Liverpool Baquetas: Roxinho

Last week we took a look at the Eco Jatoba series and I talked about the differences between stick types. While the benefits of different sticks are appealing, stick selection is very much a question of opportunity cost. In certain scenarios, some things will work better than others, brushes for example wouldn’t be a good choice for a massive rock tune, but work awesome in folk/jazz music.

So if there are a lot of different stick types and they all have worthwhile applications, how could anyone ever manage to choose?

The answer to that question is as simple as understanding what works for you. When I talked about the Jatoba, I mentioned the Japanese Oak promark makes to set up a frame of reference because in my mind, they are comparable products. So whats the tipping point?

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For me, the tipping point is more or less the unique qualities of each different pair. That said, this week I’m talking about the Liverpool Roxinho series.

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Roxinho is actually a tropical hardwood that is considered rare for larger projects however, Liverpool found a way to utilize the wood not only for their company but also for the samba schools in Brazil. Even though the wood is considered a ‘rare’ wood, its also a rejected wood type from the lumber trade in Brazil.

More on the science of these wood types

The study shows that “Some species of the Peltogyne genus, the one to that Roxinho belongs, have their wood endowed with violet coloration due to phenolic compounds known as peltogynoids,” which in regular people speak, just means that the color of these sticks comes from the compounds in the wood itself, and not a dye or paint. This is a point of interest for me because not only are these sticks durable, they are also extremely unique. There is no other version of this anywhere else in the world which makes them not only a good choice for those of us looking for durability but also for those of us looking to make a statement with our gear.

I would be lying if I were to say that these are the best sticks ever made. How could I possibly know something like that? How would I even attempt to prove it? So instead, I will say that for me, the Roxinho sticks that Liverpool makes are a contender for new favorite stick type because of their unique visual effects, combined with the same strength and durability I get out of the Japan Oak.

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Liverpool Baquetas: Eco Jatoba

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Hailing from Brazil, the country that hosted the most recent world cup, Liverpool drumsticks are making their way into the United States and they are a prime contender to become a behemoth company here like so many of the more familiar brands around.

Jatoba is a hardwood that is very dense and comparable to white oak in its hardness and durability. This is important to note, because my favorite stick type for a long time was the Japan Oak 5a wood tip that Promark used to make. They probably still make them that way, but since the company was acquired by D’Addario they started doing some innovative stuff with their Select Balance tech and subsequently made a select balance version of the Japan Oak that I liked so I started playing with those instead.

Reformed wood sticks are ok depending on who you get them from, and often you can get more of them for cheaper than you could get solid wood sticks. Of course, this opens a can of worms for those of us on a budget but it doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank.

What a budget might limit on quantity, doesn’t effect its potential quality. What I mean by that is to say that most companies offer reformed and solid wood stick types, at variable prices depending on where you get them but those in the know can save some money by researching what works best for them. Personally, I can’t stand most reformed wood sticks because of their lack of durability. That is not to say that all reformed wood sticks are terrible, just that they don’t really work for me because I’m prone to heavy handed smash sessions that reformed wood just can’t stand up to. That said, it works better for me to buy stick types with increased durability because I not only play hard, I play a lot and not having reputation/endorsement deals makes it challenging to keep up with restocking my stick bag.

Fortunately, Jatoba hardwood is not only durable, but it feels good in the hands. Its natural density adds weight, which allows for more energy transfer from hand to stick to drum. Why is that good? Well, for certain applications it wouldn’t be but that isn’t really the point. For me, the available energy transfer translates to more solid notes, which makes for more defined sounds and that is one of the most important characteristics of how I approach the kit.

