Lu Chi: 文賦 (On Literature).

Ping Fu

 

As many of my readers are writers themselves, I thought it would be fun to post one of the classic East Asian works on writing dated to sometime during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 – 280), Rhymeprose On Literature, or “On Literature”. Composed by General Lu Chi (261 – 303), it is China’s first systematic treatise on literary criticism. I have edited or abridged many sections for brevity’s sake, but have tried to retain the original translation’s clarity, using as my source material text from The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature (1994, Columbia University Press): pp. 124 – 133.

文賦

Preface

Every time I study the works of great writers, I flatter myself I know how their minds worked. Our constant worry though is that our ideas may not equal their objects and our style may fall short of their ideas [reference to Confucius: writing cannot express words completely: words cannot express thought completely.]. Now, it is true that I am hewing an axe handle with an axe handle in my hand, the pattern is not far to seek. However the conjuring hand of the artist being what it is, I cannot possibly make my words do the trick. Nevertheless, what I am able to say I have put down here.

Preparation

Taking his position at the hub of things, [the writer] contemplates the mysteries of the Universe, he roams in the Forest of Literature, and praises the symmetry of great art. Moved, he pushes his books away and takes the writing brush, that he may express himself in letters.

Process

At first he withholds his sight and turns his hearing inward; he is lost in thought, questioning everything. His spirit gallops to the eight ends of the universe, his mind wanders along vast distances. He sips the essence of letters; rinses his mouth with the extract of the six arts [the six classic Confucian texts]. He gathers words never used in one hundred generations; picks rhythms never sung in one thousand years.

Words

He taps at the door of all that is colorful: he chooses from among everything that rings. Now the tiger put on new stripes, to the consternation of other beasts; now the dragon emerges, and terrifies all the birds. He traps heaven and earth in the cage of form; he crushes the myriad objects against the tip of his brush.

Virtue

There is joy in this vocation; all sages esteem it. Poets struggle with Non-Being to force it to yield Being; we knock upon Silence for an answering Music. We enclose boundless space in a square foot of paper; we pour out a deluge from the inch-space of the heart. A laughing wind will fly and whirl upward; dense clouds will arise from the Forest of Writing Brushes.

Diversity

Forms vary in a thousand ways; objects are not of one measure. Confronted with bringing something into being or leaving it unsaid, he groans; between the shallow and the deep, he makes his choice resolutely.

Lyric poetry traces emotions daintily; rhyme prose embodies objects brightly. The epitaph balances substance with style, while the dirge is terse and mournful. Disquisition is rarefied and subtle, while discourse is dazzlingly bright and extravagantly bizarre. Differing in form, they all forbid deviation from the straight, having no “twisty thoughts” (depravity).

Multiple Aspects

Ideas should be cleverly brought together… and the mutation of sounds and tones should be like the five colors of embroidery, sustaining each other. If, however, you have missed the chance and reached the sense belatedly, you will be putting the tail at the head. The sequence of dark and yellow being deranged, the whole broidery will look smudged and blurred.

Revision

Weight merit or demerit by the milligram; decide rejection or retention by a hairbreadth. If your idea or word has not the correct weight, it has to go, however comely it may look.

Plagiarism

It may be that language and thought blend into damascened gauze – fresh, delightful, and exuberantly lush. Glowing like many-colored broidery [while hinting at weltschmerz], like many chords; but assuredly there is nothing novel in my own writing. True, the arrow struck my heart; what a pity, then, that others were struck before me. [Thus] as plagiarism will impair my integrity and damage my probity, I must renounce the piece, however fond I am of it.

Purple Patches

It may be that one ear of the stalk buds [only one line stands out among many]; solitary and exquisite. But shadows cannot be caught; echoes are hard to bind. Standing forlorn, your purple passage juts out conspicuously; it cannot be woven into ordinary music, and your mind, out of step, finds no place for it. When the rock embeds jade, the mountain glows, when the stream is impregnated with pearls, the river becomes alluring. We will weave the market ditty into the classical melody; perhaps we may thus rescue what is beautiful.

