A great man (I think it was Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid) once said:

"There is no such thing as a bad student. Only a bad teacher".

Wise words.

And some that really make sense to me, having been involved in drum and music

education professionally for the past 10 years. In that time I have been extremely

fortunate to have met some truly inspirational teachers and I would like to dedicate

this blog/magazine - (you could call it either a blogazine or a blagazine, depending

on if you think I know what I'm talking about!) - to those drummers who have really

made a difference in the world of drums and drum education.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1st Interview!

This post sees the official launch of DRUMAZINE!

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Davide Merlino, Italian drummer, percussionist, musical innovator and experimentalist - a very interesting name in the world of drums, but one you may well not have heard of...

I was first drawn to talk to Davide after seeing this video. However, this only shows one side to Davide's extremely interesting take on music, drums and percussion. He is obviously extremely talented and I suggest you check out more videos by him playing a variety of instruments in a variety of bands and and musical settings.

And, just as interesting as seeing him play was hearing what he had to say...

Drumazine: Hello Davide and welcome to Drumazine! For those people reading who might not already know you, please can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Davide Merlino: Hello! It's a great pleasure to be a guest of Drumazine. My name is Davide Merlino and I am 34 years old and live in Verbania, a small town on Maggiore Lake, in Italy. I currently teach and collaborate in several musical projects as a percussionist and a drummer.

Dzn: An obvious question - how long have you been playing drums?

DM: I was 14 - it was 1991 when I was struck by Nirvana and their album Nevermind!

Dzn: And did you have lessons at school, or with a private drum teacher?

DM: I started out teaching myself, but then when I was 18 I started taking private lessons. Later I enrolled in the [Novara] Conservatory to study classical percussion.

Dzn: Was your teacher at that time an inspiration?

DM: My first teacher was my father, a drummer too: he was of course an inspiration.

Dzn: Have you had any other form of education in drums and/or music?

DM: I studied drums first, then Afro-Cuban percussion. At the Conservatory I studied classical and jazz percussion and I discovered the vibraphone which is now my main instrument. During my time at the Conservatory I had two great teachers who transmitted me passion and curiosity: Mr Matteo Moretti and Mr Ramberto Ciammarughi.

Dzn: What would you consider to be your first “success” in music? And would you describe this as a “defining moment” in your career?

DM: The greatest success in my career was winning in 2010 the Percfest, an important competition that (by winning) introduced me to radio and drum magazines.

Dzn: You’ve talked about success; have there been any failures, defeats or bad times you can tell us about?

DM: Ups and downs have marked my career, but the passion for music and for my instrument made me persevere. Teaching has always been important to me, and also the relationship with my students from whom I always learn a lot!

Dzn: Onto equipment! For all those gear-heads out there, what kit (drums/cymbals/anything else you would like to mention) do you play?

DM: I play a minimal kit for the drumset: 18" Bass Drum, 10" Snare Drum, 12" Tom and 14" Floor Tom... and Diril Cymbals - I love them! The right sound for my music!

Dzn: Is there any other advice you would like to give young drummers?

DM: A lot of love for your instrument, a lot of curiosity and never stop studying.

Dzn: Would you like to promote yourself a little bit?! Please tell us about any tours, releases, web links, endorsements etc…

DM: Wow, ok!
Merlino on tour here: www.myspace.com/merlinodavide/shows
More information here: www.davidemerlino.it and about my band here: www.mu-music.it
My endorsement with DIRIL cymbals here: www.dirilcymbals.com

It just remains for me to say a big thank you for your time and giving us some amazing insight into the world of one of the most interesting percussion players around; so, THANK YOU Davide Merlino!

Subscribe to Drumazine for free!  There will be more fantastic interviews with the most interestingly interesting drummers around!
Until next time...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Questions, questions, questions...

What is success?
What does it mean to be a professional drummer?
What makes a good drummer "good"?
How do "successful" drummers reach their level of success?
What's the difference between "success" and "achievement"?
What does it mean to be famous?
What are endorsements?

Maybe I am asking all of these questions to justify my own level of success versus what I have actually achieved.  I don't think I've reached anywhere near the level of success I have strived for, but maybe I have achieved far more than I give myself credit?

I also want to find out about branding.  Why do certain drummers insist on using "named" brands of equipment?  And what is the big deal about gear anyway?!
For decades there have been very few big-name companies producing drums and cymbals (the main two tools of our trade), and probably only two drumstick manufacturers that are widely known and stocked in the local music shop.  But it seems nowadays (and about time in my opinion!) that there is a lot more choice and loads more new young companies springing up all over the place offering a more diverse range of products, sounds and technology.
That being the case, how can you find out which ones are good and which are not so good?  And what are the most important things to find out when you are spending your (or your parents!) hard-earned cash?

I aim to find out the answers to these questions and more by interviewing many drummers from around the world about their experience and their thoughts.  These case-studies are hopefully going to help me find out the answer to the most intriguing question of all:

What exactly is it that makes drummers tick?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

# 1,000,001

There are about a million resources, (books, DVD's, websites, magazines), already about drums and drumming and learning to play the drums.
So how is this one different?
Well, because I am hoping this book will approach things from a new and different perspective.

I have been playing the drums for over 25 years and have taught the drums for the past 10 years; without actually having much guidance myself in either drumming or as an educator, I feel that I have quite a unique view on things.

I am an active player, an experienced teacher and still a student of the drums.

-          As many great drummers have said before, you can never stop learning.
This is very true…

The reason I started to write my ideas and thoughts down was because I think that there is too much confusion about what is right and what is wrong when playing the drums…  In my opinion, the whole point has been missed by most - the point being:

Drumming is an art form

There are traditional ways of thinking and approaching things and there are innovative ways.  The innovators are the people who break the traditional mould.
That is what I am hoping to do.

I am also hoping to interview many of the worlds most innovative drummers and get to know how they managed to achieve what they have so far & get some insight into their life as a drummer.  I am hoping to share exclusive answers to questions you ask.  And I am hoping to speak with the drummers who you admire the most.

I want to improve the way drums are taught and the way drums are learnt.  I hope to explore new ideas and help both students and teachers to understand and improve the way they interact with each other.

In my opinion, a good drum teacher is someone who can let their students keep their individuality and help them to play the drums the way that suits them and not get so hung-up on what is “technically correct” and definitely not to copy or play like anyone else.

I get very annoyed by anyone who says that they know best; especially teachers.

Lesson number 1:  Nobody knows best.  There are only ideas.  Some of these ideas work.  Some don’t.  But the ideas themselves are subjective anyway.  And so they should be!  As I said before, drumming is an art form and so there is no right and wrong.