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  #11  
Old 01-08-2008, 07:16 AM
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Roc Stone Roc Stone is offline
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"Hey Roberthelpus!" Would love to see and hear some of your stuff. Hows put'n up a clip?
  #12  
Old 01-08-2008, 02:44 PM
roberthelpus roberthelpus is offline
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The Metronome

Alas, I've nothing that would be worth puttting up. Sound and/or video quality so bad that you couldn't tell what's going on.

I just set up my excersise/music room so here's most of my basic setup.



Got a recumbant excersise bike and one of those dual piston rowing machine/combo thingies, along with some dumbells and other small stuff. I recently stepped on the scale and was shocked to see 190, when I was in the 140's back in my 20's. I'll settle for the 160's so I got a bit of work to do.

I definitely thought of the speed bag as cross-training for the drums along with being good excersise. It seems to be beneficial - I definitely feel stronger when playing. There's definitely similarities betweeen the two activities, although I don't know if I would suggest using congas as cross-training for the speed bag.

That being said I'd like to talk about something that I've nicknamed "The Lie Detector" otherwise known as The Metronome. I spend a lot of time practicing excersises that are similar to scales, on one drum, with a metronome. I start out pretty slow and work my way up at small increments, while paying serious attention to making everything sound right. As things get faster - the sound goes way before the actual speed get's difficult - I inch up by smaller and smaller increments. I'll eventually spend short amounts of time at speeds where things are a little sloppy to really push myself. I'll take a little break to stretch and maybe some water and then I will go back to a speed that's up there but comfortable and work that for 5 minutes using the timer on my watch. Then on to the next thing, like maybe some of the traditional drum rudiments. Sometimes I will take things down real slow as an excersise in really keeping time in between the long spaces.

Now one thing that I've noticed is there will be missing spaces within the range of what I am capable of. Let's say that I am doing something that I can do but have to start thinking about around 100 Beats Per Minute (BPM,) and I can push it up to 120 or 130 BPM. There will be a spot, let's say between 114 and 117 where I have a real problem. This will actually move around (in speed) a little bit. This is something that I would never notice without the metronome - I'd just fly right on by it. Musically it's very important to work this out. Whether it's important in speed bagging I'll leave up to you.

I think you can see where the metronome could be adapted for speed bagging and I plan to start using it myself when I get my new swivels and finish my final set-up. I've been feeling the need for it the last couple of days.

Now I have a Tama Rhythm Watch which has all sorts of fancy bells and whistles that you don't really need. Hell I could do without em myself but it's nice to have. You can get a quartz metronome for under $20 USD at your local music store that'll do all you need it to do and will keep perfect time. Hence "The Lie Detector" You will want to make sure that it is loud enough unless you want to use earphones which most of them have a jack for. Their are also Freeware metronomes on the web. Mechanical and electromechnical metronomes can be fine as long as they aren't dropped. I've had both go out on me and it'll really drive you nuts. Especially when they first go bad and you think that it's you that's got the problem.

So what do y'all think? Want to try it? Use it allready? Think it'd be useless? ...
  #13  
Old 01-09-2008, 02:51 AM
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Hey Roberthelpus

I second Roc Stone's suggestion. I would love to see and hear some of your drumming. That would be cool!

But I'd like to address some of your comments concerning Drum Circles because I disagree on several points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roberthelpus View Post
How do I say this without sounding like the grinch who stole rhythm

As a conguero and bongocero who has been studying AfroCuban percussion for over 11 years - been a musician for over over thirty - I have some problems with the whole drum circle scene. I mean I'm happy for them and all that, and am glad that they are having fun but it has led to some disrespect for my instrument and what I do. You don't hear of violin circles because of course a violin is a real musical instrument that you have to actually learn how to play.
No way you are the grinch who stole rhythm, - you've got too much of it inside to steal someone elses. But I do think you're viewing a community drum circle, and the people that attend them, with a too critical eye.

