Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Heel Up and Heel Down Techniques

This is an article that gives clarity on the most common foot techniques used while playing the drums - these are the Heel Up & the Heel Down techniques.

Different tools for different jobs

An important concept to grasp from the outset is that these foot positions are used to achieve different things.

  • Heel-down technique is used to play at low to medium volumes.
  • Heel-up technique is used for medium to loud volumes and for accessing multiple stroke techniques.

Heel-down foot technique is ideal for playing at low to medium volumes. The stroke is a result of the calve muscle engaging a flexion at the ankle joint. Make sure you keep your foot in contact with the foot board throughout the motion. Remember that this technique is not for playing loud.

Heel-up technique engages the weight of the entire leg to facilitate the stroke. It uses ankle and hip flexion in the movement and works best with the heels only a few inches off the floor. 

This technique also allows you to access multiple stroke technique such as the step-slide technique and the heel-toe technique. Good foot technique often facilitates improve balance and centering and can dramatically improve your groove playing. 

Work on exercises to improve foot technique in both heel-down and heel-up positions. Remember the limitations of each position and don’t waste your practice time trying to make one position do things it will be able to do.

BlueTimbre is a Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

How to Sing Efficiently

All of us have a singing voice, but not everyone has developed proper vocal techniques in order to be sure where to find or how to use that voice. Not convinced? Head out to a Karaoke Bar one evening. Chances are you’ll witness a variety of passionate singers out there. All of them showing their confidence and courage to express themselves publicly.

But let’s be honest, some are less pleasing to the ear than others, and we love them anyways! The point is, that there are also many naturally good singers as well. Even these with proper training could very easily, not only raise their level, but also reduce the amount of effort involved in sounding great. So here are 3 points that we know will help you sing more efficiently.

#1 Posture

Perhaps there’s another secret as to why your mother constantly reminded you to stand up straight. The truth is..it makes you a better singer. How? It’s vitally important to align your body parts and prepare them to support your sound, while eliminating tension. Tension not only makes you feel uncomfortable and affects your mood, but can greatly restrict air flow, making singing a chore rather than pure enjoyment.

Exercise: Find a wall and stand with your back to it. Place your head to the wall so that your chin is parallel to the floor. Open your shoulders and roll them back to the wall. Without allowing your spine to touch, slowly move your back towards the wall to straighten. Arms to your sides. Feet shoulder width apart, find your balance. Try to relax. The only tension you create should be in your abdominal muscles that are supporting your singing. It is more effective if you do this in front of a mirror. This can especially help you to visualize your stance after you see and feel proper posture.

#2 Breathing

Try holding your breath and singing or even speaking. You get the point right? Clearly, air is a major component to singing. When singing a melody, the words are expressed quite differently than if you were to simply recite the sentences aloud. The volume, the pitch, the tone and the tempo can have you gasping for air before you know it.

Learning and mastering proper breathing is one of the keys to instantly improving your ability to sing. Unless we are exercising, normally our breathing is quite shallow. As we begin training our body to sing, we need to take deeper breaths in order to sustain our sound loud and clear for our listening audience. At first you may even feel a rush of dizziness as the deeper you breath, the more oxygen that gets to your brain. But don’t stress it! Your body just needs to get used to proper and more efficient breathing.

#3 Healthy Habits

Simple healthy habits can often be the most beneficial for your vocal health. It doesn’t matter if you meet a heavy metal singer, pop singer, or an opera singer. You can bet any one of these true professionals can appreciate the abundance of good ole H2O. It’ll always be within arms reach whether they are in the studio, rehearsal, or on stage. Some prefer drinking warm water, claiming that it better refreshes your throat. Others swear that ice cold water can aid in keeping swelling down, especially after a killer belting performance. Regardless of your preference. Just drink lots of it! 

Avoid dairy products, oily foods and extremely cold items for at least three days before a gig/show to keep your voice in the best shape. 

Keep these three points in mind for a healthy and efficient singing experience. 

BlueTimbre is a Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

6 Tips for Effective Drum Practice

As teachers, we often find that although students say that they are practicing regularly, it doesn't reflect in class. It is because sadly most people do not know how to practice. 

