Living It Up

I’ve been…

..full out this week, of which, has left me with a sore throat and a illness hangover. But, that’s not stopping me from getting out there and dirty.

!Make well calculated rest and keep on the grind!

There’s been a fair amount of tension this week, probably to do with the colder weather but also it’s nearing the time of exams. And now matter what anybody says, that causes some form of stress. It’s interesting to see this from a learnt perspective, or in your language, seeing how you once dealt with stress and how you cope better now. You’re able to take people’s comments or actions with a pinch of salt, at the end of the day, how people behave around you isn’t going to affect your life, enabling you to live your life positively positive!! I think that is important. But also to make people aware with just a few carefully chosen words here or there, those words at some point come back when a person comes to realise truth.

On other news…

..progress is being made! I’ve now got a logo, I won’t be sharing it yet until my promotion page is ready! I can’t wait to share it. It’s important, I think, to do something and have something about yourself and business that makes you a little bit more distinctive. I mean it’s how you do it and not what you do. Making limitations can be a wonderful tool.

I

just back from London today. I stayed with some family members, it’s really important as a musician to take some time out and spend it with your loved ones when you can. On another note, I had a crazy time. I had never been to Soho before. If you’ve not been. GO. It is jam packed with life and plenty of gigs. Check out –> YPlan <– if you’ve not already! It has events listed in London everyday. I went to see Alex Wilson & Nolita Golding Latin Soul Night at the Pizza Express Jazz Cafe. The percussionist playing mentioned it so I went to see him. I mean you can’t go wrong with pizza and live music! Especially when you conveniently have this spot ūüėČ IMG_2796

Then I went full out and saw Havana D’Primera. Check them out. They’re from Cuba and their music has caused a storm everywhere. That went on until 3.30am this morning, it was worth every penny.

 

Song of the week

Here it is! Havana D’Primera. One of my favourite tunes from their album.

Passporte – Havana D’Primera

#BlogNo.7

 

Living It Up

The modern time keeper. What goes on underneath?

This week I’m back at home, so I’m particularly busy at the moment which is why I’m posting a few days early than the usual slot.

I’m currently performing a brand new theatre production called Murder Ballad. We are the FIRST group outside of the West End to have the opportunity to play this. Times like this as a musician, is what I and we all in the community really live for and when I say community, I mean everybody whether you have an interest in music or not (I’m there isn’t one person who doesn’t like music) I’m aware that the last blog was a little too much about myself and not about involving you guys reading my blogs. More on this below!!

So, today I wanted to share some thoughts behind what goes on in the depths of a drummer’ mind. Murder Ballad isn’t what you would call a technically challenging show, the parts are relatively simplistic. However, where most people fall, musician and non-musician alike, is the complexity behind the music. This week, it’s not just what I’ve learned but this blog, and thereafter, is trying to portray an understanding of music from how a musician sees it, without getting too technical.

We are a four-piece band and first of all, nobody is marking a formal assessment on what we are playing. As long as we are making the audience feel good and enjoy the show, that is the main outcome. As a drummer, I personally subdivide each sound I play in order to achieve a certain feel, or what makes somebody listening feel on an emotional level. Take David Bowie’s song Young Americans (Young Americans – David Bowie) Listen to the drums, particularly the kick drum and snare drum, the gap between beats 1 and 3 is where I would be hearing and feeling an underlying rhythm. If I want you to feel relaxed and in the music, I’ll be a little behind beats 1 and 3, or if I’m after energy, I’ll be bang on beats 1 and 3.

Going back to the four-piece band scenario, this means we have to be locked into each other and the internal metronome i.e. how we each feel the pulse, for this show, it is 1000% important (no error on the 1000% fyi) as each song runs into the next and each song’ tempo can be very drastic. At some points, we’ll be playing 77bpm then go straight into 161bpm (Beats Per Minute). This is by far, one of the most challenging aspects of music by far. The more one understands, the more one appreciates and enjoys the music with more meaning!

We want to provide the best sound possible. It’s having the positive energy to give to others, to put your time and expertise before yourself. I always try to make sure the others in the band are feeling good and if not, I try to help them as much as possible and if not, then that’s the time I focus on myself and challenge myself to sound the best I can.

In life, generally speaking, it’s really important to help others first whilst making an authoritative stance. The people who are most successful, have this authoritativeness yet they have a yielding understanding and compassion towards others. If you can tap into that, then for sure you’ll have a deeper level of understanding for what it is you’re focusing on and have a deeper level of satisfaction.