As possibly a master musician yourself, you understand the complexity of your instrument and your special gift to play it. Obviously you take it seriously. But the Drum Circle is not about the Drum itself, or who is the "lead" or best drummer. It is about the people in the circle, sharing the experience of rhythm together. Any drum of any shape is welcome. The circle activity is about total inclusion of all attending, and by that very nature, the drum rhythms must be kept simple. You are right about a violin circle. It is a complicated instrument, and after two hours a beginner would struggle to play five decent notes. Not so with drums. Most people, and kids, can replicate a simple beat on any of the many types of drums. That certainly doesn't imply that the drum is a lesser instrument, it is just more accessible to the average person. Most circle rhythms doesn't demand any specific level of skill

The history of Drum Circles.

In the drum circle, people who are not necessarily professional musicians come together to create an improvised composition that becomes the score for their own lives. The drum circle provides a portal into musical expression, making it an accessible experience for anyone at any age or level of ability. In it’s simplest form, the drum is an accessible tool for creative expression Anybody can use it in this context.

...and I completely disagree that drum circles lead to disrespect for the "drum instrument" or lessens the skills of a dedicated practiced drummer in the eyes of circle members. I think it champions the act of drumming, and the experience of everyone there to participate, at whatever level, as a "drummer" (or dancer). Any disrespect comes from excluding people from joining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roberthelpus View Post
I will still go to the damn things, trolling for actual drummers, or someone who would like to learn something, but that rarely happens...

.....The thing that gets me is the reluctance, of most of the drum circle folks that I have run into, to practicing or learning how to actually play their instruments, let alone learning actual rhythms or songs.
If you are looking for serious drum students to practice and play with, than I'd think you are looking in the wrong place. Most people in a community drum circle are probably NOT serious drummers, but just folks looking to share the experience and have fun through the rhythm and dance. This ain't nothing but a good time. Maybe some Afrocuban seminars or camps would help you locate more serious drummers to work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roberthelpus View Post
Hey, I've even met Arthur Hull at one of his "playshops" and let him join a friend and I in a Bembe 6/8 I even gave up my drum and jumped on bell. But his whole spiel is a load of BS.
I have not met Arthur Hull, but as an internationally recognized percussionist, he is known to many fans of rhythm. I would say you are lucky to have actually played with him. Consider this for a moment: As a great drummer, he (or you) could come into town, give a concert, and let many people sit and watch him play. in effect - He plays for them. Instead, he comes into town, creates a drum circle and plays WITH them. No matter how simple the rhythms (and dance) I will not fault him for allowing the crowd to join with him in the drumming experience. Perhaps they won't reach that mystical, spiritual nirvana of "inner rhythm" or some sacred inner change, - but - they did get the chance to sit and play with a renown drummer, and perhaps some members gained a real desire to study the drums. I don't think that's BS, I think that is sharing the experience. Drum Circle theory video

Quote:
Originally Posted by roberthelpus View Post
But don't let me rain on your parade. You just have to figure out how to make a portable rig that you can get relatively level and stable on the beach. That and figure out how to be heard over your usual too loud djembe whackers
I think I could stabilize a freestanding speed bag frame given enough room for attaching luggage straps. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about being heard over someone else, but if they were that annoying, I'd just move to another location.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Perhaps the "spiritual, rhythmic transcendence" and "mystical rhythmic journal" references in Drum Circles is overhyped. But from Native Americans to African based, or just beach drum circles, they are a blast to go to.

(* secretly, I long to learn this...) or turn one of these big bad boys (2:35) into a rebound board.

imagine dragging that sucker to the beach....
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Last edited by Speedbag; 01-09-2008 at 02:59 AM.
  #14  
Old 01-09-2008, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roberthelpus View Post
... I'd like to talk about something that I've nicknamed "The Lie Detector" otherwise known as The Metronome. I spend a lot of time practicing excersises that are similar to scales, on one drum, with a metronome. I start out pretty slow and work my way up at small increments, while paying serious attention to making everything sound right. As things get faster - the sound goes way before the actual speed get's difficult - I inch up by smaller and smaller increments. I'll eventually spend short amounts of time at speeds where things are a little sloppy to really push myself. I'll take a little break to stretch and maybe some water and then I will go back to a speed that's up there but comfortable and work that for 5 minutes using the timer on my watch. Then on to the next thing, like maybe some of the traditional drum rudiments. Sometimes I will take things down real slow as an excersise in really keeping time in between the long spaces.