Imperfections

Entrusting your diction to an anemic rhythm: living in a desert you have only yourself to talk to. Fitting your words into a frazzled music; gaudy, your language lacks charm… the harsh note of a wind instrument in the courtyard below. Forsaking reason and going for the bizarre: you pursue inanity and the trivial.

Masterpieces

I have been paying tribute to laws of words and rules of style. I know well what the world blames, and I am familiar with what the worthies of the past praised. Originality is a thing often overlooked at askance by the fixed eye. Gems and purest jade beads, they say, are (1) as numerous as the dry beans in the fields, and as inexhaustible as the space between heaven and earth; growing co-eternally with heaven and earth themselves. The world abounds with masterpieces, and yet they do not appear in my own hands. Oh how I grieve that the bottle is often empty; how I grieve that Elevating Discourse is hard to continue. It is no wonder I limp along with trivial rhythms, and make indifferent music to complete the song. I fear being a drummer on an earthen jug: mocked by jinglers of jade pendants.

Inspiration

You cannot hinder its coming or stop its going. When the Heavenly Arrow is at its fleetest and sharpest, what confusion is there that cannot be brought to order? When on the other hand, the Six Emotions [original text unclear: possibly like, dislike, pleasure, anger, sorrow and joy] become sluggish and foul, the mood gone but the psyche remaining, you will be as forlorn as a dead stump, as empty as the bed of a dry river. True, the thing lies in me, but it is not in my power to force it out. And so, time and time again, I beat my empty breast and groan, I really do not know the causes of the flowing and the not flowing.

Encomium on Style

The function of style is to serve as a prop for your ideas. It travels over endless miles, removing all obstructions in its way: spanning innumerable years, taking the place of a bridge. Looking down it bequeaths patterns to the future; gazing up it contemplates the examples of the ancients [sun, stars, moon, dragons, mountains…]. It is a match for clouds and rain in yielding sweet moisture: it is like spirits and ghosts in bringing about metamorphoses [comparison to the heavenly principle Ch’ien: the celestial aspect of the cosmos]. It inscribes bronze and marble to make virtue known; it breathes through flutes and strings, and is forever new.

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Selections from Classic Chinese (Comedic) Anthologies.

Budai

Though an almost endless amount of analysis and criticism of Chinese texts has been on classical philosophy, religion, politics, and military tactics, etc., few people know of the ancient collections of jokes and funny stories, such as the Grove Of Laughter (Hsiao-lin), Master Mugwort’s Miscellany (Ai Tzu tsa-shuo), Ticklish Tales (Hsi-t’an lu), Bowled Over With Laughter (Hsiao-tao), Have A Good Laugh (Hsiao te hao) and others. So I thought I would post a few of my favorite classic Chinese tales, being anywhere from 500 to 1000 years old. As there are many spots where the literal translation would obscure or confuse the punch line, I have paraphrased and slightly altered the original text for clarity.

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The Man Who Bit Off His Own Nose (from The Grove of Laughter).

While they were arguing, Dingbang bit off Chenglei’s nose. When a government official wished to prosecute him, he claimed that Chenglei had bitten off his own nose. “A person’s nose is higher than his mouth,” said the official, “so how could it be that he could reach his nose to bite it off?” Said Dingbang, “He stepped up on a bed to do it”!

The Ox Year Wife (from Treasury of Laughs)

The subordinates of a prefect who was having a birthday heard that he was born in the Year of the Rat, so they gathered some gold and cast a full-scale solid gold rat to celebrate his longevity. Being much pleased with the gold object the prefect said, “Did you know that my wife’s birthday is coming up soon? She was born in the Year of the Ox”!

Vegetables And Wine… (from Expanded Treasury of Laughs)

A Confucian official named Fu was about to leave his home to meet a superior when a local villager named Chao stopped by for a visit. Not having time to give his wife Bin-bin detailed instructions, he simply said, “Just offer the villager some vegetables, wine, et nihil alter”. His wife, not speaking such literary language, had no idea ‘ex nihil alter’ meant “and nothing else”, thought that he had somehow referred to their pet goat, so she butchered and prepared it, offering Chao a great feast. When Fu returned, he lamented that Bin-bin had misunderstood him. Much chagrined, from then on he made sure to tell her to serve “vegetables, wine, and absolutely not a single bit of “ex nihil alter”!

