Nic’s blog  
Nic's Blog #4
Reading Music Enhances My Life

   Earlier this week I received a call from a drummer asking if I needed any other teachers. I had a teacher working with me in South Austin that went on the road and I thought it would be helpful to replace him. For the most part if I am going to have another teacher working with me I prefer to draw from my student pool first.

   So I thought I would ask some questions since this individual called so I said, "tell me a little about yourself." He responded, "oh, I've been on 2 gold records." I put my lips out as if to kiss and said, "that's impressive, where have you studied?" He said in turn, "I haven't really. I played some in high school." I asked if he minded teaching the little ones and he answered no. Then I asked, "do you use Podemski's? Do you teach rudiments?" He responded, "no, I teach beats."

   I thought, (isn't that something you eat?), I responded "I don't think what you're teaching is going to work with what I'm doing here at Nick's Drum Studio."

   If I want to learn about running or golfing, I go to Barnes and Noble and buy some trade magazines and I look and see what interesting books there are on the subject. I don't look at the internet first because a lot of what is on the internet isn't reliable information. If I wanted to play golf and I could afford it, I'd seek out a golf pro, that doesn't mean one that's won a tournament. It means someone that makes a living playing golf.

   Playing an instrument well isn't something everyone can do by self teaching. There are exceptions to this however and there will always be exceptions to this. Most likely the chances of you being one of those people is unlikely and even in the most extreme cases of self-taught, there is always room for improvement. So why not seek a teacher and try to find a full time pro.

   Clue: if they aren't asking you to read music, save your time and money because you are getting screwed, plain and simple! If you've asked for lessons without learning to read music you have screwed yourself and if some idiot said to you that reading has screwed up anyone they probably can't read.

   The language of music has been laid out for you to learn with ... learning music without learning to read music is akin to going to the library and looking at the pictures. If you can read the books there is a plethora of information to behold. Oh sure it might take longer than a few weeks to learn but you can learn from a knowledge standpoint instead of an ignorant standpoint, don't be in such a hurry, this could be better than sex.

   Let's see, I've written 3 drum set books and I'm working on my fourth. Every time I hone in on a part of drumming that I want to learn about I start finding and sampling everything I can find about that style. The ideas that really hit the spot I use math and morph and experiment with until I've exhausted the possibilities. When I've researched and collected all I can, I edit, organize, and write a book on it. So many students have an edited edition of my studies and I have in fact done a percentage of the grunt work for you.

   I lead you to the things that worked well for me. If that isn't what you want to learn then I can't imagine why you play. Practice these ideas and have them in your tool bag. One day without thinking, while you're playing the idea shows up and it's exactly what the tune needed.

Send your drum questions to nic