Welcome

Join the Email list for the latest videos, ideas, concepts... and other music activities too!

Training Drummers to Excel On The Stage & Field, and In The Studio

Eric Anderson is Visalia's Drum Coach. 

 

He uses the "Grid Grooves" and "Abacus Rhythm Training" Systems to improve each musician’s sight reading ability, independence and dexterity, and collection of rhythms and beats. 

Eric also stays busy as the drummer with the Tayters, and The Brad Wilson Band. 

Buckets and Sticks is one thing Eric gives to his community.   

He shares the fun at Visalia Montessori School and Blue Oak Academy each week and has led Bucket Sessions at Traver Elementary, Happy Trails Riding Academy, Villa de Guadalupe Apartments, and the occasional Rotary club meeting!   

Please ask for more information about this fun experience!!!


"That's my rumor and I'm sticking to it"

My How Life Changes at the Speed of Information 

Gotta back things up a little bit.  I was notified on June 4 that I had a cancerous element in a swollen lymph node in my neck.  The lymph node had been growing for six months or more. I’d see it in the mirror while shaving or brushing my teeth.  Back to the music room I’d go and forget about the lump. It didn’t hurt so I’d go until the next time I shaved or looked in the mirror for a while.  Then my wife saw it!!! 

A trip to the local doctor, an ultrasound, and three trips the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist later and I find out about the cancer.  He shares that the lymph node shows signs of cancer, but it is not the source; also that I am scheduled for pre-op labs and Xrays, a PET scan, and that his office is setting up a date for surgery the following week. 

Life changes the moment we get some new piece of information: happened to me that Tuesday.  I sent an email to Wendy at work to let her know as I making my way to the hospital. I navigate my way around this hospital I know nothing about.  Everyone is helpful, but my Wendy is not there with me. Why didn’t Wendy go? 

I went to the appointment alone cuz I did not know what the doctor knew.  For me… no news is good news. The glass is full until I am convinced that it is something otherwise.  The doc even asked wife why my wife wasn’t with me. I made my perspective known. He wasn’t impressed.  “Like, you didn’t even suspect something serious could be wrong?” I mentioned that I try not to speculate on what could be… that could drive a person bonkers and I did not want that. 

My Wendy and I went to the PET scan the following Saturday, June 8th. The Tuesday after that we were chatting with the oncologist in our hometown.  We were there for about two hours. A lot of time was spent with the nurse. He was very good and knew the system he works in. He mentioned the results of the PET scan were not available as of yet.  The oncologist joined us a little later with the PET scan results. This is where the mixed feelings kick in. 

She says the scan did not indicate the source of the cancer.  So there’s some rogue cancer thingy floating around in my neck, and no one can say where the source is hiding.  So… it is good to know that it has not taken over part of my body yet, which is good. Equally, we do not know anything conclusive.  Again, no news is good news. Things will be good when all is said and done cuz there is no information to the contrary.

Why Train At The Extremes 

I have two sets of DW 9002 pedals set up for the daily training sessions.  They are the same in all but one way… Extremes of Spring Tension!!! 

One extreme is maximum spring tension on both pedals.  It requires the most amount of effort to overcome the tension and drive the beaters. 

The other extreme is minimum spring tension on both pedals.  Virtually no resistance from the pedals so they feel very sloppy in the beginning. 

I love playing at the extremes!!!  They are the worst case scenarios, and they are the best places for legit training.  Think about it… how much worse can it get from these points? The high tension pedals are developing strength while the no tension pedals are improving touch and finesse.  And here is where the fruits of labor and toil have paid off. 

I went to a local coffee shop to learn jazz and bossa nova rhythms and chords on guitar.  Hey… chord progressions are way cool, right? The drummer invited me to to play a few songs on her drum set.  DW 3000 bass drum and hi hat pedals were on the floor. I played three songs with the ensemble. While playing, I remember thinking about how easy the bass drum pedal was to play.  Zero frustration is the best when playing.

Later,

during the drive home,

the epiphany broke

It wasn’t those pedals!  It was the daily grind, AT THE EXTREMES, that set up the day’s zero frustration session!!! 

Do the work at the extremes to get the results you are after, and some that you may not expect but will love all the same. 

WORK FIRST… 

It is the way to improve at your craft.

Two Lessons From the Fundamentals that are Very Fundamental 

Today is day 150 of 365 consecutive days of focused practice to improve my drumming: one hour of mastering the sticks (hands), and one hour of mastering the pedals (feet). 

  

The Abacus Rhythm Training System is the main system used to focus my attention for two reasons… maximum flexibility and minimal thinking.  More on this system later. For now, it is enough to say that these Abacus cards force me to stay focused on the foundation of all drumming:  RHYTHM!!! 

The following are two lessons I’ve come to grips with over these first 150 days 

FIRST LESSON 

Spend enough time focusing on the fundamentals and you will discover your limitations and figure out how to overcome them. 

These cards represent the rhythms and sticking patterns drummers play every day. 

The rhythms have been around for centuries. The sticking patterns first gained recognition in the book Stick Control, by George Lawrence Stone… copyrighted in 1936!!!  Serious old school, but the rhythms and viable sticking pattern have not and will not change. 

Work with them long enough and you will reach the limits of your natural ability. Then... it is time to dig in and start learning more about the most efficient ways to play drumsticks and pedals.  There are 215 days of working on the fundamentals which means there is a lot more I will need to learn and master… and this is just the fundamentals; the foundation!!! AMAZING to me it is!!! 

You are more than welcome to download (no-cost download) the templates from the store for free and make the cards

SECOND LESSON 

Setting a daily goal like, "I will play for 60 minutes a day for 365 days" lowers frustration. Work it every day, and the results will naturally come around cuz the work ALWAYS comes before the results. You may not see the results immediately after a training session, but the results always come out in your playing. Things you struggled with before are now easier to play and sound much more natural, authentic and genuine. 

Such a goal needs to be something you can achieve every day wherever you are at!  I got my hours in a few times in a truck while in route to or from a gig (I wasn’t the driver).  Remember, this is about hands and feet, not drums and cymbals. Set a goal you can and WILL execute on EVERY day.  For me, it is practical to focus on hands and feet (instead of “playing the drum set for one hour…”) so my goal is not dependent on access to a drum set.  It is solely dependent on my willingness to do invest one hour in my feet and an hour in my hands every single day. 

I WILL MAKE THIS PROMISE

Focus ONLY on the work, and the results will reveal themselves in good time.  It is the order of life. Farmers sow (work) in February and harvest (results) in October.  Athletes work out in the off-season to see results on the field six months later. 

Simple yet profound lessons that affect me as a person perhaps more than as a musician. 

Love to hear your thoughts… hit me up… this is the stuff that fascinates me.  I like talking about this stuff