Therapeutic Benefits of Drumming

Evelyn Ward de Roo

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“…the drum has been used since time immemorial as a regular part of healing traditions…” (The Joy of Drumming: Drums and Percussion Instruments from Around the World By Töm Klöwer, Plym Peters, 1997)

  1. Emotional and creative expression: develops and encourages expression of all kinds of experience non-verbally; then enhances creative self-expression; develops creativity.
  2. Emotional release: helps us let go of troubled feelings, physical tension, frustration & sadness.
  3. IMG_5349_2Develops memory and increases concentration and attention: by learning to play structured rhythms, long & short-term memory skills are exercised and extended.
  4. Self-discovery: facilitates learning about desires, fears, personal issues, skills, limitations, and intentions.
  5. Develops right brain hemisphere functioning: emotions, creativity, intuition, sound & visual.
  6. ‘Hemispheric synchrony’ /mental clarity: balancing the right & left brain hemispheres results in theta brainwave states which calm, soothe and expand heightened awareness & creativity.
  7. Group/community awareness: we learn to co-operate with others to make music, this leads to feeling heard…

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Evolution Of The Drum

Four4Beats

The drum is an instrument as ancient as the humankind. It has evolved from being a hollowed out piece with a stretched membrane over it and tuning pegs to modern drum kits that comprise of snares, bass drums, foot petal, cymbals, tom toms and so forth. This was done to produce sounds the traditional drum couldn’t. So we can speculate that the first ever made drum is the original beat.

As much as the drum is used as an instrument, in ancient cultures it was also used as a communicator. This type of drum was mainly made of wood as the hollowed out part and animal skin as the membrane. Messages were sent between members of the tribe through it and it was also used during rituals as a link between our world and that of the spirit.

traditional drum Burundi Drummer

It was believed its vibrations crossed the veil that separated…

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Helping Drum Teachers Teach Special Needs Students

Alfred Music Ledger Lines

Pat Gesualdo Pat Gesualdo

As drum teachers, we all know that teaching learning disabled students can be quite a challenge, even for the most experienced teachers. My pioneering techniques of drum therapy are used on a global basis to help the special needs population. All teachers, especially drum teachers, will have a special needs student at some point in time. Some teachers push these students aside, while others try to face the challenge of helping these students straight on.

Teaching special needs students, is not for everyone, which I totally understand. It is extremely difficult.

Some teachers might think that their student is “just being difficult,” as opposed to understanding that the student really has a problem. Disabilities can appear in many ways, and can affect the student’s attitude, coordination, and retention. If you have a student with one, or many issues, you need to know that there are certain ways to…

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Music and the Brain Part 3

Learning Strategies for Musical Success

The brain is divided into two cerebral hemispheres. The left hemisphere controls the ability to speak, read, and write. However, the right hemisphere is responsible for the musical elements of speech, including intonation, prosody, emphasis, and pitch. Musical processing is even more widely distributed throughout the brain than is speech. Pitch, melody, harmony, and structure tend to be right hemispheric, whereas time structures such as meter, rhythm, and tempo are mainly left hemispheric. The brain processes the emotional response to music mainly in the limbic system and the frontal lobes.

British music educator George Odam says, “Real musical experience should focus on sound rather than symbol so that the sound processors in the right hemisphere can be activated”. Reading music, analysis, and intellectualization are all primarily left-hemispheric activities. Unlike formally trained musicians, non-musicians are restricted to emotional response when listening to music and hence activate less of the left hemisphere…

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Technology Helps Students Find Their Musical Voice

Christine Holley

Christine-Holley-iPadOftentimes the talk surrounding technology revolves around how it brings cultures from across the globe closer together and allows us to break down cultural barriers inherent to different societies. But for one high school in Queens, New York, iPads are allowing its students with physical and mental challenges to connect with their classmates, and to their inner artist.

An article on NPR.org details one band teacher?s incredible work with the school?s ?Technology Band.? The band is a mix of traditional instruments and iPads. All the members have disabilities, some on the autism spectrum. Their teacher, Adam Goldberg, is a classically trained pianist with a degree from the Manhattan School of Music. 20 years ago he began substitute teaching at P.S. 177 while playing jazz and rock gigs around New York City. Not long after, he was offered a job at the school, and he?s been there since.

He is a…

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