Bottom line

The take home message today.

Be a positive influence, whilst being authoritative and compassionate towards others. 

Instead of Songs of the week, I wanted to share this podcast I listened to (below) today. Do something different today and take some time to listen and be inspired! ūüôā

If you’re interested, follow the link to the website¬†here¬†and search for podcasts (there’s an option to subscribe too)

See you all next week! Have a great one.

#BlogNo. 6

The modern time keeper. What goes on underneath?

Goals, Ambition, Drive.

Expect the unexpected

Recently, I’ve been visualising my dreams. Not intentionally, but out of pure self-driven ambition. With hard work, I know I’ll be able to make those dreams into reality. Usually, it’s not healthy to imagine what could be, because we truly don’t know what’s around the corner. That’s what makes being a freelance musician so exciting though.

Where do I want to be and who?!

Currently, I’m striving not only to be the best I can be at drumming and world percussion; but also striving to project my ideas and concepts into an educational book as well as teaching! I think it’s so important to pass on ideas to those learning, which is anybody really!! This will take time, but that doesn’t matter.¬†I’m here for the long run.¬†

This past week has been a week of feel good. I’m on top of my projects for college, this goes from arranging and composing to preparing my pieces for the final final recital! As well as projects that will put me in the best position possible, before I leave and thereafter. As well as feeling good; this week has been a realisation, not for me per se, but for others around me, now I can see what is ahead of me more clearly. In a music specialist conservatoire of music, it’s expected that we hone in on our craft on a daily basis. It’s not just about that though, in such a specialist place, it’s easy to forget that there is the world surrounding you.

Goal 1

Learn as many tunes as possible. Everyday, I will learn at least one song, know the chords, form and melody. Practising for amazing technique is one thing, but that’s not going to help you when you don’t know a tune/song in a live situation. I had a jam session on Monday and……yeah…..I need to know my forms. It felt like just about everything that could go wrong, did. If I’d known the tune, I probably would have been in better stead. Not only is this my new goal for jazz, but for world music, primarily Cuban as the music spreads throughout Spain, Africa, South America, so there is a lot of music language to cover!

Goal 2

Hone in on Jazz vibes. I have this urge, hunger to really delve into jazz harmony, primarily. Now I’ve come to the stage where I now need to master typical chord progressions, change from one chord/scale to another bar by bar, beat by beat etc as well as chord voicing and applying what I know already to jazz standards. That may sound a lot, but from the skills I’ve developed already, I know this is just a few little steps with a few bigger steps i.e. short and long-term goals.

Goal 3

Project my ideas to the world. I’ve touched on this briefly already. It’s fair to say that nobody what anybody else thinks, I will be perfecting my concepts, ready to put out there. It’s time now to, put it all into order and ask those who I know will be able to help me in one way or another.

Song of the week

I wanted to have only one song this week. This is sooooo groovy! This is a Cuban dance known as Chachacha – Enjoy!!

Orquesta Aragon – No me molesto

#BlogNo.5

Final words of Wisdom

Now let us play hide and seek. Should you hide in my heart it would not be difficult to find you. But should you hide behind your own shell, then it would be useless for anyone to seek you.

Kahil Gibran

Goals, Ambition, Drive.

Change

This week, today, I was inspired to write about¬†CHANGE.¬†A good friend of mine, this morning, wrote to me about how he was feeling. I won’t be specific, but it was on the basis of negative thinking. Negative thinking is a result from how we feel.

I made one decision…

and that decision, was to acknowledge how I felt and how I react in certain situations I’m not comfortable with. I’m naturally quite an anxious person, but catching that feeling in those first few crucial seconds, seeing it for how it is, made me content with not only the feeling, but with who I am.¬†The second we detach our feelings from our mind, the more we are not able to take the step into¬†our relationship with our body. Not changing the way we feel, but the¬†relationship.¬†

We as humans in the current era with live in, tend to guard our feelings and guard going back to a way we felt in the past. With any feeling, hiding or putting it under the blanket is only going to enhance that feeling. It’s a natural process to feel emotion, in order to improve in anything, you must change the¬†I Want,¬†into¬†I Will¬†or¬†I Must, with a positive mindset towards this change.

