Two exciting new things happening this semester for my drum and guitar students. For Drum Students, we'll be working on rudiments and using Vic Firth's worksheets. Rudiments are rehearsed stick patterns. You can think of them like lay up drills in basketball or practicing catching pop flies for baseball. We practice rudiments (rehearsed sticking patterns) so that when we have to use them in a real life situation (in a piece of music or song) they flow naturally and easily. Musically, they are the equivalent of practicing scales. These Vic Firth worksheets break down each rudiment and give several level for students to achieve: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond based on BPM (beats per minute). These give students a tangible goal to shoot for and, frankly, make learning rudiments a lot more fun. In the near future I hope to have a place on my website to keep track of student's progress through the rudiments and through each level. The link above has the online version of the worksheets I printed for my students, an audio file of each rudiment at different tempos for students to play along, and a video demonstrating the rudiment at multiple tempos. Check it frequently and use it for practice throughout the week!
For guitar students we are working through 100 Killer Licks and Chops for Rock Guitar. I LOVE this book and wish I had found it sooner. It traces rock guitar from Scotty Moore (Elvis' guitarist back in the 50's) to present day, stopping to pay homage to all of the major players and styles along the way. Each week I will pick a different example to play through. Week 1's example was a Beatles based riff. I have had quite a few students play through it already and all seem to be enjoying it. Next week the example will be from a completely different artist and genre; perhaps a Metallica based riff or some Eddie Van Halen style tapping? The overall goal is to give students a brief taste of a multitude of styles and artists that they otherwise might not have been familiar with. Some weeks the example may come easily; other weeks it may take a lot of practice. Some weeks the student might love the example; other weeks they may hate it. I hope to encourage students to dive more deeply into the artists that they enjoy, while still giving them a taste of different genres.
This is only a taste of the great things to come this year in lessons. Stay tuned for more and leave a comment with things you would be interested in learning or seeing in lessons or at stickandstrum!