Some of reason lies in the fact that there is too much information online and that can confuse students. So in this article, we want to share with you our top 6 tips for practicing the drums:

1. Always Go Into A Practice Routine With A Plan
Before you sit down at your drums, plan out exactly what you are going to do. If you want to just play around for a bit, then at least plan that (not what you’re going to do, but the fact that you’re just going to experiment for awhile). The point of this isn’t to make your practice routine ultra rigid, and you can still be spontaneous if you’re feeling inspired, but you need to be more intentional with what you want to accomplish with your time spent behind the kit.

2. Pay attention to posture 
Good posture is critical when practicing drums. That’s because posture plays an essential role in building physical habits, which can make or break your ability to play by affecting your speed, control, power, and overall technique. Since the body posture you adopt when practicing will become  like second nature over time, you need to pay attention to your posture from the very beginning. In addition, specialists advise drummers to warm up their muscles before a drum practice session if they want to gain speed and endurance.

3. Use a metronome
Since a metronome emphasizes rhythm problems, using this tool may be discouraging, especially in the beginning. However, it’s the only way to improve your timing and help you stay in control of your playing. If you continue to practice with a metronome, you’ll be able to develop a solid groove and play the drums like a pro.

4. Have A Balance Of Technique And Musicality Practicing technique won’t make you a better musician. Playing music will make you a better musician. Technique is easy and fun to practice because it’s quantifiable, but it’s not the end all be all with drumming. No musical director cares how fast you can play, or how good your medium full stroke roll is. So try to balance your practice between technique and musicality.

5. Practice Drums Every Day
Whether you are active listening to music, tapping on your legs, or just playing on the practice pad – do something every day. Even if it’s just 10 minutes each time, it’s better than nothing. There are no excuses for not practicing. Don’t get into the mindset that the ‘stars have to be aligned’ for you to practice on the kit. Just do something.

6. Have Fun
Practicing with attention is very important, but don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it! Play what you love to play and practice exactly what you want to practice. This way, you’ll learn new techniques, develop excellent drumming skills, and become a pro without even realizing it.

Drums is a fantastic instrument and is a great way to express yourself. We hope these tips will help you play your music, your way and help you get the best out of your practice sessions.

BlueTimbre is a Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Connecting Melody Line and Rhythm Chords

What is the relationship between the melody line and the rhythm chords?

Mix It Up

Don't just use chord tones (meaning, notes that are in the chord you're playing at the moment) and don't just use non-chord tones. Non-chord tones will give your melody a sense of momentum and tension, while chord tones will give your melody a sense of stability and release. Of the chord tones, roots and fifths have the most stability, while thirds and sevenths strike a nice balance. 
Too much of either is no good: too much tension and momentum, and you run the risk of your melody running out of control, which ultimately feels chaotic. Too much stability, and your melody will sound dull and boring.

Voice Leading

This basically means that your melody shouldn't jump around too much---a few big intervals are fine and can be really dramatic, but most of the time, your melody should stick to stringing together notes that are near each other. Otherwise it's hard for the listener's ear to keep up.
For example, say you're playing the A-D-E chord progression you mentioned. C# is the third of the A chord, and D is the root of the D chord (obviously). So a melody that plays the C# and then the D is employing voice leading.

Choosing Chords

So you have the opposite challenge: to pick chords to fit a melody. As before, there's no one right way to go about this, but again, here are some guidelines:
  • Identify the notes in the melody that feel more stable as opposed to those that feel as though they have momentum and movement and use those to help inform your chord choices.
  • Identify the few notes with the most drama. These probably shouldn't be chord tones, but might resolve to chord tones.
  • Chord progressions have their own momentum and stability. I chords are stable; V chords have momentum. You resolve a V (or V7) chord to its corresponding I chord. Unless you absolutely know what you're doing, make sure your V chords resolve or the song will leave your listeners feeling unsettled.

Example: "Eleanor Rigby"

"Eleanor Rigby"---"Rig" and "by" are both chord tones, and the melody lands on "by" like a rock. That note is the root of the chord, and it provides a lot of stability for the melody, which is good because the next line is...
"Picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been"---"Rice" and "church" aren't chord tones, and they have a lot of momentum. This line is almost like a roller coaster: "Picks up the" is the initial ascent, followed by a briefly held point of tension on "rice", then a quick fall, a quick rise, and then another briefly held point of tension on "church", another fall, etc. It ends on "been", which is a chord tone for the next chord (the IV chord). Stability and release after the tension and drama of the roller coaster. Paul knew what he was doing.


These are only techniques and ideas on how you could come up with fitting tunes and chords. However, ultimately you need to be happy with the music created - simple or complex. 