Pleasing The Archery Target God (from Expanded Treasury of Laughs)

A military general named Anguo was on the verge of being defeated in a bloody battle when a glorious warrior appeared and helped Anguo achieve a great victory instead. Anguo kowtowed before the glorious superhuman warrior and asked his name. “I am the God of All Archery Targets”. But General Anguo was confused and asked, “What virtue does a mere mortal general like myself have that would induce you, oh honoured god, to trouble yourself to come to my aid?” The god replied, “I was moved by the fact that in the past, when you practiced archery on the range, you never once hit me with an arrow!”

That’s Preposterous! (from In Praise of Laughter)

Li-ko, in an attempt to improve his vocabulary, overheard someone say “How can there be such a principle!?” (in English: that’s preposterous!). Falling in love with the phrase, he went about saying “that’s preposterous” wherever he went. While crossing a river on a ferry one day though, he happened to forget the phrase, so he wandered the ferry trying to remember it. The ferryman asked him if he had lost something, and Li-ko replied, “I have lost a sentence”. “Whoever heard of losing a sentence,” said the ferryman, “that’s preposterous!” “Ahh! You found it for me,” exclaimed Li-ko. “Why didn’t you say so earlier?”

Moving The Statues of Lao-Tzu and The Buddha (from Have A Good Laugh)

There was a certain temple that had clay statues of the scholar/god Lao-Tzu and the Buddha himself, set side by side. Upon seeing this, a Buddhist monk said, “The great teachings of the Buddha are profound. How could you disrespect the Buddha by placing him to the right of Lao-Tzu?” So he moved the Buddha to the left. Upon seeing this new arrangement, a Taoist priest exclaimed, “The Doctrine of the Tao deserved the utmost respect. How can Lao-Tzu be placed to the right of the Buddha?” So he moved Lao-tzu to the left of the Buddha. This continued on, back and forth relentless, until the clay statues crumbled. “You and I were getting along fine,” said Lao-Tzu with a laugh to the Buddha, “until those two nitwits wrecked us with their constant moving!”

Geomancy (from Grove of Laughter)

Chung, who firmly believed in divination through casting earth and reading its texture, always consulted a diviner before he made the slightest move. One day, as he leaned against an earthen wall, it toppled over upon him. Pinned beneath it, he called out for help. His family, knowing of his love for geomancy, consoled him, saying, “Just wait, we will consult the master as to whether today is an auspicious day for moving dirt!”

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(source texts from The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature (Victor H. Mair (ed.), 1994, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 658-670).

 

Saxophone Multiphonics Chart

重音ノート

For many years I have often used “multi-phonics” on the saxophone, fingerings which produce two or three notes simultaneously in a dense cluster. Though these note clusters are invariably dissonant, when played properly they create a rather beautiful “fog” of sound, and thus every creative saxophonist should be familiar with them.

In the past (many years before the Internet) I had to experiment with a lot of fingerings in order to cobble together a set of working multiphonics that I knew worked on all the main four saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone). But I eventually compiled the set of fingerings pictured below by 1998 right before I left Canada to live in Japan… which was fortuitous, as I became heavily involved in the Kansai Onkyoukei scene that was developing at the time.

Be forewarned though. Multiphonics initially sound like “yelling”: all scratchy and scream-y when you first begin to try them. Once you learn to hold them steady with a consistent air stream though, you will hear what they are capable of as complex, expressive phenomena.

multiphonics

The multiphonics shown above this paragraph are two of the nicer sounding ones a person can choose (an empty circle = don’t press that key, the side names = palm, spatula, side, and/or end keys). The top one should come out sounding like a bit like a diesel engine idling, while the lower one should come out sounding like a low pitched electric razor. It takes a bit of practice playing multiphonics, as you have to direct the air through the mouthpiece at a specific speed, and at a slightly different angle from a normal note. These are micro-adjustments, and eventually your mouth and mind will naturally work out the right position.

