if you have a high-end one!

If you have no acoustic or electric drums, fear not, there are other ways. My favourite is the practise pad. Not only because its minimal in volume, small (compared to a full kit) and transportable but because you can hone in on those all important rudiments. The practise pad is great for all round development of stick control, weaker hand work and for tightening up those technical skills. Often over looked, it’s a fantastic time to brush up on key areas without the need to set much gear up.

The old classic and often the starting point to most drummers’ birth; the hands and knees. It does have results in working new things out or just simple play along. Not only this, but perhaps spend more time on counting out loud, metronomically speaking! Playing air drums and counting out loud might perhaps look strange from the outside so take the time to use this when you might not be disturbed!

Reading books and listening to music can also be a preferred way to spend Christmas. Well, us drummers should incorporate listening to our favourite drummers, reading books, where notated or not, or just enjoying some music to relax, it all helps broaden the horizon. For an extra mile, why not research some new music to listen to or research a new drummer to watch on YouTube and get some inspiration.

No matter your activity, maintain a healthy balance and stay well over the Winter. Drums are a life long learning activity, professionally or not. We never stop learning and will never reach the end of our playing. We CAN always improve and be the best we can but we will always keep developing as we grow as musicians.

Drums and playing music is our passion. We hope that being a drummer is as much about learning new skills as well as being part of a wider social group.

If you are in need of finding that spark to reignite something, perhaps its been too long, or even if you have never played before there are lessons out there for you.

GhostNote Academy provides Drum lessons from the heart of York.

For more information please fill out the contact form below 🙂

 

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Drum 101

So you’re wanting to have some drum lessons but what should you expect and what do you need to get started?

Fist things first, its a good idea to invest in your own drum sticks. They don’t need to be the most expensive, and over time you will no doubt refine your choice as your playing develops; but brands such as: Promark, Vic Firth, Ahead and Vater all make reliable models to get you started.

With having some new sticks its a great habit to practise holding these and get used to the feel and response and developing your grip. The original, if not a bit old school, method was to practice on cushions to simulate drums. This isn’t a guaranteed system for success but in the very beginning provides a simple understanding of movement.

Another wise investment and coordinates with having real drum lessons, is to purchase some decent hearing protection. hearingprotection

With volume levels that can hurt and damage hearing, we fully endorse playing with some defenders. These can be provided at the beginning but of course it would be worth buying your own in time; after all, we all have different preferences!

So you have the sticks and some hearing protection, what next…?

Well, lessons! Now you have the basics to start. The only thing you need to consider is how much patience and determination you can summon.

A common problem with beginning the drum journey, is in fact that one word; “Journey”. There is never a time that any drummer at any level reaches the end of their learning. “I’ve never sat down and thought, – you know what, that’s it, I’m at the top of my game, and sat back and folded my arms!” – Mike Johnston Drum Clinic, March 2017.

The journey is a never ending process and like any other musical instrument, learning and development is a life long quest.

The beginning can be frustrating and hard work but that part soon passes and develops quickly into more technical skills. The great thing about lessons is that we can then look back at achievements, see what journey we have been on and map the future of our playing.

Yes, it can take some learners longer than others to accomplish various skills, there are ways to perhaps address such frustrations by adding a simple yet vital part of the drummers home practice – the Practice Pad.

Vicfirthpracticepad

The practice pad is an excellent way to hone skills and in particular to develop stick control and learning drum rudiments. With the technical introduction of rudiments, which are the cornerstone of any players arsenal, they are also a necessary component in advancing through the Rock School Grades and exams.

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Time is a major investment, practising skills at home, learning new techniques in lessons all take a large part of any individuals learning trajectory. There is no short cut, applying time to learn efficiently will provide positive results and unlock achievements faster. Knowing what to or how to practice can be daunting, however, lessons can be the platform to stimulate and direct choices on your learning path.

Whether you want weekly, fortnightly or even monthly lessons, we can work at your pace, maintaining a full lesson diary that maps every students drumming evolution. Give yourself the space, time and patience to ensure your excitement on beginning to learn the drums meets your expectations.

Investing in your education should be fun but challenging. A new challenge usually encounters hard work but the end results can be amazing!

If you’re excited about learning, want to know more or would like to book some lessons; please use the contact from below! Lets go!! 🙂

 

Summer Holidays for Drummers

Summer is here!!

Now that the long summer holidays have arrived and all that hard work through the school year has been completed; you can now unwind and relax!

So what next? Are you looking at some time to yourself, or are you looking to the next adventure?

 

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If you are a new convert to drums or perhaps have some aspiration to play in a band and want to rock the drums then we can help you advance into your exciting new challenge!

Its time to take those air drumming dreams to another level and put yourself on the  drum throne and be the king of  the stage.

Anyone can learn to play, at any age and being completely new isn’t a problem either!