BlueTimbre is a Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

How Children Benefit from Music Education in Schools

Research tells us children who play music do better in school and in life. Yet, there is so much debate about whether arts should be included in schools. The arts in education campaign has been ongoing for some years now and will always be a controversial topic for many. Should we or should we not provide our students with an opportunity to explore the arts in school? Should we include the arts in the school day or make them extracurricular? Should we incorporate arts education lessons and activities in the general classroom? Will the arts have a great effect on academic excellence? 

These are all questions that have crossed several great minds in the past, but the real question I have is, "why the controversy?" After all of the scientific research that has been collected, is it not proof enough that the arts and music in the classroom has a tremendous effect on world-wide academic achievement and cultural value?

Here is a list of the 5 most important reasons why music education is so beneficial to our students:

  1. A Music Education program provides an aesthetic experience for its students. Often times, students will utilize music as an outlet for expression that is sometimes unavailable to them in other academic areas.
  2. Musical experiences will provide the students with opportunities for emotional response, which often encourages the cognitive processes.
  3. Music Education instills “life values" in students. Some of these include; discipline, cooperation, social skills, and building good character. Knowledge of music technology, music history, music theory, and music culture will reinforce knowledge in other academic subjects as well.
  4. Music will often create a sense of school spirit, which will in turn provide the students with a sense of self-worth which will almost always reflect a positive attitude.
  5. A good Music program will aid any school district in the direction to obtain the highest level of achievement and excellence deemed possible.

So don't compromise, ensure your child has access to quality Music Education in school. Ensure you child is learning music correctly - learning the language of music, reading and writing music, techniques of the instrument chosen and finally the ability to perform using the skills learnt in the music class.

BlueTimbre is a Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

More Essential Drum Rudiments

Drum Rudiments are the most important aspect to learning drumming. They are the building blocks to every drum beat, pattern, fill, and solo. They are the fundamentals to all percussion, and should not be ignored. A drummer should know all of the key drum rudiments, and be able to perform them without hesitation. Without the practice of these, you are limiting your skills and opportunity as a drummer. Let’s break this down a bit, and look at why drum rudiments are so important to practice.

What Is A Drum Rudiment?

A drum rudiment is basically a sticking pattern. Every sticking pattern you play on the drum set is derived from different drum rudimentsDrum rudiments are basic drum patterns, used as practice exercises. They are basically the foundation of drumming, or the basics of stick control, and wrist movement. There are many different rudiments out there. You may hear some people talking about the 40 essential drum rudiments. This may seem like a lot however, most of these are just variations of each other. Drum rudiments should be practiced on a practice pad or a snare drum. They simply help train your fingers and wrists with speed, power, control, as well as independence. . Most are very common patterns that you are well aware of like the single stroke roll, double stroke roll, and flam stroke. Some are more complex and difficult to play.

Why Are Drum Rudiments Important?

Practicing your drum rudiments as a drummer is a lot like going to the gym as a professional athlete. The same is for a drummer – we must train our muscles to hit harder, more accurate, and faster. This is where drum rudiments come into play. They force us to do nothing else but practice stick movement. A lot of times drummers will get side tracked on a drum kit and lose out on valuable practice time. Going through the basic exercises will drastically improve your skills on the drum set; allowing you to roll a lot faster, and giving you more options on the drum set.

Pros and Cons of Practicing Rudiments

To be honest, there are not a lot of cons to practicing these drum rudiments. As a drummer, you should be practicing these drum rudiments more often then you practice on a drum set. You can never go wrong by practicing your essential drum rudiments. The good thing about these is it will force you to go back to the core of drumming. It is easy to get distracted with the drums in front of you, but when you are using a practice pad working on your rudiments, you do not have that option. However, that could also be a problem. Some may get used to the practice pad, and find it hard to transfer back to the drum set. Another problem with rudimental practice is it does not work on creativity, and independence on the drum set. Being limited to a single pad, you are unable to hear the different drum voices, thus hindering your creative edge.


Practicing these drum rudiments are very important. The best way to practice these is to take a pair of drum sticks, a metronome, and a practice pad and start playing. Make sure you are playing with a metronome to keep yourself on time. If you do not know where to start, here is a list of the top 5 rudiments you should start with: the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll, the flam stroke, the paradiddle, and the double paradiddle. These are the top 5 rudiments you should start with, as each one will teach you speed, control, independence and endurance on your sticks. Make sure you read up on these essential practice tips before you begin playing these rudiments; it will help you out a lot! 