[Note: I gave them all names to remind me of what they sound like to me, but if you hear them differently I suggest you transcribe and rename them yourself to help your memory.]

 

 

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Saxophone Quarter-Tone Charts

微分音音楽

The saxophone, invented and patented in Belgium in the mid-1800s, was not designed with anything more than a semi-tone in mind, measured against the Western chromatic scale: C, C#, D, E♭, etc. As such it is not designed to play tones smaller than a semi-tone (the note between C and C# for example). As notes of this size (quarter-tones) sound “out-of-tune” when compared to what we are used to, music from places like Turkey, Lebanon, or traditional music from Japan for example sounds exotic. 

To make a long story short, during my M.A. studies (2003 – 2005) I developed the quarter-tone charts pictured below (for my Yamaha YSS – 62S soprano saxophone) in order to study and perform traditional Arab and Persian classical music. Since then dozens of professional musicians have used them, including the World Music Ensemble at Berklee College in Boston. The fingerings and exact pitches take some getting used when working them into one’s scale practice, but my charts at least make such study possible. A lot of people ask me for these charts, so I am (once again) putting them up for you all to download and use. 

I am also including a sample of one of my quarter tone scale exercises, in this case a basic ascending and descending pattern that helps one get a feel for moving from note to note. Starting the note encased in a square, one moves two quarter-tones up then back, then proceeds to move two quarter-tones down and back, essentially pivoting around a central point. As you are learning new fingerings that will now be “interrupting” how you regularly move from semi-tone to semi-tone, this kind of exercise retrains your fingers and mind on a fundamental level. 

Note: if you are using these charts to play traditional Arabo-Persian music, make sure you remember to use them judiciously. Such quarter-tones are particularly powerful when nuanced and reticent, so use them wisely.

 

QTC 1

QTC 2

Double Bass Drumming (And How To Plan Your Studies)…

dbdp

Though this post is about double bass drum pedals, it is really about organizing your time over multiple years, to achieve your creative goals. But what better way to study both than through the exhausting and always exciting study of playing double bass drum pedals.

There are major benefits to the careful and meticulous study of double bass drum pedal playing on the drums in particular: significant advances in your balance, focus, control, timing, consistency, and feel (grooves) across the entire drum set as you develop new, more advanced levels of technique and musicality. As you most likely have developed greater strength and endurance in your right leg/foot due to constant pedal usage, your left foot and leg now have a chance to catch up, better developing both your high hat and left bass drum pedal abilities, and your overall skill on the kit (balance). Your new found need to bring your left foot up to speed and strength with your right foot demands focus; carefully considered exercises that build strength, endurance and musicality. Thus, you must have full control of your ability to play both foot rudiments and combined hand/foot rudiments with ease now that your left foot is a more active participant in your music making. Once you have better control your timing will then need to be refined, as you will now need or be able to play syncopated patterns and sight read drum charts using both your feet like you would your hands. If you then develop the ability to consistently play withal the previously mentioned ideals, you will develop a greater level of musicality, a great feel on the drums which will provide greater opportunities to both express yourself creatively and/or make more money as a professional drummer.

A word of warning though: double bass drum pedals come with an enticing trap. It is easy to get addicted to the thrill of rapid double bass drum playing like the kind that occurs in heavy metal music, which is really fun… but can be greatly overdone. Double bass drum playing must be accompanied by restraint and taste if it is to be most effective, so be very judicious when jamming or performing with double pedals. Nothing kills a great song or mood like a drummer so addicted to double bass drum playing that they inject it into any/every song they can. I have seen absolutely amazing technical drummers lose any chance of ever having a career because they were too in love with their feet.

