Hi Sabrina,

Since you said you didn’t receive the lesson recap that I sent after our first lesson, I have copied here. Below that is some new stuff from our second lesson.

First Lesson

Snare Drum

Practice the three types of rolls that we went over: single stroke roll, double stroke roll, and multiple bounce roll. For the single stroke roll, practice playing slow to fast to slow, and focus on using more wrist and less elbow. Listen carefully while you play to ensure that your right hand isn’t louder than your left (or vice versa) and look at your hands/arms while you play to make sure the motion looks the same on both sides.

For the double stroke roll, first practice bouncing your sticks. See how high you can get the first bounce to be. Also try to get your fingers to move along with the stick as it bounces. Then practice the bounce-pull technique. Remember that it should all be one continuous wrist motion, not two separate motions.

For the multiple bounce roll, practice playing soft to loud to soft. Increase the speed of your hands as you get louder and then slow down as you get softer. Aim for a gradual and smooth arc in the sound. Slowing down smoothly will likely be more difficult than speeding up, so it’s a good idea to do extra practice on just going from loud to soft.

Also practice paradiddles: RLRR LRLL. The beginning of each group of four notes should be accented. Focus on preparing the accent by raising each stick while the other hand is playing a double stroke. Keep the rhythm strictly even… use a metronome if you have one.

Xylophone

Practice the 7 major scales that we worked on: C, G, D, A, F, Bb, and Eb. Practice each one going up two octaves and then down two octaves. Go slow and try to visualize all the notes of the scale before you start playing. Make note of which hand plays each of the accidentals in each scale. Remembering these details will help you to play the scale with more consistency. If you have a metronome, use it when practicing scales. Find a slow speed at which you can play the scales accurately and consistently. Then, challenge yourself to see if you can play the scales a few beats per minute faster than that. However, don’t continuously play the scales at a speed that causes you to make many mistakes. This won’t help you to learn the scales and will only ingrain the mistakes.

Here is a reminder of which accidentals are in each scale (although you should try to figure this out for yourself each time you practice using the methods I showed you):

C (none)

G (F#)

D (F#, C#)

A (F#, C#, G#)

F (Bb)

Bb (Bb, Eb)

Eb (Bb, Eb, Ab)

Second Lesson

Snare Drum

Practice the Flam and the Drag that we worked on in your second lesson. They are printed on the second page of the 40 snare drum rudiments that I gave you. A flam consists of two notes – the first one soft and the second one loud – being played close together so that they sound almost like one note. The soft note is sometimes referred to a “grace note” meaning that receive its own rhythmic value the way that a quarter note, eighth note, or sixteenth note would. Rather, think of it to be rhythmically attached to the second note and that together they are one rhythmic unit. However, be careful not to play the two notes two close together or else you lose the sound of the flam. Raise both sticks above the drum, but one stick higher than the other, so that when you bring them down, one stick hits the drum first, and the second stick hits slightly later (and harder) than the first.

A drag is similar to a flam, except that you have 2 grace notes before the main note instead of one. A drag should be played either LLR or RRL, meaning that you should bounce your stick to play the first two notes. Try to get two quick and soft notes by bouncing the stick from a low height above the drum, while the other stick is brought down from higher up to play the third and louder note. All three notes should happen in quick succession so that they sound together as one rhythmic unit. For both the flam and the drag, practice both possible stickings (starting with your right and with your left).

Xylophone

Practice Lesson One from the George Hamilton Green book that I copied for you. Focus on the positioning of your mallets and hands in relation to the keyboard. Try to build up speed in the easier exercises, and with the harder ones focus on playing slower and very accurately. With the double-stop exercises, listen very carefully to make sure that both mallets are striking the keyboard exactly together (not like a flam!). Use a metronome when you practice. Find a tempo for each exercise at which you can comfortably play all the notes accurately. Then work on gradually increasing the tempo, but never sacrifice accuracy for speed! Make sure that you’re still striking the notes correctly as you strive to go faster. Also, try not to change positioning of your mallets and hands as you go faster. Your technique should remain the same.

Happy practicing!

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