It amazes me that only a select few musicians actually feel like learning or having extra lessons. Just because I play up and down the country regularly and teach for my day job, it doesn’t mean that I am proficient in everything I do. Let’s not get the wrong end of the stick here, I am confident in my playing and cover almost every genre of music in my teaching. As we all know, there is always something to learn, which can increase your knowledge. I have mentioned in past blogs that taking exams is a part of my drumming career for one simple reason- it keeps me up to date and therefore making me a better teacher and player.
When I found out that Paul Hose at MLC Academy was holding a weekend of drum clinics and master classes in Nottingham, I knew I had to be involved. The classes featured two of New York’s finest drum teachers, Mike Sorrentino and John Favicchia. Unfortunately due to a gig in Stratford Upon Avon, I was unable to attend the drum clinic on the Friday night, but that didn’t damp my enthusiasm for the early start the next day.
The class started at 11am, joining me for the day was a student of mine- Phil Harris, who has recently started teaching. Phil has only ever had me as a teacher and I thought it would be a great experience for him to join me and get involved in the same session.
As with most drum classes, immediately the joking and happy introductions start. Drummers often have this camaraderie between each other and just to prove the point, the first question of the class was, what’s the difference between us all? Of course the answer is nothing, we’re all players that wish to progress in our instrument.
We all introduced ourselves to the tutors explaining, why we were there and what our goals were. This soon starts a conversation about practising and technique. I’m a great lover of technique and feel it’s a big part of what I’m able to play on the kit. I think most people agreed and we were soon looking at 16th Note Elements from John Favicchia’s new book. This really opened my eyes. It’s not a new concept, but it had me excited when I actually heard it adapted to the kit. The rest of lesson was based around questions that the students had and unfortunately it came to very quick end.
After an hour or so for lunch we headed over to the teaching studios for an individual lesson with one of the tutors. I was rather happy that Mike Sorrentino had chosen me. I’d watched him earlier and noticed his incredible technique, whist holding the stick in a traditional style. I have always been interested in other people views about this stick technique, as I have played like this for most of my life. I wasn’t disappointed, he has given me plenty of exercises that will keep me busy for sometime.
This was a fantastic day of education that I am pleased I did not miss. MLC Academy is at the forefront of educating drummers and I’m so glad I have the chance to go there. If you need any further details about MLC Academy by all means drop me a line. Better still, you can check out the website at the bottom of this blog.
Thanks to everybody involved, especially to Paul Hose for making these events happen.
See you next time.