The key to developing a rock solid and fantastic set of double bass drums skills is to have a weekly plan that is spread over a couple of years. And the best way I have found to do this is to set your goals at the end of the schedule and work back from there, arriving at the present and the first few (small) steps required to start on the journey. That way one does not try and get too much done at the beginning and burn out. This is why so many people don’t continue on with, for example, studying the Japanese language. It is easy to get excited about taking Japanese 101 in college or starting a home study package. It is fun and easy at first, but then as the demands increase it is less fun, and thus the passion disappears and people tend not to continue on. Thus you almost invariably see 50 people taking Japanese 101, 30 of those same people taking 201, ten of them taking 301, and maybe five taking 401. Then there are two taking 501 at the Master’s degree level while also taking translation and literature courses. All shared the same passion in 101, and a few only needed the 101/201 courses, but most that stopped could have gone on to 501 as part of heir studies or passion, but gave up because it was too much, too soon for them. I even know a person who has started and dropped Japanese 101 every year for over a decade because they always fell into the same trap of trying too hard immediately.

But planning for fluency years in advance has the great advantage of not needing intensive action in the initial weeks, giving you a more patient, focused mental state in which to thrive and work on what is required. It is also like Olympic middle and long distance running. Younger runners almost inevitably “jack rabbit” out in front in the first few laps, because it feels exciting and thrilling to be leading the race, feeling like you are winning. But the victors always linger at the back of the pack, letting the less experienced runners tire themselves out before slowly taking down single runner after runner ahead of them through encroaching and slowly pulling ahead, which is psychologically distressing for the runner losing their steam as the race wears on. By the end of 5000 or 10, 000 meters the champ will be attacking with the same power the jack rabbits did at the beginning, which is why the champs are champs and the jack rabbits end up in last. I know, I was always the guy who jack rabbited… so I know from first hand experience just how ineffective a strategy that is. I learned from track that it was in my best interest to effectively do my best (5th), rather than sprint to 20th!

So in order to not jack rabbit our way out of sticking to a long-term double bass drum pedal plan, I always do the following:

  1. Set my long-term goals for December 31st of the year in which I want to achieve X, Y, and Z…writing what I need to be doing each week of the month: Dec. 23 – 31, then Dec. 16 – 22, Dec. 9 – 15, and finally Dec. 2nd to the 8th.
  2. Then I need to decide what I should be doing in November of that year to achieve what I want by December 2nd. 
  3. Then decide in October what it is I will need to be doing in order to arrive at what I need to be doing in November, and so on, all the way back to today.

For example, my overall goal for my drumming is, by the time 2020 begins I want to have equal strength and stamina in my left foot as I do my right, or the closest thing to it I can achieve in the next 2 ½ years. I also want to have both great hand/foot coordination and independence between my hands and feet. It may not be possible, but if I plan properly I will get as close to these goals as humanly possible without injuring myself or giving up along the way.

So to arrive at these overall goals, I must them find more specific ways to actually define what these goals actually mean in terms of practicing, thus the drum ideals I previously mentioned: better balance, focus, control, timing, consistency, and feel. Thus, to have something organized and practical to work on I must find or even make the resources necessary to have better balance, focus, etc. Having reverse engineered my weekly plan from December 31st, 2019 back wards, I must start in Week One (e.g. July 10 – 16), where all that is required of me is simple exercises to begin acclimating my left foot and various muscles to the new, increased level of activity. My job is not to star working on rudiments and patterns and X, Y, and Z, but carefully introduce this new demand on my left foot and leg muscles, which had previously only developed in a manner appropriate for the use of the high hats exclusively.

This means that I will now be activating my gastroc-soleus (calf) muscles in a new way, especially the flexor halias longus and/or the exterior digitorus longus, and their related tendons and stabilizing muscles. My forefoot will now be more active too, thus I have to be careful not to over exert my tibialis-anterior muscles, or the back and hip muscles now increasingly prone to stress (my ilipsoas muscle group, which can also exert a pull on my lower back and lumbar vertebrae). Since these muscles are being actovtaed in a new way, I don’t know how much practice they can handle in a single session without becoming overexerted and thus stiff, causing significant problems with my tendons and stabilizing muscles as well. So a slow start into practicing will guarantee not only not mentally burning out, but not physically burning out either (over bot the short and long term) as your body figures out what it can or cannot handle in the first week.

