私が15歳という遅い年齢でドラムを始めた時、どうしたらプロドラマーになれるのか全くわかりませんでしたが、私はなりたいと思っていました。

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髪があった頃
私は当時もっとたくさん髪がありました。そしてその頃から、成功するプロドラマーの道へ向かう5つのことを理解していました。それらをあなたと共有したいです。

1.ドラムとリズムへの心からの情熱

アメリカ中西部に住んでいた幼い頃から、私は本当にドラムを演奏したかったんだと思います。バイオリンとサックスにも挑戦しましたが、両方とも段々嫌になり冬の間中それらをケースに入れてソリに使っていました。私はいつも単純明白にドラマーになりたかったのです。ドラムは一番かっこいい音の楽器だと思ったし、ただただリズムが大好きでした。私はブレイクダンサーとしても活動していたので、タイミングとリズムセンスが強まったとも思います。

最初に、私はドラムをしたいなら、誰か私に演奏の仕方を見せてくれる人を見つければ最速に学べると思いました。

2.良い先生を見つける

時々、ドラマーやそれ以外のミュージシャンから「私は独学した」や「自分で習得した」という言葉を聞きますが、私は彼らに「それはとても残念でしたね。」と言いたいです。自分で習得することは勇気の印であり、それは確かにあなたの楽器への真の専念を示すということはわかります。ですが、それはもう既に経験している人に尋ねるよりもずっと難しいです。その人は既にテスト済みの方法をあなたに教えてくれ、あなたがしたい音楽を演奏する手助けをしてくれるのです。とにかく、それがポイントです、ね?音楽を演奏して楽しむ為には。

私は、教えることが大好きなプロドラマーを見つけることをお勧めします。彼または彼女は、あなたがどんなスタイルの音楽でも演奏する為に必要な基礎の全てを含んだ、総合的なドラムの教え方をしてくれる人がいいでしょう。これはそうです、時間と共にあなたの好みや興味が変わった時、あなたは新しい音楽を演奏する選択ができます。コーディネーション、パターン、楽譜の解読や聞く能力という基本を学ぶことで、あなたは最終的に、右手や左手が何をしているかではなくその音楽に集中することができます。

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TODD STRAITさんは私が高校と大学時の個人レッスンの先生で、今日の私の演奏の仕方や教え方の基礎を教えて下さいました。彼は素晴らしいです! www.toddstraitdrums.com
私が先ほど”楽譜の解読”について述べたのには以下の理由もあります。とても多くのドラマーが、楽譜を使わないでいいように他の難しいシステムを理解していますが、問題は何かというと、もし楽譜を使わないと、あなたができることには限度ができてしまうのです。いつかあなたが”現実の世界”に出くわして楽譜やリードシートを見なければならない日までずっと、その限度があるのです。

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THE CRUSADERSの曲、STREET LIFEの楽譜2枚目
楽譜を読めないのは、山頂に着いたけれど景色の半分しか見れないようなものです。日々の生活でメールや言葉を読みコミュニケーションをとるのと一緒で、楽譜が読めるとあなたは音楽やミュージシャンともっと影響し合うことができます。

3.練習を心から楽しむ

私が生徒や他の音楽の先生方へ「練習すると何が得られると思う?」と聞いた時、何と答えるかわかりますか。もちろんあなたにはわかりますよね!私達はみんな、最も達成困難で、非現実的、そして誤用されている言葉、そう、「完璧!」と答えるように教えられてきました。ドラムの練習と上達の本当の目的は、ドラムでもっと色んなことが出来るようになる為です。もっと出来ることが増えれば、演奏を楽しみ、面白いことを経験する機会も増えるのです!そうです、練習すれば何を得れますか?FUNです!

