jason cruz

Practising Slowly

This short post is aimed at the beginner student.

Many times in my teaching studio, I come across alot of beginner students who tend to rush through their exercises to get to what they want quickly. They end up not sounding good at all because:

1) the physical control is not there
2) the co-ordination is not smooth
3) the timing is uneven
4) the inherent rhythmic nuances of whatever they are playing are often ignored as they rush through things in their practice.

It is important to understand that we had to learn how to walk first before we could run, jump, and dance, e.t.c. Taking our first baby steps were not easy, and we stumbled on the floor many times before our legs strengthened and could hold our weight whilst performing the action of walking. Over time, the legs were also better able to co-ordinate through SLOW and REPETITIVE practice.

Practising something slowly and repeating it over and over again will definitely come across as “uncool” in this day and age. We live in a world where we can order food and get it in less than 5 minutes over a counter, or we can lose weight in under 2 weeks if we follow a certain diet program or take certain pills. This type of thinking however does not translate to learning musical instruments or any other art form.

SLOW and REPETITIVE practice, done right (you should ask your teacher to help you with it if need be), brings a zen-like focus and clarity to what you are working on, and is often very therapeutic. Yes, therapeutic. It helps you to relax and remain calm under moments of pressure and frustration, which are what you will often experience when you are trying to master something. Calmness and composure are very much needed to play the drumkit. How else can you play something as complex as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCOP7dPlDtw if you are not truly relaxed?

With SLOW and REPETITIVE practice, comes CONTROL. With CONTROL, comes speed. In other words, speed is a by-product of having practised something over and over again slowly…Counter-intuitive, yes?

SLOW and REPETITIVE practice at the beginning is like trying to eat a non-favourite vegetable or fruit (mine happens to be Bittergourd), in all honesty. Do it in small amounts with high frequency however and you will definitely begin to enjoy the process. You would want to do more. JUST GIVE IT A TRY AND SEE YOUR PROGRESS BY A MONTH’S END. There will certainly be a difference. A POSITIVE difference.

Drum Lessons by Jason Cruz – Summary Info

UPDATE (9th July 2020):

Home visit and studio lessons have resumed. In Singapore only. Email or text for enquiries!

Dear Reader,

If you are coming to this page to find out more about my drum lessons, I have summarized the information for my drum lessons for your convenience, and will link this post to other posts under the Drum Lessons section of this blog that will give you more details into the course structure of my lessons, as well as my teaching background and philosophy.

Professional Status: Private Drumset Coach and Freelance Performing Musician

No. of Years of Teaching Experience: 11 years

Past Schools Taught In: Yamaha Music School, Ossia Music School, and Rhythm House

I am well versed in the following musical styles: Rock, Pop, Jazz, Funk, R&B/Soul, Traditional and Contemporary Blues, Fusion, Latin, Reggae, Country

Certification: Trinity/Guildhall Drumkit Grade 8

Current Teaching Location: Either at your home or at Bozzworkz Studio c/o Parklane Shopping Mall (near School of The Arts, POMO Shopping Centre, Cathay Building, Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, Bras Besah MRT Station, Bencoolen MRT Station)

Contact Information: 98291901 (SMS or Whatsapp) treshombres6@gmail.com (email)

Rates:

Coming to studio:

$60/- for a ONE TO ONE 60 minute lesson

$50/- for a ONE TO ONE 45 minute lesson

$55/- per person for a PAIR lesson (60 minutes only)

$30/- for a trial ONE TO ONE lesson (45 minutes to 60 minutes)

$25/- per person for a trial PAIR lesson (60 minutes only)

Going to home:

$70/- for a ONE TO ONE 60 minute lesson at your home

$60/- for a ONE to ONE 45 minute lesson at your home.

$65/- per person for a PAIR lesson (60 minutes only) for home visit

$35/-  for a trial ONE TO ONE lesson (60 minutes) for home visit.

$30/- per person for a trial PAIR lesson (60 minutes) for home visit.

For lessons in homes in Sentosa:

$250/- for a ONE TO ONE 60 minute lesson

$135/- per person for a PAIR lesson (60 minutes)

$125/- for a ONE TO ONE trial lesson (60 minutes)

$100/- per person for a PAIR trial lesson (60 minutes)

Details of my course structure and teaching philosophy: https://jasoncruzdrums.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/one-to-one-drumset-lessons-provided-by-jason/

Frequently Asked Questions By Customers and Students: https://jasoncruzdrums.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/frequently-asked-questions-before-a-students-first-lesson-with-me/

Student Testimonials:

https://jasoncruzdrums.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/student-testimonial-benjamin-ng/

https://jasoncruzdrums.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/a-very-encouraging-message-from-a-great-drum-student/

Grade 5 Certificate for Student, Daniel Sukartio. Awarded Distinction: Daniel Grade 5 Certificate

Testimonial from Court Williams:

2015-07-01 21.47.30

Gabriel Liew, awarded Distinction in Grade 7 Trinity/Guildhall’s Drumset Exam.

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A message from Ben Lee:

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From Paul:

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Student Testimonial – Benjamin Ng

Hi all,

Here’s another heartwarming and encouraging testimonial I got from Benjamin, who’s been learning drums for about a year now.

