World Drumming Domination Update, or Something Like That

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Howdy, gang! Well I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your drum thrones wondering what’s next in my rather large reach across the globe. Here’s the latest…


A lifelong buddy of mine from high school likes to use the phrase, “Thing happen when you get your ask in gear,” as in ask for what you want. An amazingly simple idea that actually yielded some pretty cool results! Sadly, it took the unexpected death of another friend, and I mean out of nowhere, to smack me upside the head and make things move. I got angry and annoyed, and this combination needed to be put to positive use, or I was gonna go sideways with it.


I wrote a dozen letters, to international chapters of the Tourette Syndrome Association, telling them about my music autobiography (Tourette Syndrome and Music: Discovering Peace Through Rhythm and Tone), and said I’d like to write for their newsletters and share more about drumming and how it helped me. France and New Zealand replied! Then I got a big YES from DRUMScene magazine, in Australia, go have my rhythm books reviewed and also write a short piece about the books.


My overall plan is to combine, where I can, speaking about my rhythm books and also speaking to groups about my music autobiography. If I get a Yes for one, maybe I can make another Yes happen with the other. It worked in 2013 in England, so I figured, why not go for it?


When you experience loss, it really messes with you. Sadly, I’m sure some of you can relate. We owe it to the people we miss to live life like a big dog, live it for them and for ourselves, maybe inspire others along the way. I certainly hope to do that with this effort as in my blog, which as always, I really appreciate you taking the time to read.


I finally ordered the lighting and backdrop equipment to make decent videos, and I promise, my YouTube channel (DavidAldridgeDrums) is gonna be loaded with some pretty insane playing. Odd meter and polyrhythms lessons, finesse and speed control clips, jazz basics and independence, and of course, the long awaited clips that explain the content and application of my rhythm books, The Elements of Rhythm Vols. I & II.


More to come, including written drum exercises created in Finale that I’ll post here, lots of free stuff that’ll give you plenty to ponder…


So there you go. You can relax back onto your seat now, knowing that things are moving forward. I hope your plans and ambitions are doing the same, but if they’re not, as my good friend Don Ortiz has said more than once, “It’s time to get your ask in gear…”


This blog post is dedicated to the memory of Dan Morris, fellow flight instructor with whom I shared the same birthday and many a reminder to live life to its fullest.

Tourette Syndrome and Music: Discovering Peace Through Rhythm and Tone

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve written posts about Tourette Syndrome and drumming based on my having lived with it since I was six. What I have not written about in depth until now is how for fourteen years, from six to 20, I had no idea what the problem was.

Music and drumming gave me the tools to express my energy, find relief, and stay sane while looking for the answer as to why my body would not and could not still. I owe a great deal of who and what I am as a drummer and a musician to this disorder, and I decided a few years ago that the time had come to write about all I had learned, and share thoughts on how to overcome something and turn it into a better thing.

That said, I finally finished the book that basically took a lifetime to write.

 

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The control that drumming gave me over my mind and body through the years got stronger and stronger, and I really believe it helped reduce the need for medication. I was able to earn my private pilot’s license and even go on to become an airplane flight instructor, which let me produce my books exactly as I wanted to, leading to this day.

There are so many music projects I have my fingers in, and now they can receive the full attention I’ve always wanted to give them. Besides playing, teaching, and recording, I can now tour and lecture about my rhythm books (The Elements of Rhythm Vols. I & II), and do the drum set/drum circle demos around the country and around the world that I’ve conducted in Southern California over the past three years.

A major section in this new book talks about that, and I’ll be writing another blog shortly about my most recent such performance, which was aided greatly (as always) by Remo and their hand drums and recreational music program (www.remormc.com).

I cannot adequately express my thanks to Loire Cotler (www.loirevox.com) for writing the foreword, drawing on her background as a music therapy professor and as an unparalleled rhythmic vocalist. I could think of no one more qualified to offer thoughts on the book. And over the past 22 years, Dr. Oliver Sacks (www.oliversacks.com) has graciously mentioned my playing and how drumming was served by Tourette’s in several of his publications, including his landmark work, Musicophilia.

 

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When I visited England last September and presented my rhythm books at an academic seminar (RPPW 14), the other highlight was being able to play for a group of Tourette kids in Birmingham. It showed me that I could, with the right planning, do this anywhere in the world… which is exactly what I plan on doing.

It’s a project that means a great deal to me, because the fraternity of drumming is what gave me a sense of safe belonging all my life… and so, to all my fellow drummers, I hope you will accept my ongoing thanks for your interest in my little blog and the work it hopes to achieve. This book is a part of that, along with rhythm pattern theory, polyrhythms, and everything else I can stick my rhythm fingers into.

As drummers, we KNOW the magic that comes with playing… I want to share that magic with a special group of people who need to believe there is more to the world than being teased, feeling overwhelmed, and wondering if things will ever get better.

Drumming has always answered “yes” to the last part, and as I prepare to take many things on the road, let nothing stop you from going after whatever you want to do with your own playing. Like Frank Zappa says, “Music is the best.”

Truer words, I have never heard… and now, it’s finally time to completely let ‘er rip… 🙂

 

(To purchase the book, please click on the cover images to go to Amazon.com)

Tourette Syndrome and Drumming as Therapy

The benefits of drumming in helping me deal with my lifelong struggle with Tourette Syndrome are something I’ve wanted to share publicaly for some time. The very short version is this: drumming is a socially acceptable form of movement that helps you develop some degree of greater control over your body.

You become much more aware of the movement sensations and how to improve your motor control. Your fingertips and soles of your feet, the wrist and ankle muscles, and the overall flow of energy all become heightened when you close your eyes and focus on the sense of touch.

Most interesting for me was learning to think in terms of movement sensation. The mind seems to take over the body in a way, and the impulses seem to find their way effortlessly to the hands and feet. I learned to substitute words in the conversation part of my mind and replace them with sound; then, I paid even closer attention to the movement sensation associated with the sound.

From there, it seemed that I was in some way, connecting the speech formation part of my mind with the movement portion, composing “movement sentences” for lack of a better word, that just flowed…

As a result, I found a direct and immediate outlet for movement that became very relaxing, and at the same time, helped me develop further control over the unwanted movements away from the drum set.

Tourette Syndrome and Drumming

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In 1992, I wrote a short story called “Rhythm Man” that was featured in Don’t Think About Monkeys (Hope Press). The story talked about how drumming helped me through fourteen years of not knowing why my body moved without my control.

I’ve recently completed a book that elaborates on the subject and talks much more about how music served as therapy. I’ll be talking about the subject more in these posts, but for now, I felt it was worth mentioning, because I have been on the fence for many years about Tourette’s, my music, and sharing deeper personal details.

I now realize at 50 that it’s only a good thing to let people know about how helpful music was and still is. Even if you never play professionally, music is a wonderful outlet for expression and control. I’ll definitely share more…