もしあなたがこの考え方をドラムの練習時間に対して取り入れたら、もっとリラックスでき、練習したことをもっと記憶でき、もっと練習を楽しめ、そして生活の中で”楽しい要素”を増やすのに役立つことも、もっと知ることが出来るでしょう。あなたは再び練習することにとてもワクワクし、ドラムと触れ合う貴重な時間が本当に楽しみになるでしょう。生徒はよく私にどのくらい練習すれば良いか尋ねます。私の答えは、「どれくらい楽しみたい?」です。私の13歳の生徒の一人、Ian Wacksmanは1日3時間ドラムの練習をします。そして彼は今、彼自身のロックバンドはもちろん、全メンバー大人のジャズコンボやビッグバンドでも演奏しています。彼が楽しんでると思いますか?もちろんでしょう!!!

4. 演奏の経験をたくさん積もう

かつて90年代初頭のレッスンでJeff Hamiltonは私に、「あなたは上手に演奏しているがもっと”経験”が必要。」と言いました。つまり、私は他のミュージシャンと充分に演奏できていなかったのです。私はライブを充分にしていなかったので、ライブをたくさんしているドラマーから聞こえる一貫性が私のプレイにはなかったのです。

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バークリー音楽大学にて1992年頃
私は生徒全員に、教会、学校の吹奏楽やミュージカル劇のクラブなど、演奏できる場所ならどこでもいいので、友達や家族と一緒に演奏するように勧めています。コーディネーションや楽譜の解読のような基本を単独で練習することも大事ですが、あなたのドラムサウンドを時間とともに創造し、そしてスムーズに演奏する為に、外へ出て他の人達と一緒に演奏する必要があるのです。

確かなドラム演奏における2つの最も大事なことは、良いタイミング(テンポをキープする)と気持ち良さ(グルーヴを作り音楽を気持ち良くする)です。この2つともあなたがライブをするにつれて上達します。あなたが楽しめる音楽、また他のどんな音楽でも演奏できる機会の為に、準備しておきましょう。良いタイミングと気持ち良さを得ようと思えば、良い先生の指導を受けて確かなドラムの基礎を習得するという要点に再び戻ります。そうすることで新しい音楽活動の機会をつかむことができます。

5.立派な態度をとる

人は、自分が好きな人達と一緒に仕事をしたいものです。あなたならこう待遇されたいと思う待遇を他の人にもし、リハーサルや本番の時は積極的な自信のある態度をとりましょう。リハーサル、ライブ、レコーディングセッションには時間通りに行き、広い心と意欲を持って他の人達と一緒に仕事をしましょう。覚えておいて下さい、ドラマーとしての仕事の95%は、他のメンバーを気持ち良く演奏させ、素晴らしい音を鳴らすことです。時々ドラムソロや目立つフィル等が残りの5%になりますが、私達ドラマーの仕事の大半は音楽全体の音を素晴らしくすることを対象としています。他のメンバーの音をよく聞いて素晴らしい音を鳴らすことに焦点を当てれば、次々に音は素晴らしくなり、そしてドラマーとしての音楽活動の機会が増えることにもつながるのです!

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THE RANDY ALLEN POWER TRIOのライブにて。ギターRANDY ALLENとキーボードMICHAEL GRANDE。
このブログが、ドラムと音楽におけるあなたの道を見つける為に必要なもののアイディアを、あなたに与えてくれたらと思います。たとえあなたがプロドラマーを目指していないとしても、あなたのゴールは友達との音楽演奏を楽しむことであり、これには5つの要点が適用できます。

もし何か質問や感想があれば、お気軽にvonbaron@vonbaronmusic.comまでご連絡下さい。そしてあなたがドラムを学ぶ為に、既にテストされ成功した楽しい方法を探しているなら、私のインストラクションサイトwww.drumming4life.comをチェックしてみて下さい。最高の一日になりますように!-Von

So last year in September my family and I relocated from Honolulu, HI to Osaka, Japan and that’s why it’s taken me a while to post another blog. Sorry for the delay and thanks for taking the time to read this one!

Since my first trip to Japan to perform at the Imperial Hotel Jazz Festival in 2009, I have felt a longing to return and live here. Now that we have made the move, we are pleased with the quality of life, healthcare, cost-of-living and most of all, the music scene.