When You Wake Up

When people wake up with a negative mindset, you will¬†feel the way you had thought. Usually, before I sleep, I will take 30 seconds to go through my day from the moment I wake the the present. One day I thought, ‘Why do I create this mindset every morning’. From then on, I would acknowledge any thought with no pre-emptied thoughts about those thoughts, and soon enough, fewer and fewer of traits that I had decreased and allowed me to have a positive outlook.

The featured image

This is where I usually do calisthenics, this is the place I practise¬†change.¬†Every time I feel like giving up, like not giving it that push, I¬†change this and do the opposite. I am left feeling pumped and ready to smash the day ahead. Or if I don’t feel like practising, I¬†change¬†this and¬†Do It.¬†100% focus, because nobody is going to do it for me. Only I can do this and this gives me more satisfaction than ever.¬†You Know You Can Do Anything.¬†

The week just gone…

I have been up to lots, but the most important part of the week I am pumped for, is to be play with other people. With the nature of my course, it was somewhat difficult to find that balance between playing in a jazz/afro-cuban jazz situation and keeping up work for assessments on the classical side of things. Now as a 4th year, I have more time than ever to organise how I wish (to some extent) and now I can get back on the treadmill and keep on running towards what I need to work on now, playing with people. Playing with people, is a completely different ball game from playing to a recorded track or practising solo.

Mis¬†√ļltimas¬†palabras (My Final Words)

I hope I have inspired you today with what I wanted to say. This may be a music blog into the life of a world percussionist/drummer, but it’s not all about the music and I think delving into the areas not directly looking music, is far more interesting. I mean, I did say¬†life.¬†

Songs of the Week

I was going to a gig at the London Jazz Cafe. All of the top cats in world percussion were going to be in one spot and I was super excited. Unfortunately, the main player who this gig was for, got too ill to travel. So these songs today are for him.

Song No. 1 Bahia San Juan РGiovanni Hidalgo

Song No. 2 Loving Drums РGiovanni Hidalgo

Have a great week ahead.

Don’t forget to share!! ūüėÄ Much love!

#Blog. No. 5

Change

First Week Back Into The Final Year

Craziness and more

It’s one of those ‘My Mind in a glance blog’ i.e. splurt everything onto screen.  

Be prepared, the following may or may not be a plethora of everything that is happening in the mind, right now, at this very moment.

I’ve not been able to be as on top of my blogging this week. So, with tired eyes, I will talk about My First Week.

The first week back is always the most full on and exciting time. In a conservatoire of music, the timetable is never consistent and it is always liable to change.

You name it! Freshers, recording’s thrown in at the last minute, pressure to perform, gigs, practising, last minute lessons, forever changing meetings and as well as making the time to see your buddies + gradually getting my name out to the big wide world. Be positive and the world will walk with you! Craaaaziness. It feels peculiar, to be the oldest of the undergrads in the college now, the sense of authority (to some extent…fresher ego, not being liked to be told what to do, even if it’s right etc) and being given new responsibilities seems a heavy #tb to 6th form at school.

I am currently reading Kahil Gibran’ The Collected Works. One quote from one of his aphorisms really stuck with me this week. It’s goes by;

Paradise is there, behind that door, in the next room; but I have lost the key. Perhaps I mislaid it.

I always read a page a day at least. I love to see how I interpret it and relate it to the world around me and myself.

Personally, I think this means that, no matter what happens life. There is always a door to be opened somewhere, all you’ve got to do, is to know when you’ve found that key, so that you can unlock it’s full potential. I’ve been travelling up and down the country this summer and chatting to those who can teach me but also be potential colleagues. Doing this, has enabled me to broaden who I know and what I know and in doing so, I’ve found and stepped upon those keys. Now it’s a matter of continuing to put myself out there.

My mum always says, even now, “just keep working hard, as you are, and in time it’ll all fall into place”.

I know this to be true and so does everybody else in the world. If not, keep searching with an open mind.

Next time…

you meet a new person. Get to know how they got to where they are today. Not with that as your first intention, but keep it at the back of your mind and be sure that the conversation will slide towards it. Try to see, no matter how small, the changes that happened!

Oh look, a thought just popped into my head!

Next splurt guys! I’ve wanted to learn Espa√Īol for at least 5 months now. You know that mislaid key, I found it. We have got an Latin-American Spanish ERASMUS (exchange student) student for a WHOLE YEAR! I’ve never been so psyched. I get to speak it everyday and learn 24/7. I went even as far as changing the language on my phone to Latinoam√©rica Espa√Īol! It’s great to pick back up what I learned during my month in Cuba.

