Online Drum Lessons!

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Hey All,

As my Fall semester comes to a close, I’d like to open NEW doors! I have been on Skype for a while now for trading language lessons with Spanish speakers, and I’ve decided I’d like to start making more use of the power of the Internet. So…

I’M NOW OFFERING ONLINE DRUMS LESSONS (via Skype) woo!

My Skype name is: rclarkyyyy

The price will be the same as my normal rates (30mins = 15$) (1hr = 25$). Check my ‘ONLINE Lessons’ section for more details.

So if you’re looking to learn to play the drums from the cozy-ness of your bedroom, now is the time! Feel free to add me on Skype, though send me an EMAIL (ryanonthedrums@yahoo.com) or leave a COMMENT to be sure I see it. I look forward to hearing from all you guys and gals!

– Ryan Clark

 

Updates! & I’m accepting NEW students!

Hey everyone,

Long time no post…from me! Like nearly everyone on the planet I’ve been quite busy. Here’s a quick rundown of my current activities:

1) SCHOOL of course. I’m a commuting senior now at SJSU, about to finish my BA in Psychology with a Minor in Special Ed. Definitely ready to take a break ahaha!

2) I got a job as an assistant teacher at Sarah’s Science! It’s a cool after school program for grades K-4 that teaches kids about science through making toys.

3) I’m learning Español and I’m loving it! Plus it really makes commuting to school much more bearable 🙂

4) Lastly, I’m still teaching DRUMS!!! And unfortunately this month I lost 2 of my longest-lasting and wonderful drum students. The demand of school is real haha, but I understand. I often don’t have time to practice or write music. Which leads me to my next point….

I’M ACCEPTING NEW STUDENTS! 😉

As one door closes, another opens! I welcome all drum students, beginner to advanced, young to old, who want help learning anything about drums. I’m here to teach you what YOU want to learn (styles, songs, drum solos, techniques, speed, etc.).

I work in the east bay area only, and the rates for cities closest to Pleasanton are: 30 mins = 15$ …. 60 mins = 25$. Send me an email if you’re interested at: ryanonthedrums@yahoo.com

Take care,

Ryan Clark

 

Thanksgiving & Stick Tricks

Can you pass the drumsticks? (lol lame joke)

Well our bizarre holiday has come around once again. I hope everyone’s doing well and stays safe tonight. I know I will, as I’m just taking a break from a homework-filled holiday vacation. Anyways, here’s my most recent update for ya’ll:

I just turned 21 two weeks ago, which is pretty cool I suppose. I haven’t had the chance yet to use my age to get in to music clubs yet, but I know my dad wants to take me. And I can finally have Ins and Outs at the metal shows I attend, which is great to cool down from all the moshing, haha.

And this past week I’ve taken an interest in learning more stick tricks! I’ve never really been that interested in learning these, as all drummers who do them will tell you that the music comes first (which is what I focused on). I knew a few basic ones: the twirl, the forward and backward flip, and this one that I picked up from Thomas Lang (check him out). But I decided I’d start learning stick tricks more intensely, as they’re pretty entertaining to watch. With the help of Youtube, I’ve learned 4 more, and plan on learning even more. They’re pretty fun to do and can give you something to do during those simple parts of songs. I will be teaching these also to my students, when I feel they’ve learned enough about real drumming to take on these fun new challenges! You gotta walk before you cartwheel!

Well that’s all for now. Supper’s ready!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ryan Clark

I Gave a Speech on Drumming!

Howdy folks,

I’ve been quite busy recently, due largely to school, so I haven’t had much time to update anything here or even practice on my own drums everyday! Ironically though, I got the chance in my Speech class to give a talk on anything I wanted to, so you know my first thought was “DRUMS!”. And that’s exactly what I did. Unfortunately, the speech could only be 7 minutes long, which is hardly sufficient to inform a group of non-drummers on anything drum-related, but I think it turned out alright.

I ended up talking about the basics of how drums are played, the importance of drummers in music, and where the future of drums is headed in recorded music. All of these topics haven’t really been touched on within this blog, especially the last one. So I thought I’d just briefly sum up the main points of my talk for you guys, so you guys wouldn’t feel left out ;). Keep in mind this is very basic, as it was intended for a specific audience…

Well, today’s modern drums are played often times with sticks in either the matched or traditional grip. And with these sticks, we drummers use 3 basic motions to hit the drums: arm, wrist, and finger motions. Arm motion is used primarily for loud, slower hits like accents, whereas wrist and finger motions are conserved for faster notes, which are, by their nature, quieter. And since us drummers are typically sitting at a drum kit, this frees up our feet to participate in the musical process. For most drummers, the left foot occupies the hi hat pedal, which controls the hi hat, and the right foot occupies the bass drum pedal, which obviously hits the bass drum. Everything up until here has been a description of the physical aspects of drumming, so I will now discuss the mental side of things. Drumming requires a certain amount of coordination between limbs which, if you aren’t accustomed to doing, takes an enormous amount of mental effort to accomplish. But us drummers who have experience under our belts don’t have to think too hard about coordinations that may drive the beginner insane. This is not to say that we don’t struggle mental with anything; if anything, coordination challenges only get more difficult as you improve! So in essence, it depends upon what we’re doing at the time to tell you what exactly we’re thinking about, whether it be a complex time signature or what I want for dinner haha.