Below are gig posters highlighting the wonderfully gifted musicians I have the honor of performing with on a regular basis. Each day, I feel incredibly grateful that the Kansai (Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto) music scene (And recently Hiroshima scene) have welcomed me with open arms and invited me to me be a part of the rich musical tapestry of this great country.

昨年9月に、私は家族と一緒にハワイ州ホノルルから日本の大阪へ転居したので、ブログを更新するのに時間がかかりました。遅くなってすみません、そしてこれを読んでくれてありがとうございます!

2009年、帝国ホテルのインペリアルジャズフェスティバルで演奏する為に初めて日本へ来て以来、私は日本へ戻り暮らしたいという憧れを抱いていました。今や私達は日本で暮らしているので、生活、保険医療、生活費、そして一番は音楽シーンに満足しています。

下に、栄誉ながら定期的に私が一緒に演奏している、素晴らしく才能のあるミュージシャンのライブポスターがあります。

関西(大阪、神戸、京都)の音楽シーン(そして最近は広島)が私を喜んで歓迎してくれ、この素晴らしい国の豊かな音楽コミュニティの一部として私を招いてくれたことに、毎日、非常に感謝しています。

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In my early years of drumming I had the great fortune to work with some incredible drummers who also happened to be great teachers. I have been spending the month of August in Seattle and practicing at The Seattle Drum School owned by Steve Smith (not the one you’re thinking of).

While there, I noticed a bunch of great quotes throughout his school that highlight the teaching philosophy of both himself and his other instructors. Needless to say, I am very impressed with both how wonderful a person he is and the positive vibe in his drumming space.

Here are some photos from my visits. Thanks Steve!

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Need I say more?
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Always striving to be this…
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A bit of political commentary for our not-so-modern times?
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The only true way to sanity!
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Ahhh in a perfect world…
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Amen and watch it grow!
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So the moral of the story is? Go practice 🙂
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Keep pushing toward a better world through music and drumming!
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Simplicity is so beautiful in life and drumming!
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Da MAN Steve Smith (on the left), my wife Satomi (who is also a drummer) and our daughter. What a guy!
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My former student and soon-to-be Berklee grad. Brandon Patrick also came through here along with a great Honolulu drummer Mark Lindberg.
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If you are relaxed and having fun, you will learn a ton and learn it fast!
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One Earth, One People
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Oh YEAH!


 For fun and fabulous online drum lessons please visit my DRUMING4LIFE.COM and have a super day! –Von

 

When I started out playing drums at the later age of 15, I really had no idea what it would take to be a professional drummer but I knew that I wanted to be one.

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Circa 1988. The days of hair.

I had a lot more hair in those days and since then, I have figured out 5 things that directed my path toward becoming a successful professional drummer and I want to share these with you.

1. A deep passion for drumming and all things rhythmic

I think from a young age in the Midwestern US, I really did want to play the drums. I tried violin and saxophone but actually grew to hate both instruments and used the instruments in their cases as sleds during the winter time. I always wanted to be a drummer plain and simple. I thought they were the coolest sounding instrument and just loved rhythm. Starting off as a breakdancer, I think also strengthened my timing and sense of rhythm.

In the beginning, I had a thought that if I wanted to learn drums, I would learn the fastest if I could find someone who would show me how to play.

2. Find a good teacher

I sometimes hear drummers or other musicians say “I was self-taught” or “I learned on my own”  and I really want to say to them, “I’m so sorry to hear that.”  I know it’s a badge of courage in the Music Scouts to learn on your own and it certainly shows a real dedication to your instrument. It is though, a whole lot more difficult than just asking someone who’s already done it, to share with you a tested method to help you play the music you want to play. After all, that’s the point, yes? To play music and have FUN!

I recommend finding a pro drummer who loves to teach.  He or she needs to also have a comprehensive drum method encompassing all of the fundamentals you need to know to play any style of music.  This is so you will have choices to play new music as your tastes interests change over time. The idea is to learn the coordination, patterns, reading and listening abilities that will enable you to ultimately focus on the music and not on what your right hand or left foot are doing.

