When I created this website, about two years ago, I didn’t really know what a blog was, why I should create one about percussion and what was the difference between a blog and a traditional website.
Now, after having studied, read and especially tried it myself, I can say I know something more about this topic and I can share some information with those who are interested in the field.
Therefore in this third episode of the series “Percussionist 2.0”, I’ll talk about what a bunch of people like me do around the world. They talk about what they love most: music and percussion instruments, and they do it mainly on their own blogs.
These are my favorite:
I’ll talk briefly about each of these blogs, but first I’ll introduce the concept of blogging, which, as I wrote above, was not clear even to myself until relatively recently.
PREAMBLE: BLOG VS WEBSITE
“Owning a personal website is a must for every serious musician”, I thought. So I engaged some people to make my own website. Result: it was a useless showcase of myself, which was visited, perhaps, by my parents only.
My webmaster had already suggested me to make a blog section on my website and to update it as frequently as possible. Therefore, I thought that including all the news related to my concerts and the milestones I reached during auditions and competitions was also a good idea. Very interesting… yes.
Only recently I understood what having your own blog really means, and I have started exploring this new adventure about a month ago.
To summarize: blogs, an abbreviation of “weblog” (web diaries), are created by individuals or associations interested in sharing information and thoughts regarding a specific topic. They can include texts, images, audios and videos.
What makes a blog different compared to a traditional website? It’s mainly the two-way communication between those who write the blog and those who read it. In other words, the contents of a blog are open to everyone and all those who are interested can comment, resume and discuss about the different topics, in contrast to the information you can find on a classic and static website.
Blogs are often designed like sections of websites. In this way blogs become communication tools which complement the websites themselves. Random example: https://paoloparolini.com/percussionblog/ is a section of https://paoloparolini.com/.
A blog is essentially a group of posts organised in a classical structure of a diary, which is regularly (sometimes daily) updated.
I decided to update my blog once per week, trying to guarantee a good quality of the information I write. At some point I hope I’ll be able to write at least two posts per week, keeping the same quality standards I’m aiming to offer to my readers.
Well, I hope you are now more familiar with the concept of blogging and with the difference between this and a static website. Now let’s have a look to the most interesting blogs for percussionists available on the web.
MICHAEL BETTINE - PERCUSSION DECONSTRUCTION
This is one of the blogs by Michael Bettine, percussionist and drummer specialised in gongs and metallophones, teacher, journalist and writer. Beside this blog, Bettine writes on other two blogs and on his own website too.
I consider Percussiondeconstruction one of Bettine’s most interesting publication, which collects posts since 2011. You can find information regarding great drum and percussion players, didactics, professional advices, studying tips, etc. The update is regular and takes place weekly, which results in about sixty new posts per year. The writing style that Michael manages to keep is what I like the most of this blog: its style is colloquial and uncomplicated despite the topics discussed are sometimes very profound. Michael Bettine’s long carrier as a journalist and writer explains everything.
Rob Knopper is the blog manager and percussionist of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He is therefore a blogger and a successful percussionist, other than being a teacher and the drummer of an alternative country band. All this makes him the quintessence of what I would also like to become at a professional level.
I started following Rob Knopper’s blog only recently and I immediately thought it was just great. I completely agree with everything he wrote so far. I’m referring to his posts about learning, as well as those stories related to his experiences on the stage, or his recording guides and so on. In general, all you could consider a “life of a percussionist”.
Not least are the series of posts related to the production of a DVD where Rob records all the “Douze études for snare drum”, the classic collection of Jacques Delécluse studies, some of which you are often asked to play during orchestral auditions.
One of the latest posts of the 26th of October includes an interview, which Master Delécluse himself gave to Rob. Well, this post is commented by…. Anthony Cirone, another great name of the snare drum. A visit to Rob Knopper’s website at this point is a must.
ANDREW PROCTOR - FREE PERCUSSION LESSONS
I think there is no doubt about what you can expect from a blog having such a cryptical name. Free lessons for percussion instruments, exactly!
There’s something for everyone: orchestral percussion, timpani, mallet percussion, instrument care, sticks reparation etc. Andrew Proctor is the percussionist behind all this content. He’s a freelance artist and teacher since over thirty years.
Every lesson is made of a video and a long and detailed text related to that. It contains really excellent material, which can also be used as a teaching resource by other teachers who normally deal with beginners.
For example, I found a very useful post where Andrew explains in a simple and effective way how to wrap a timpani stick. After all those sticks I consumed by playing and studying, this lesson will give me the chance to regenerate a large number of sticks without spending a fortune. Thank you, Andrew!
DRUMCHATTR AND PERCUSSION EDUCATION
I talk about these two blogs at the same time as they are rather similar and some of their designers are also the same.
Percussioneducation, newborn of 2014, is entirely written by Dave Gerhart who is also one of the founders of Drumchattr, a blog initiated in 2010 by Dave Gerhart himself, Tom Burrit and Shane Griffin. Dave decided to return to the same idea of that first website, rearranging it in a new format and with different contents.
In Percussioneducation, Dave publishes new content 4 times a week: Mondays and Fridays are devoted to the most interesting drummer performances on the web (especially videos on YouTube), every Wednesday he publishes a new video class related to a specific technical side of percussion, whereas on weekends he talks about suggested readings, which every percussionist could be interested in for a reason or another. This last section is the one I love most, even though browsing around old posts I managed to find many other interesting passages.
Drumchattr has instead a slightly different structure, compared to Dave’s blog. Here you can also find a podcast section (I’ll write about this in the last episode of this series), a section related to the development of a professional career and last, a very interesting section, “bookchattr”, which is related to interesting books for percussionists. For example, in the last post of that series you can find some audio and video contents, which integrate Gary Burton’s autobiography. Excellent!
FINAL EPISODE: PODCAST AND LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The series “Percussionist 2.0” will end up with the next post. In this series we spoke about the most interesting technological resources for percussionists. The next post will be about podcast and LMS. I’m particularly interested in this last resource, LMS platforms, as they are really important in the current development of the online didactics. If you don’t want to miss the latest episode, subscribe to my newsletter so you can receive the next posts directly in your mail box (pssst…a free gift is also included)!
If you want to read the previous episodes, be aware that I wrote about the 3 best video on YouTube in the first episode, the 7 most interesting apps for mobile devices in the second episode, and the best websites (blog excluded) in the third.
See you soon!
CALL TO ACTION: today I want to leave you with an “action request”, besides the usual question. The action I want you to perform is… LEAVE A COMMENT ON ONE OF THOSE BLOGS
LEAVE A COMMENT ON ONE OF THOSE BLOGS
You know, writing a blog about percussion is an hobby for most of us, but sometimes is so important to receive even just one comment from our readers. Commenting is the quintessence of blogging and it can be very useful to start significant conversations on percussion topics. And it’s a good reason for us to keep on writing interesting posts for you. So stop for one minute practicing that paradiddle, read one of those blogs and leave a comment. Thank you!
Question: have you ever visited the blogs I’ve talked about in this post? Do you know some other interesting blogs on percussion? Leave a comment.