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Suggested Reading

1. Rehearsal Rooms

Struggling to improve the acoustics in your band room? Check out how the Medan Band did it.

2. Concerned about playing swing music properly?

Check out my guidelines

3. Ear training exercises for bands

Unlike piano players, ear training is essential for wind band performers. But how many band directors bother to give their bands suitable exercises?

4. Intonation problems

While tuning is simple act of adjusting a length of tubing on a wind instrument (often by reference to a single note), intonation is an ongoing process in which a player strives to match the pitch of others in the ensemble during performance. 

5. “Blowing” a wind instrument

A common misconception among wind players is to believe that the air moves through the instrument in order to produce the sound. This is simply not true. 

6. Conducting – suggestions for home practice

The best way for a conductor to improve is in front of a live ensemble. The unfortunate reality, however, is that this is not always possible. Aspiring conductors therefore have little choice but to find other ways of honing their skills.

 

Bass Drum

 Together with the snare drum, the bass drum is among the most frequently used percussion instruments.  The player should not stand directly behind the drum, but rather slightly to the right, assuming he is right handed.  In any event, the drumhead should face in the direction the sound is to be projected, which is not necessarily towards the audience.  The beater is held with the same basic grip as the snare drum, with the wrist relaxed and the arm flexible. 

A direct blow to the middle of the head produces a staccato-like sound.
The most common blow is a slightly glancing upward stroke, just off center.  It is used for fast tempos and on the march.  The extreme glancing blow and the direct hammer-like blow should be reserved for special effects.  A direct blow to the middle of the head, for example, produces a staccato-like sound with maximum tone. This implies that rhythmically active passages should be played closer to the center of the drumhead, so that the sound will be less muddy. Accents should also be played close to the center.  Various kinds of beaters and muffling effects add to the bass drummer’s repertoire of sounds.

Because the bass drum is a sluggish instrument, the performer has to be particularly careful about playing on the beat.  This implies that he must actually anticipate the beat slightly or risk being just a fraction behind it and thus incurring the wrath of the conductor.

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