” I would say that drum lessons with Jason was never really just about learning a music instrument. Over the past 1 year, besides just learning a basic drum groove, I have learnt music appreciation, music history and the things you can achieve with passion and hard work.

I have always enjoyed the rich history of music and drumming that Jason is able to explain to make music applicable. Most of time with these understanding, you get soak into the music better and will understand why and how the technical skills needed to be applied for you to groove better. Jason can be quite straightforward about practising, and that part may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But to be fair we all know that hard work plays a huge part in success.

Lastly, Jason’s passion for drums and music is so contagious that makes you want to learn more and find out more. He also consistently advocating that if it is achievable for him so can YOU!”

I wish him all the very best in his life’s endeavours and I also congratulate him on getting married.

Playing At The Esplanade Concourse On 1st July 2014

Dear all,

Hope your Monday wasn’t so blue..

Just a heads up that I got a last minute call today to stand-in for another drummer who unfortunately hurt his back at the Esplanade Concourse, tomorrow, for 2 sets of Modern Jazz music. The repertoire includes tunes from Pat Metheny, Gretchen Parlato, and a couple of SIngaporean originals written by vocalist, Huimin Lim, and guitarist, Alvin Wong.

The first set kicks off at 7.15pm and the 2nd set at 8.15pm. Hope to see some of you there!!

DRUM TALK TV Interview with SOULTONE CYMBALS’ IKY LEVY

http://drumtalktv.com/portfolio/soultone-cymbals/

Holla ,dear amigos! Just thought I’d share this interview whilst I enjoy my cup of morning coffee.

Anybody here plays Soultone cymbals? Would you like to share your experience playing them? I will be posting a review of my Soultone cymbal collection soon, so stay tuned..

UPDATE: BLACK MONOLITH RECORDING PROJECT

Hi all,

Original Post: https://jasoncruzdrums.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/new-studio-recording-project-the-black-monolithth/

Thanks so much once again for stopping by to read my blog.

It gives me great pleasure to report that rehearsals for the Black Monolith recording project have been going great. We have a solid power trio lineup going, the songs are well arranged, and it’s all just going to kick ass. I’m also grateful for the amount of creative space I’m given to stretch out on my chops within the songs and I’m taking every step to ensure that every note I play on the album has a strong reason to be there. I’m also putting in more thought into the construction of my fills – something which is heavily inspired by Neil Peart – than I normally would.

This is going to be an exciting rock album made in Singapore! More details to come!

Wise Words From Vinnie Colaiuta On Developing Practice Regimens

“GC: Do you have any thoughts on a practice regiment and is it important for every drummer at some stage to practice like crazy?

Vinnie: I think that if it’s important for every drummer to have an iron clad rule at some point in his life and to practice like crazy, if we understand what “like crazy” means, I would say no. Sometimes you can get into a neurotic obsessive thing about it just because you think you have to do it rather than wanting to do it and you worry about getting to a certain level and that’s your motivating factor. Some people may argue and say what difference is your motivating factor as long as you get results. I would argue that what you’re doing when you’re in that mind set is: you’re not relaxed, you’re worried, you’re doing it for the wrong reason and you could sit there and continually repeat the wrong things and do something the wrong way for nine hours.

I think it’s just better to know that there are certain things that are beneficial to you to have certain skills developed and that it is a process. Enjoy the process and realize that if you have good form and you’re not doing anything really physiologically twisted, the way you do something technically should service your concept. Not the other way around. It should service your concept and so you should strive to conceptually understand why you’re doing something on the instrument and have your technique develop around that . Otherwise, quantitative skills are a measurable amount of speed and flexibility to an extent after which doesn’t serve a pragmatic purpose in situations. It could be a point of diminishing returns. But concept and certain things like developing a good innate sense of time, internalizing time, having good form on the instrument, having a specific kind of touch, and doing things repetitively over a time-event oriented process, you physically become physiologically comfortable with the instrument.

I think the battle is getting as good as we can as fast as we can and comparing ourselves unfavorably for the wrong reason as opposed to knowing what it is we want to do, what it is we need to do individually, and what our objective is in the musical collective.”

(Source: http://gc.guitarcenter.com/interview/colaiuta/)

Wise Words From Alex Van Halen

“Be flexible. Your time will come. If you’re really a musician, you will have your whole life in front of you to get your sound. And I think part of the fun is that whatever it is you’re reaching for, it’s always just a little bit out of reach. This not only provides the motivation, but it keeps the dream alive. If everything was perfect, what would you do?”

(Source: Modern Drummer Magazine, July 1993)

Wise Words From Elvin Jones…

 “.., a drummer can make or break a rhythm section in two seconds if he allows his ego to get the upper hand—it’s very easy, no problem at all. In one stroke, you might say, he can absolutely destroy the continuity.

“It is the duty of the drummer, I think, to take a rhythm section for what it is and not something he imagines it to be—it’s easy to destroy the simplicity of it. Rhythm is a very fundamental part of any kind of music, no matter how complex or simple it is. I think it is very simple, but then that can be a problem because it is so simple. We have to put a direction to the creative qualities we have. In a way it might seem simple, but it can be very demanding to suppress at some point the desire to go off on a tangent.”

Elvin Jones, Downbeat Magazine, 1977.