Here are some of the more drum rudiments divided by ease of playing:

Most of the drum rudiments are variations of each other, meaning it is not too hard to learn all 40 rudiments. For example, if you can play a flam stroke, and a paradiddle pattern, you should have no trouble playing the flam paradiddle. In any case take the time to go over each one if you can. 

BlueTimbre is a Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.

Source: http://vicfirth.com/40-essential-rudiments/

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

6 Ways to Change Chords Easily

For most beginner guitar players all they want to do is to play an easy song. To do this you need a couple of things:
A guitar, some chords, a strumming pattern and a smooth chord transition. The latter can be the tricky part.
Changing chords while maintaining a steady rhythm pattern is the biggest challenge on the path of the beginner guitar player. It’s often a struggle and hard work to make the chord transition sound good. It almost feels like it’s something that can not be done, but nothing could be further from the truth. 
Here are some tips to help get you started:
1. Work on chords first
Before you start changing chords, first focus on perfecting your chords and chord movement.
– Learn the 8 most important chords for beginners (C, A, G, E, D, Em, Am, Dm)
– Work on each chord separately.
– Visualize the shape of the chord.
– Place your fingers in the shape of the chord and try to move all your fingers simultaneously.
– Land all your fingers on the strings at the same time (press with the very tips of your fingers).
– Remove your hands from the strings and repeat the exercise 10 times.
– Try it with a different chord each time.

2. Make use of pivot fingers
When you want to switch between two chords there is often one finger that both chords have in common. This finger can be left on the same string and fret. It doesn’t need to leave the string when you’re moving to the next chord. This is what we call the pivot finger. It will give you support while you move your other fingers around it and into the right position of the next chord.
If you go from “C” to “Am” you can see there are two fingers that won’t have to leave the strings. You only have to move one finger.
3. Train your muscle memory.
This is a great exercise. Play a chord and strum it once. Lift your fingers off the strings while keeping the shape of the chord. Now place your fingers back on the strings and strum it again. Take them off again… and put them back on. Practice this for two minutes. Try it with a different chord.
4. Basic strumming pattern
Once you’ve practice your chords thoroughly and you can place your fingers on the strings almost simultaneously, it’s time to add a basic strumming pattern.
Start with the following basic strumming pattern and play it slowly:
C chord: down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up
Am chord: down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up
C chord: down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up
Am chord: down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up
Play a C chord and add the strumming pattern above. Now on the last up-stroke of your strumming pattern (see the last underlined “up”) only lift the fingers that you need to move for the next chord off the strings. Here’s where make the chord transition. Try not to overemphasize this last up-stroke so you can make a smooth transition to the next chord.
Make sure your fingers are back on the strings on the first down-stroke of your next chord. Now repeat the strumming patten on the Am chord. Again lift your fingers on the last up-stroke when you make the switch to the next chord.
Keep your strumming pattern at a steady but slow tempo all the way through.
Once you feel comfortable playing this chord transition try a more challenging one, like “C” to “Em” or “D” to “G”. The same principles applies to all chord changes. Practice switching chords for a few minutes and multiple times a day.
You can also try a more complicated strumming pattern when you’re up for it. Start slow at all times. Do not rush, You want to keep observing your fingers while you’re making the switch from one chord to another so you can learn from it and improve where possible.
5. Keep the rhythm going
The moment you want to switch chords during your strumming pattern your right hand probably stops, because your left hand can’t keep up yet and needs time to make the switch. This is something you have to practice.
You have to keep your strumming pattern at a slow and steady pace and force your fingers of the other hand to make the switch to the next chord while you keep the rhythm going at steady pace. Don’t stop the strumming. You have to train yourself to do both actions (strumming and switching) simultaneously.
Again play slow so you have time to think about what you’re doing. If you’re going to fast you can’t make it work. Speed comes later.
6. Practice daily
Repetition is the key to improvement. Practice daily and with focus. Be patient, it takes some time to get this under your fingers but you will get there definitely. Just keep at it. It will be the best thing ever.
A smooth transition of changing chords is something that does take time and effort, but with the right tips and tricks you will get there a lot faster and make it work as it should.
BlueTimbre is a Music hub with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio located in India. BlueTimbre provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. BlueTimbre management team comes with a decades of cumulative experience in running structured businesses, music curriculum development, music education and performance.