With an extensive back ground of live playing and writing original music as a drummer; and trained in both Trinity Guildhall and Rockschool grades (with a Diploma in Performing Music Practitioners) we have all the skills to guide, develop and evolve your drumming talents!

So you want to take your drumming seriously, then look no further..

We are fully DBS checked through the Musicians Union and have under taken all relevant training  in Safeguarding Children

If you want to book some lessons or just want to know a little bit more, then fill out the form below and tell us a bit more about you!

We’re here to help you succeed in your ambitions!

 

 

 

 ©ghostnoteacademy2017

 

 

 

 

Left hand, right hand, kick..

DSCN0605To be a great drummer is to have balance, time, groove and independence.

It goes without saying, whether you are new or a pretty established player, working on these core principles can be a statement of how far an individual can be judged, for most of us this is a state of constant learning.

But, that does not mean that we don’t possess the attributes to be a great drummer, after all, individuality and our own level of ability makes us who we are; the more interesting and different a drummer plays can often go a lot further.

So as standards, we probably unfairly compare ourselves to our heroes or influences. Personally, I like to think of music as a whole and not just an individual instrument. It’s a totally different experience when isolating the drum tracks to a favourite song! I absolutely do pay more attention to what the drums are doing, whats been played, what beats or fills are being used, but I am brought to a drummer by the song in general. Therein lies the problem!

Comparisons can have a limiting effect, especially on those who are new and aspiring. There are naturally a lot of variables in trying to play like our favourite drummer, anything from the drums used, the room it was recorded in, the producer doing the recording to the player themselves. To replicate isn’t impossible but you are you and not them. I still don’t really understand when I hear things like,  I want to be able to play just like Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, Mike Portnoy, Travis Barker, Lars Ulrich etc. Why? Although I have many influences and enjoy listening and getting inspiration from these drummers, I want to develop my own style and my own sound.

As a drum educator I believe in developing your sound, establishing what you need to get better and together we can learn from each other and make real progress. I believe in setting standards and achieving goals, but I am interested in musicality, natural playing and accompaniment.

There is a place for grading and taking performance and instrument exams. For those wishing to pursue a line of work in music, those wishing to go to college and study music or perhaps even just as a personal achievement, I am a big endorser for learning through Rock School or Trinity Guildhall. I have taken graded exams myself and am proud to have got to a level where I am but I don’t think I will ever stop learning.

Thinking of learning the drums can be a daunting prospect, like with anything new, there is a lot to think about and a lot to learn. For drums, developing muscle memory is a process than cannot be shortened. It takes time and patience to get comfortable with some techniques and to harness speed. As its often said but often overlooked, start SLOW!

Being balanced with both hands, having sound technique, pushing 3 way into 4 way coordination, developing independence and control  and having a strong sense of timing are at the heart of drumming.

Learning to play has to fit in with you and what YOU want to achieve. Whether this is unlocking how to play certain songs, for your own enjoyment, to understand how to use better technique, how to be more comfortable in your own ability, perhaps with your band, achieving grade 8 or just wanting to be a weekend hobbyist – there is no right or wrong.

Whatever your need, whatever your wish or direction playing the drums, Ghostnote Academy can provide bespoke lessons tailored to your specific goals.

So give it a try..pick up those sticks!! 🙂

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©ghostnoteacademy.com2017

What is a Ghost note?

ghostnote_chartWhat Is a Ghost Note?

In Drumming terms, it’s quite simply a De-emphasized, often near silent beat. These notes are played very softly between the “main notes” (off the beat, on the sixteenth notes) most often on the Snare drum.

While Ghost Notes can be played on any drum or cymbal, by its definition as a subtle pattern to add more depth, it’s commonly used on the snare giving the groove or phrase more of a feel than a sound.

Playing Ghost notes can add flavour to a simple beat, throwing in some complexities to enhance the sound, it’s therefore necessary to make sure that the volume of a Ghost note is played much quieter than a regular note; hence the name Ghost Note.

They can be recognised on a chart as by having brackets ( ) around the note, as in the main image, sometimes also seen as a smaller note – half-size – in a bar. Practicing Ghost notes can be challenging, its important to remember that these are notes played in between notes but also simultaneously. For example, as a right-handed drummer, the left hand will play on beats 2 and 4 while the right hand counts 1&2&3&4&. The Ghost note can then be played with the left hand, more often, and in any combination as 16th notes – on the  “e” and “a”etc, or as desired. The left hand therefore plays both the loud accented notes as well as the unaccented notes (Ghost notes). To be able to play both loud and quiet notes with one hand takes some time to master, so starting slow and being patient is imperative.

They are very effective, can be very creative and can make your own grooves fuller. With control they can become so subtle, which would be the ultimate aim, that they are almost undetectable – they are the Ghosts in the middle of the drum beat.

So, with admiration of something so simple, yet something that adds such variety, it’s no coincidence that the humble Ghost Note is at the top of our list.

We love it so much that we named our Drum school after it!

Happy practicing 🙂

 

©ghostnoteacademy2017