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Todd Strait was my high school and college private teacher and taught me the foundation and fundamentals for how I play and teach to this day. He is incredible! www.toddstraitdrums.com

I mentioned “reading” above also because so many drummers have figured out these elaborate systems for not using musical notation and the problem with these is that they will only take you so far until someday you will come into contact with the “real world” and you’ll have to look at a music chart or lead sheet.

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Page 2 of Street Life by the Crusaders

Not reading music is like getting to the top of a mountain and only being able to enjoy 1/2 of the view. Just like reading text or words to communicate in your daily life, reading music allows you to interact fully with the music and other musicians.

3. Develop a sincere love for practicing

When I ask my students or even other music teachers, “What does practice make?” you know what they say? Of course you do! We have all been trained to fill in the blank with the most unattainable, unrealistic and misused word in the world of instrument practice and performance, “PERFECT!” The REAL aim of practicing or getting good at drumming is to be able to do more on the drums because the more you can do, the more opportunities you will have to enjoy playing music and have more F-U-N!  So what does practice make? FUN!

If you have this mindset going into your practice sessions, you will be more likely to relax, retain more, enjoy your time and know that every little bit that you do contributes toward your ability to increase the “Fun Factor” in your life.  You’ll be so excited to practice again that you will truly look forward to your sacred time connecting with your drums. Students ask me all time, how much they should practice. My response is, “How much fun do you want to have?” One of my 13 year old students, Ian Wacksman practices 3 hours a day and is now playing with all adult Jazz combos and big bands as well as his own rock band. Think he’s having fun? Heck yeah!!!!

4. Get “mileage” in your playing

In a lesson once in the early 90’s, Jeff Hamilton told me that I was playing good but I needed more “mileage.”  He meant, I wasn’t playing enough with others. I wasn’t gigging enough and didn’t really have a consistency in my playing that you hear in drummers who gig a lot.

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Circa 1992 at Berklee College of Music.

I encourage all of my students to play with friends, family, at their respective houses of worship, in school music and theater programs and anywhere else they can to gain experience performing.  Practicing in isolation is important to work out the nuts and bolts of of things like coordination or reading but you need to play outside of the practice room with other human beings to really develop your voice on the drums and iron out the little wrinkles in your playing.

The two most important qualities in solid drumming are good time (staying in tempo) and good feel (making the groove and music feel good).  Both of these will develop as you play gigs. Be on the lookout for opportunities to play the music you enjoy and also any other music that comes your way. This again comes back to having a solid drumming foundation with the help of your teacher so you can embrace new musical opportunities.

5. Have a good attitude

People like to work with people they like.  Treat others as you would like to be treated and have a positive can-do attitude when rehearsing or performing. Show up on time to your rehearsals, gigs, recording sessions, have an open mind and a willingness to work with others. Remember, as a drummer our job 95% of the time, is to make everyone else feel and sound great.  We occasionally get that 5% to strut our stuff but most of what we do is geared toward making the music sound great. That will in turn make us sound great and lead to more opportunities for musical fun!

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At a gig with the Randy Allen Power Trio. Randy Allen guitar and Michael Grande keyboards.

I hope this blog gives you some ideas about what you will need to find your path in drumming and music. Even if you are not pro drummer bound and your goal is just to enjoy playing music with friends, the 5 Essentials apply.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at vonbaron@vonbaronmusic.com and if you are looking for a FUN, tested and successful method for learning the drums please check out my instruction site www.drumming4life.com. I hope you have a super day! –Von

 

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My drum students are some of the most courageous people I know. As we approach the eve of our Winter drum recitals (Feb. 10th and 11th), 34 of them are preparing to drum from the heart.
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It’s always scary when we do something we have never done before or navigate our boat into personally uncharted waters. I believe it’s even scarier when we really care about and love what we do.
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Even though we may be afraid, it’s almost as if a kind of “Force Awakens” inside telling us, “You need to do this!”
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Each of the 34 students who will perform do so because they care about drumming and their excitement for drumming is greater than their fear of failure.
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This is the call that 34 of my students will heed on Wednesday and Thursday night at 6:30pm at Iolani School. It’s a kind of drumming destiny!
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My students’ drive to learn drums has inspired me immeasurably over the past 15 years. After teaching tens of thousands of drum lessons, they have given ME the courage to take the plunge and expand my teaching online.