Now one thing that I've noticed is there will be missing spaces within the range of what I am capable of. Let's say that I am doing something that I can do but have to start thinking about around 100 Beats Per Minute (BPM,) and I can push it up to 120 or 130 BPM. There will be a spot, let's say between 114 and 117 where I have a real problem. This will actually move around (in speed) a little bit. This is something that I would never notice without the metronome - I'd just fly right on by it. Musically it's very important to work this out. Whether it's important in speed bagging I'll leave up to you.

I think you can see where the metronome could be adapted for speed bagging and I plan to start using it myself when I get my new swivels and finish my final set-up. I've been feeling the need for it the last couple of days....

...So what do y'all think? Want to try it? Use it allready? Think it'd be useless? ...
I've made my own metronome, and no, it is not useless.
Years ago before the digital age, I played several songs that I liked into earphones, and using a spoon, taped a glass in time to the music with a tape recorder right next to the glass. I could then play the tape and the loud repetitive clank of the glass could be easily heard over the sound of the rebounding bag. Using that (different speeds) as a guide, I learned how to do "cadence punching", or matching the accented punches of combinations to the beats of the glass. It helped me hone in on punch drumming (hitting to music), for every song has a repetitive beat. If you can hit in time with a metronome (or clanging class), you can also hit to music. A song just adds a melody and other instruments.

Years later, when recording speed bag rhythms for Blue Man Group, I had to wear small earphones and hit to a "click track", which is just a metrone played into your ears at the correct speed. (you can see the white earphone wires by my neck standing under the drums in the 3rd picture down.). I did many takes on the board and the drum bags listening to click tracks, and also the song "time to start", which was the song they were considering the speed bag for. There were three different sections of the song that they wanted speed bag solo's. Time :32 - 45sec (8 measures), 1:06 - 1:20sec (8 measures) and 3:03 - 3:30 (16 measures. Partner rhythm solos's back and forth with the Tubulum). All totalled, I punched about 6 hours that day, and hated to quit. I really like hitting on those hanging drums. Too bad it never made the album (or the concert stage...).

I think hitting to a metronome, (now I use electronic drum songs) is really good practice, especially IF you want to make the leap to punch drumming.
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  #15  
Old 01-09-2008, 10:42 AM
roberthelpus roberthelpus is offline
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Sounds like a fantastic experience with the Blue Man Group. I did read about that when I was going through the earlier posts, along with the fact that you used to play drums. Very cool.

I don't see myself hitting to music or trading the bag for my congas and thinking of it as a musical instrument but I can definitely see it as being a lot of fun. Once I get better I just might change my mind, but at this point what I am doing is not very musical

It's kind of funny that I spend less time with recorded music than anyone I know. I find it very distracting and prefer to spend more quality time actively listening to something rather than having it in the background 24/7. The exception being in the car. I've used a practice pad and sticks as an alternative when I had to be quiet and while it is much easier to do a lot of things with sticks I wouldn't trade it for my congas and bongos ever. I love the control (and necessity actually) of producing every sound you make with your hands.

The main thing that I was thinking about with the metronome is the ability it gives you to quantify and and guide your workout. Using it as a learning tool, you can track your progress and set goals, especially during the begining stages. It gives you the ability to inch your way up in a disciplined way.
  #16  
Old 01-09-2008, 05:26 PM
roberthelpus roberthelpus is offline
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Alan, I replied to your post about drum circles here http://speedbagforum.com/forums/show...=6501#post6501 in the off topic area
  #17  
Old 01-22-2008, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atgatt View Post
Bravo! Bravo! Standing ovation.

I read all those sites you once listed on rhythm studies. As I sit here thinking what other sports or sports training involves rhythm, not many come to mind beyond the speedbag. There's jump rope, jazzercise, and ....can't think of much else at the moment.

I second that...that was awesome
 

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