Bish Bash Bosh

I had this thought a while ago and now it’s time.

Songs of the Week!

This is a killer song. Let it settle though, the solo sections are just wow. Five – Bill Evans

On a final final note, I can’t not put in this fella here. This song describes how I’m feeling right now. Take a listen and explore! At The End Of The Day – Amon Tobin

FINAL FINAL WORDS

Please please give this a share! Come along for the ride and you may be surprised one day. I remember when I first followed Marc Fitt when he had just started out. Now he has over 200k subscribers on Youtube, over 1 million followers on Facebook and Instagram.

I’ll leave you with one last aphorism that has inspired me this week. What does this mean to you?

You are blind and I am dead and dumb, so let us touch hands and understand

Make the week ahead a great one.

Peace out guys!

#BlogNo.4

First Week Back Into The Final Year

A Day In The Life Of A Music Maniac

Concepts, tools and life

I won’t bore you with what I do every minute of the day…

but I’ll interest you in the way I think about practising, music and the concepts I use through life experiences.

As a final year student, I’m pushing myself to the upper limit in practising on a daily routine. You might ask, ‘What do you practise and How do you know what to practise?’

I see it like this; in everything that we do, we must first learn the basics. From here, once we reach a level of proficiency in a particular field, within that field, then we begin to take the steps to progressing day by day. Or in other words, say drumming is one HUUUGE bubble, and there are LOOOOOTS of other bubbles within that huge bubble. These smaller bubbles are the areas within drumming that you can delve into, to develop your proficiency in drumming.

Let’s go one step further…stay with me

When I go into these smaller bubbles, within the big bubble, I get even smaller bubbles smaller bubbles!!! I’m basically breaking down each element to the max and learning as much as possible about these elements. So as you can see, when you want to learn/re-learn something new, you can break into the area time and time again as you begin to learn about what it is you’re learning (big bubble) the ideas that you’re creating out of that (small bubbles) and how you can use your own ideas and develop them (even smaller bubbles)

This is the tool that I use when I practise on a day to day basis. I think looking into specific areas or ideas is too complicated. Rather, trying to see that specific idea as a very small subject, trying to see it as a whole is not only easier on the mind, it is ūüíĮ% way more efficient to break it down whilst still maintaining focus on the huuuuuuge bubble!

EXAMPLE!

If I was learning to play hand to hand movements, known as single strokes, with control and speed (like this! Single Stroke Roll: Rudiment Breakdown) I will first learn, what they are. This could be, knowing the notation value, how it fits in a beat and/or 4 beat bar, how it sounds after playing for 20 minutes (when you play the same exercise for a period of time, the sound of where the notes should be almost come out of sync with the beat!! Similar to this Mark Guiliana – The 2nd note drum exercise)

Soon enough I’ll come to a point where I will, in a way, need to relearn the basics by using what I already know. Sourcing for different drummers’ perspectives on the internet for a particular topic is a great way I think. The more you can learn from others and how they tick, the more you can build a foundation of your ideas and use it to your advantage! This way, when you gather a range of information like this, you begin to enhance you. How you tick not only as a musician but as a person in life! I think that learning from all experiences, no matter how dim or amazing they may be is essential.

At the end of the day, any experience is a positive one because you learn from it!

Never. Stop. Learning.

All in all,

I always try to extract the most out of anything. The more you learn from your mistakes and experiences, the more you understand who you are and this goes hand in hand with music. The more you understand yourself, and how you understand what music is, the more ways you can express yourself.

As always, thank you very much for taking the time to read this.

I will be posting a new blog every Sunday!!

Follow, Like, Share, Comment!

#BlogNo.3

Tenby
I was drumming in Tenby, Wales last Sunday. This was in support of the Ironman triathlon. It was pretty damn epic and the crowd were loving it!
A Day In The Life Of A Music Maniac

Anything Is Possible.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution”

– Albert Einstein

NEVER. GIVE. UP.

Every single morning that I wake up. I get up. No messing around, no excuses, just get up, do it and don’t complain. Simple.