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The DRUMMING4LIFE method has worked great with hundreds of students in private lessons over the years.  Now I’m ready to reach many more lives and help turn drumming dreams into realities!
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Thanks so much for reading my blog. Let’s get ready for some drumming FUN! Hope to see you at the recitals!

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Happy 2016 and I hope your year is off to a superb beginning! I was marinating on the concept of Social Media today and had this revelation (I’m sure I’m not the first) that the once widely held premise that everyone person on Earth is separated only by 6 other people might have actually been transformed by Social Media.

As of January 2016, at least 2 billion of us (currently using some form of Social Media), are probably only separated by 3-4 people and this number is likely to drop further as Social Media grows in both use and influence.

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Well that’s a lot of fancy words to say, WE ARE GETTING CONNECTED!  I recently fired up all of my Social Media platforms in hopes of better reaching my fan friends, aspiring drummers, drum hobbyists and appreciators of drumming throughout the world. My hope is that my posts will entertain and inspire you and maybe even get you excited about DRUMMING!

Thanks in advance for the opportunity to connect and please feel free to contact me at any (Or even ALL!) of the profile links below.  Looking forward to seeing you at other Social Media neighborhoods!  I hope you have a wonderful day! –Von

Twitter: @vonbaron

Instagram: Von.Baron

Facebook: Von Baron

Google+: Von Baron

Linkedin: Von Baron

YouTube: Von Baron

 

I hope as you read this, you are having a terrific day wherever you are in the World. In 15 + years of teaching hundreds of drum students, I have learned much about the human spirit and will to persevere.  My drum students inspire me everyday when they show up to drum lessons ready to grow both mentally and physically (drumming is a little bit coordination intensive :)) to levels they previously thought they couldn’t.  It’s kind of like blindly going to do something and not knowing how you’re going to get there other than with the instructor guiding your path.  I have students from all ages and walks of life and they all share a common purpose in taking drum lessons, to have fun playing drums!

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Learn to play drums by clicking on this picture for more information about online drum lessons!

In the past couple of years, I have learned a lot about our brains and how we best acquire new information. It seems the key to learning, is being relaxed and enjoying the experience. I sometimes encounter new students who are nervous at lessons because they are afraid to make mistakes or students who have had past negative music instruction experiences. Whether we set out to learn drums, to drive a car, learn a new math formula or learn how to cook pasta with Alfredo sauce, we will learn it much faster if we are enjoying ourselves. When we are relaxed, all of the learning centers in your brains open up allowing us full access to the the world’s most awesome computing power between our ears.

So how can drumming change your life? I’ll tell you. I have seen my students grow their confidence so much that they overcome enormous personal struggles replacing depression, anxiety and unhappiness with unprecedented joy, confidence and excitement for life. Students, who when they came to me, had a low self-image and didn’t believe in themselves, their ability to play drums or that they could take control of their lives. After about a year of lessons, big things began to shift and they were back in the driver seat of their life calling the shots and heading in a direction that made them happy.

Please know I’m not tooting my horn here or saying that I’m some kind of psychotherapist drum instructor. I don’t think my instruction experience is exclusive as other music instructors have witnessed these same results in their students. What I simply want to share, is that when we provide a learning environment for our students whether we are a music or Math teacher or a driving or cooking instructor, our students will grow at exponential speeds if we are kind, nurturing and supportive of them on their learning journey. If we can provide lots of laughs, smiles, goofy moments and embrace the “perfect” imperfections of  learning, students’ confidence and self-esteem will have a chance to grow. After all, isn’t that why we teach?  That’s why I love it so much!