After a week of simple rudiments (out of the George Lawrence Stone snare drum rudiment book) done slowly with a metronome in 30 minute a day session only, stretching for 30 minutes before and after each session on the drums. Week Two (July 17 – 23) then means you can now assess what muscles are feeling good or bad and take your cues from there. You can now move the metronome up one click, and add an extra fifteen minutes to your practice session (45 min.) with a 30-minute stretching session before and after. The stretches should be light and relaxing: gentle, basic stretches approved by your family doctor. The idea is not to become a drum athlete, but flexible and relaxed, so you don’t injure yourself through improper technique or over-exertion This also includes taking one day off from practicing, just to let your muscles have a chance to rest and your brain to process the new skills and information being developing in your daily study.

Then in Week Three (July 24 – 30) you can begin playing 30 minutes of rudiments with a metronome and another 30 minutes playing along with a CD, finding new ways to play the standard (non-double bass drum) beats with two bass drum pedals. This now starts to suggest ways to make music with your pedals, rather than merely develop technique without a feel for when and where the two pedals can add musical value to a song. Thus, I recommend playing along with traditional music that does not have double bass drum pedals in it, for example the music of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Greek folk music, 80s pop like Duran Duran, and so on, to get a sense of why the double bass drum pedals don’t work in some ways and actually work in others. This mya be frustrating but it shows just when and where you should start thinking about using double bass drum pedals to enhance the rhythmic feel of a song, rather than merely learning how to make “thundering bass drum sounds”.

Working backwards from 2020, I have ended up planning the weeks of July 31 – August 6, August 7 – 13, August 14 – 20, August 21 – 27, and so on all the way to the week of December 23rd to the 31st, 2019… doing at least 30 minutes of basic rudiments every day, and adding a new set of exercises and studies each week that will have led to me to be able to sit down at my drum kit and play fluid, exciting multi-limb musical patterns and beats with ease, power, and grace.

Another benefit to this system is the ability to change course at any time. As you practice you may find new avenues to explore in your playing that you can add to your schedule, or switch from one week to another, giving you flexibility in your studies while still sticking to your overall goals. Thus I may switch out September 18 – 24 with October 2 – 8, as I may be working on a new pattern related to that week more so than the other.

As I have used this system many times in the past, I am sure it will either help you develop your own unique practice strategy or be a useful template when preparing to write a novel, compose a symphony, plan a painting or any other creative endeavor. Developing a long-term weekly plan is essential to long-term success, and I highly recommend you try it today.

Sample Double Bass Drum Practice Plan

*some of the ideas are in my own drum short hand writing, so if it doesn’t make sense, just ignore it.  

2017
July 10 – 16: Basic Foot Rudiments: Strength/Conditioning.
July 17 – 23: Increase Metronome, Alternating Foot Patterns.
July 24 – 30: Rudiments, Greek folk/West African pop study.
July 31 – Aug. 6: Rudiments, Triplet Patterns.
Aug. 7 – 13: Rudiments: Foot/Hand Ratios (6:5, 4:3).
Aug. 14 – 20: Rudiments: Foot/Hand Ratios (5:4, 5:2).
Aug. 21 – 27: Rudiments: Jazz Melodies.
Aug. 28 – Sept. 3: Rudiments: Jazz Melodies.
Sept. 4 – 10: Rudiments: Foot/Hand (lrl L: triplet/quarter).
Sept. 11 – 17: Rudiments: Ostinato (LRLR: Stone Rudiments).
Sept. 18 – 24: Rudiments: Ostinato (R*L Triplet with rest).
Sept. 25 – Oct. 1: Rudiments: Ostinato (LRLR: Stone Rudiments).
Oct. 2 – 8: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Pattern (L l R r).
Oct. 9 – 15: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Pattern (R r L l).
Oct. 16 – 22: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Pattern (R l r L).
Oct. 23 – 29: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Pattern (r L R l).