That being easier said than done. But, it shouldn’t be. In order for there to be that switch from “Procrastination City” to “Pumped up, Get It Done Central”, you are going to have to change that should into a must, or be it, want! Over the past two days, I have worked 32 hours (I work at weddings on the side line). After 5 hours sleep from a solid 16 hour shift, I got up at 8am and had one of the most intense workouts ever!! Did I want to get up? No. Was I tired? Yes. Did I get up? Yes. How? Why? I said, Be positive, Do it, Be the best!

People may say, ‘why do you do this’? or ‘you can’t do that all the time’ and I go – Okay, if you’re okay with not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, keep doing it. But, I’m going to keep on pushing myself to that next level, tell myself that there is no threshold and keep on getting better.

Part of any form of training, is developing the mental skills to cope with the stress on the mind and body to progress. I train my mind to push myself to that next level and keep on doing it until I can’t do it anymore.

Okay….

from reading this, you may think I’m quite cock sure of myself. However, I’m writing in a current state of pure motivation, and it’s this sort of attitude that will help you to help yourself. Nobody is going to do it for you.

What do I do to help myself?

Motivational Videos

I’ve always been a driven person. Though, there came a point when I wanted more, so I went to find motivational videos. I used motivational speeches from YouTube and I used them solely for my workouts, for an intense drive. I personally always try to take something that resonates with me and carry it through with me until I hear something else.

Meditation

Meditating is a great way I find of not only relaxing, but training the mind to see the mind itself more clearly. I’ve been meditating now for 2.5 years and it has changed my perspective of not only how I see myself, but also how I see the world around me. A lighter, positive attitude to a busy mind allows for a clearer, whole mind.

Reading

Reading and obtaining knowledge from anything that interests you, I find, has and is a great way of developing your perspective as a whole. I would and still watch Ted Talks that intrigued me, with the goal that I would take something from it and write it on a post-it-note. The amount of the information that I obtained was vast and this is one way in which I found various books!

Purpose

Everything must have a purpose. If I don’t have a purpose, then I achieve nothing. If I have a purpose, the I can achieve anything. Even if you are going through the motions, the purpose is to still focus on the motion and delve into the task to gain an insight, this then will enable you to propel the task forward the day after when you focus on it 100%.

For example, in my last workout I didn’t use a motivational workout, with the purpose of challenging my mind not to rely on a stimulus. You know what people, it was tough. The amount of focus required, to not give in to stopping was higher than I thought would be.

Final Words

It has been 5 years now, since I began the road to hardcore work ethic. I decided in the new year of 2013 that I wanted to do music. That’s all. With no prior knowledge in percussion, I began having lessons in May 2013 and 6 months later, I recieved an unconditional offer into a conservatoire of music. That’s 8 years of work condensed into 6 months, even with school 5 days a week. It’s only now, that I have made a conscious effort to truly engage with my mind. I was told, ‘that piece is too hard, play something easier’ and I worked harder again and again. I learned to surround myself with positive people, use the negative energy into positive energy and 5 years on I’m still at it.

Life is hard; but it would suck if it was easy! Going hard on the grind everyday, no matter what, is the way to a happier and fulfilling life. I would know! Being a musician is one of the toughest jobs there are, with long drives in the car from place to place (mostly on your own) pressure to be physically and mentally fit to perform to the highest standard and recieving hardcore critiscm, are some of the things I and musicians alike, encounter in their career on a regular basis.

Remember, although there are lots of motivational creators out there in the world of media, there can be a lot of misinterpreted information. Although we say ‘I work from 6.30am to 11.30pm everyday’, which is of course, not true entirely. Unless you have calculated your workload to the minute detail, to ensure your body and mind don’t implode on themselves, which for any human is rather difficult to achieve unless you’re a scientist or a professional athlete.

WE are all human and we all have to take the time to REST. Rest with purpose, WORK with purpose and YOU CAN achieve great things.

That’s it for today folks! I hope I have inspired you to become the better version of yourself today and thereafter.

Remember – Anything Is Possible.

If you guys have liked my blogs thus far, then leave a reply, like this post or follow me! I’d love to hear what you think and if I could do anything better!

IN…

my next Blog, I’ll being talking about what I get up to in a day as a musician and how I plan my time for the weeks ahead.

*Subject to change* (I usually write about what is most fresh in my life at that moment in time)

#BlogNo.2

MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I22Lf0xF0UE&list=FLFI5bcvVRq5CQ3C_z5DTPaw

MEDITATION – https://www.headspace.com/

READING – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Collected-Works-Kahlil-Gibran/dp/1841593109

Anything Is Possible.