Fortunately, drummers are hardly under-appreciated inside and out of the musical circle, so we don’t struggle as bad as the bass player does in explaining the importance of our position. Although, I would guess that there are still many non-musicians who would question the importance of drums, to which I respond with (mainly) tempo and rhythm. Tempo, or speed, is largely associated with the mood of a song. If you’ve ever heard a recording, then listened to it at a different speed, it produces different feelings when you hear it, sometimes ruining the song. But how do drummers influence speed? Well the prime example I can provide is this: if you’ve ever seen a live band performance with a drummer, you’ll likely witness the drummer playing the first notes of the song (esp. those where multiple instruments begin at the same time). These notes they play are the ones that count off the song, usually in a “1, 2, 3, 4, GO” fashion. Now, however fast the drummer choses to play these notes in the moment are essentially how fast everyone else must now play them. And if you’ve ever played with a band live before you can probably testify to the fact that we don’t always play at the speed we practice at. Usually it’s faster, due to the nerves. NOW, moving onto rhythm, if you’ve ever listened to pop/rap/rock music, you already know that the drums usually hit on every single beat in a song. Because they do this, the other band members often rely on the drummer to keep the time (or if you’re a string player, it’s the bassist). Thus, if the drummer messes up the beat, it can throw everyone off, which demonstrates their importance in music.

Lastly, the future of drum sounds in music are on a trend right now, and yes, it has to do with technology. Drums are now being electronically sampled in almost every genre of music (at least it seems), including rap/rock/pop/r&b/electronic/metal/etc. This means that real drum sounds (from a recording) are being replaced by either fake/pre-recorded drum sounds. And there are a variety of reasons why sound engineers are conforming to this, but I won’t go into it now. The basic pros and cons of sampling drums, as I see it, are the following; PROS: it’s faster and easier, there’s a large soundbank to choose from, the sound is a lot clearer, and it allows for a perfect drum track. CONS: it gets rid of the need for a drummer, the sounds can often sound fake (despite being on purpose sometimes), and the drum track is too perfect. It’s basically like replacing the drummer with a robot that only knows perfection. And if you’re a drummer, you can probably tell, as I can, the difference between when a human is playing vs this robot. Ultimately, I think it creates an artificial sound, which as I said, can work for the music but it just depends.

WOW, ok that was a lot. I’m done now haha. Leave a comment if you liked/disliked my speech; it is most appreciated either way! Thanks

Ryan Clark

Developing your “Left Hand” and Practicing

Hey drummers and non-drummers!

What I want to talk to you about today is a topic for mainly beginner drummers, but it does not exclude intermediate and even advanced drummers! Your “left hand”, or whatever hand you’re weaker with, is the hand that struggles more with learning techniques, speed, endurance, and becoming comfortable. This applies to just about everything you do with your hands on the drum set (singles, doubles, moeller, flams, buzzles, gravity blasts, etc.). Typically your weaker hand will require more practice than your stronger hand will to reach similar levels of ability.

Although this can be frustrating at times (trust me I’ve been there), it is a real test to push yourself and accomplish your goals, whatever they may be. The key is having determination, which means practice practice practice! Schedule practice times every day (preferably at the same time) for a specific amount. I usually recommend at least 30 minutes a day, and more if your schedule allows for it. Motivation plays an extremely large part in this as well because results are usually not guaranteed within a week. You need encouragement to keep pushing yourself mentally and physically. The source of this stimulation can be anything, so long as it’s positive; learning a song, your parents, an audition, or someone you look up to (drummer or not). Personally, when I watch drummer better than myself they motivate me to practice harder and longer. Without any drive your skills will likely flounder and never get much better.

Now, getting back to your left hand, it is important to note that your hands will never be exactly the same. My right hand is a bit stronger, faster, and has more endurance than my left hand. This appears to be the case with most peoples’ preferred hand. If you’re ambidextrous however, you might have an advantage over us one-handed people. The reason is because drumming is all about your dexterity, and striving to be ambidextrous will provide you with numerous advantages in your playing.

Well that’s all for now. Keep practicing and finding new motivations! Happy drumming!

-Ryan Clark

One of the new techniques I’m practicing…

Ever heard of the “Flying Fingers Technique”? It’s another way to hit the drums  that involves using only your finger power on the sticks. It’s more common among the speed metal genre, but has a lot of use outside of metal. The technique is utilized typically for fast tempo single strokes. The wrist/arm energy you’d normally use for something like this can be conserved by using this fingers only method (not to say it takes no energy, but uses a lot less).

Why is this useful? Endurance. Plain and simple. Whether you’re performing a live show, recording at a studio, or just practicing by yourself, stamina is crucial to playing music. But don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you get rid of all other arm/wrist techniques. This is simply a useful tool to have in certain situations.

I’m hoping to perfect this technique soon and then teach it to my students. I have a lot of work to do with it still, but that’s what practicing is for!

-Ryan Clark