Oct. 30 – Nov. 5: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Pattern (L r l R).
Nov. 6 – 12: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Stone Rudiment (LRLR lrlr).
Nov. 13 – 19: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Stone Rudiment (LLRR llrr)
Nov. 20 – 26: Rudiments: Hand/Foot Stone Rudiments (LRLL lrll)
Nov. 27 – Dec. 3: Basic Rudiments: (LLRL llrl).
Dec. 4 – 10: Basic Rudiments: Hand/Foot Roll (L R l r)
Dec. 11 – 17: Basic Rudiment: Hand/Foot Rolls (L R l r)
Dec. 18 – 24: Basic Rudiments: Hand/Foot Rolls (L R l r)
Dec. 25 – 31: Basic Rudiments: Hand/Foot Rolls (RL l r)

2018
Jan. 1 – 7: Rudiments: Odd Numbers (LRLRL).
Jan. 8 – 14: Rudiments: Odd Numbers (LRLLR).
Jan. 15 – 21: Rudiments: Odd Numbers (LLRLR).
Jan. 22 – 28: Rudiments: Odd Numbers (RLRLL).
Jan. 29 – Feb. 4: Rudiments: Odd Numbers (RRLLL).
Feb. 5 – 11: Rudiments: Triplets (LLL RRR).
Feb. 12 – 18: Rudiments: Triplets (LRL LLR).
Feb. 19 – 25: Rudiments: Triplets (RLR LLR).
Feb. 26 – Mar. 4: Rudiments: Triplets (RRR LLL).
Mar. 5 – 11: Rudiments: Seven (LRLR LRR).
Mar. 12 – 18: Rudiments: Seven (RLRL RLL).
Mar. 19 – 25: Rudiments: Seven (LLLL RRR).
Mar. 26 – Apr. 1: Rudiments: Seven (LRLR LLR).
Apr. 2 – 8: Rudiments: Eighths/Triplet (LRLR LLL).
Apr. 9 – 15: Rudiments: Eighths/Triplet (LLRR LRL).
Apr. 16 – 22: Rudiments: Eighths/Triplet (LLLR LRL).
Apr. 23 – 29: Rudiments: Eighths/Triplet (LRRL LLR).
Apr. 30 – May 6: Rudiments: Eighths/Triplet (LLRL RLL).
May 7 – 13: Rudiments: Triplet/Eighths (LLL LRLR).
May 14 – 20: Rudiments: Triplet/Eighths (LRL LLRR).
May 21 – 27: Rudiments: Triplet/Eighths (LLR LRRL).
May 28 – Jun. 3: Rudiments: Triplet/Eighths (RLL LLRL).
Jun. 4 – 10: Rudiments: Non-Linear (LRL lr L)
Jun. 11 – 17: Rudiments: Non-Linear (L lr R)
Jun. 18 – 24: Rudiments: Non-Linear (R rl L)
Jun. 25 – Jul. 1: Rudiments: Non-Linear (L lr L).

etc, etc…

Happy Independence Day!

am flag

 

Happy Independence Day to my American readers!!

Today we celebrate your 241 years of independence, when the Continental Congress declared the 13 colonies of America free from British rule by vote on July 2, and then by official proclamation on July 4th, 1776.

The United States of America has given me so much opportunity, so many tangible and intangible rewards as a musician-composer… and most of what I love as a creative person was conceived or made in the USA: Star Wars, jazz, blues music, Diet Pepsi, the 1961 Corvette, various stand up comedians, the drum set, and the list goes on. 

You truly are a great nation and I DEEPLY appreciate what you have given and done for me.

Here’s to another 241 years of peace and prosperity shared between our two great nations, and may God indeed bless America!

Happy CANADA Day!

cdn 150

Bonne Fête Canada!

Today is the 150th birthday of my beloved homeland.

I am VERY happy, proud, and EXTREMELY lucky to have been born in Canada, especially in the mid-20th century. I say lucky because none of us get to choose the circumstances of our birth, and thus I really won the Geographical Lottery of Existence.

To be Canadian is really special. We have built a worldwide reputation for being polite, funny, and commonsensical. Plus, you know that you are on the right path when about the worst thing anyone can say of Canada is that health care here is only nine-five per cent free of charge!

There is so much more I can and/or might say, but probably the best thing I could say is, let’s all continue to work hard to make the world a safe and clean place where we all can feel as good about our own homeland as I do about big, wide, clean, friendly, majestic, safe, fun, creative, welcoming Canada.