Thursday, October 13, 2016

Brian Lynch Guest Artist Concert

Super fun and engaging day with Trumpet Master Brian Lynch.
- Transcription
- Scale practice
- Breathing
- Entertaining concert and more
photo credit for this first shot goes to Mike Henderson ... Music Booster and Concert Producer!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Centrum Educator Track 2016 Part 2 - learning tunes by ear, bass basics, trumpet masterclass, blues with Smulyan, Matt Wilson drum setup

This photo of Dan Balmer helping a student encapsulates the love of Centrum Jazz PT

Randy Halberstadt - improv session

Teach your student melodies by ear. "My Ideal". Require them to sing it!

When learning melodic phrases chunk and combine slowly! Especially the first time you're learning it.

Have your students pick out melodies by ear! Rat in a maze metaphor. 

Improvise with chord tones!!
Stay in the box. Slowly!

2-5 repeat 
Experiment with major scales

Then work on repetition games worksheet!

Repetition is the opposite of boring. 
Good example is Joe morello on take 5

Swing! Legato rules
Don't end lines on a downbeat

Upbeat accentuation is more important than triplets

High notes sometimes act as accents when playing very fast - not like Itzak Pearlman

Jon Hamar - Bass basics

Educators in attendance: David Fowler and Emily 
We’ll start with the fundamentals ….

The role of the bass in music:

  1. Underlying harmonic structure
  2. To keep time and help the band stay together

There are many potential pitfalls:

  1. Wrong size of bass for the player
  2. Poorly set up instrument

Steps for success:

  1. Stand on the right 
  2. 45 degree angle 
  3. Bottom of peg box at eye level
  4. Back corner of the bass touches the belly
  5. Hold feet in an athletic stance with toes apart and feet under shoulders

Jennifer Leighton plays left handed.

John Pattatuci is left handed but plays right handed.

Right Hand Basics:

  1. anchor thumb on the side of the finger board
  2. pull to the next string and stop/rest on the next string but when on the bottom string try not to let your thumb leave the fingerboard

Left Hand Basics:
(It took me 4-5 years of private lessons to get both hands on the right track)

  1. Thumb in the back of the neck
  2. Keep forearm straight and the thumb rounded (circular thumb)
  3. Play with first, second and fourth fingers so theres a half note between 1 and 2 and a half step between 2 and 4
  4. Always add fingers so the weaker pinky gets support

Then beginning bassists came up for lessons .. Emily and Vecinda got some great advice.
John and Gerald Clayton duet during Faculty Presents session

Trumpet Masterclass - Wednesday

Jay Thomas, Terrell Stafford, Sean Jones

Mouthpiece buzzing - complete resonance - if you get the mouthpiece to completely buzz then you’ll get the horn to completely resonance.

Resonate like a duck … the one outside my window this morning at 5 AM.

Miles Davis understood tone so well that he didn’t have to play too much to leave a big impact. 

Jay T said yeah like Coltrane on “I want to talk about you” or “say it over and over again”

Terrell said to sing everything before you play.  Sing, air, buzz, play.

One student says I appreciate hearing a new method where I don’t need more books.

Sean J said, “I’m kind of a geek … I like books”  One of my students really benefits from Brandt and Top Tones but not Charlier.

The nature of good practice requires some serious honesty.  Brenda Womack said when you’re into good practice habits you’re like a storm chaser … work on something nobody else wants to tackle. 

Sean learned “What’s New” in Db by accident.

Jay T “My Ideal” - Kenny Dorham (Key of D)

How to play fast - 

TS - Clark Terry said to play fast like you Carnival of Venice
Low volume when playing fast 
Work on all your exercises more ….
Slow is the mother of fast

How do I get more feeling in my solos?

Study other solos that have much feeling.
Darn that Dream - Art Farmer
You’re My Everything - Freddie Hubbard

Fux - audition the bass line

Jerry Bergonzi - look into his approach on how to practice

His way of talking about scales and intervals which is helpful. 
Jay T gave an example of breaking a pentatonic scale into new exercises.

Sean Jones with Dena DeRose trio - Joe LaBarbara and Chuck Deardorf

Smulyan - Blues Class

Taryn on Drums, Daniel on bass, Igor on piano

F blues with substitutions

F     | Eb7              | Db 7     | B7        |

Bb7 |  Bb m 7 Eb7 | A-7 D7 | Abm7 Eb7 |

Gm7     |  C7       |   F7      |    %   |

Bird Blues (Chi Chi)

F Maj 7  |  Em7 A7   |  Dm7  G7  |  Cm7  F7   |

Bb7 |  Bb m 7    Eb7 | A-7   D7 | Abm7 Eb7 |

Gm7   |  C7       |    F7   Dm7  |  Gm7  C7  |

Cannonball ? - with Sergio Mendez??

F Maj 7  |  Em7 A7   |  Dm7  G7  |  Cm7  F7   |

Bb7 |  Bb m 7    Eb7 | Abmaj7 | Abm7 Eb7 |

Gbmaj7  |  Gm7  C7       |    F7   Dm7  |  Gm7  C7  |

First four bars is like Weaver of Dream, Another You, Confirmation

Some Other Blues - Coltrane

F7    |  Eb7      |  F7     |  F7     |

Bb 7      |   Eb7    |  Ab 7   |  Db  7   |

C7        |   Bb 7     |  F7     |   F7     |

West Coast Blues ?

Another Type - No name??

Ebm7  Ab7  |  Dm7  G7  |  C#m7  F# 7  |  Cm7  F7 |

Bm7 E7   |  Bbm7  Eb7  |  A m7  D7  |  Abm7 Db7  |

Gm7          |  C7             |    F7    |  Em7  A7  |

Smulyan’s option

Ebm7  Ab7  |  Dm7  G7  |  C#m7  F# 7  |  Cm7  F7 |

Bm7 E7   |  Bbm7  Eb7  |  A m7  D7  |  Abm7 Db7  |

Gm7 C7 |  F# m7 B7  |  Fm7  Bb7  |  Em7  A7  ||

Tritone option - ascending

Bm7 E 7  |  Cm7  F7  |  C#m7  F# 7  | Dm7  G7  |

Ebm7  Ab7  |  Em7  A7  |  Fm7  Bb7  |  F#m7  B7  |

Gm7  C |  Abm7 Db7  |  Am 7  D7 |  Bbm7 D7 ||

2-5s up in 4ths is also cool  beginning on 2

Look up Coltrane plays the Blues and Locomotion from Blue Trane


West Coast Blues - Louis Armstrong

Matt Wilson - drums

The number one hangup is the physical setup and posture.  

But first lets talk about necessary materials.

Power toms may have caused the weird tilt affect.  Keep your drums flat - parallel to the floor.

Catholic school story about Ferraris all over the drums and there was tape on it too.  Tape covered a license plate that said “hot sex”.  

Consider these brands … Yamaha, Pearl, Remo and avoid the Gretch Catalina because the hardware is poor, tom mount will break and the snares don’t sound too good etc.  DW makes great stuff especially 

I recommend a 20 inch bass drum. 14 “ snare … 12 “ tom then 13 (if necessary), 14 floor tom.

Buy extra 14” snare heads.

I don’t like the single 10” tom.

Get good hardware .. easily adjustable throne.

Charlie Persip “Best thing you can buy is a good seat”.

I don’t recommend the bicycle seat. I only sit on the front.

Make the drummer responsible for their own washers and felts.
Fiberskin Diplomat is what Jeff uses.
Ambassadors are great… Evans are great.

You can temper the tone with a felt strip or 

Make the students make choices.  Buy T rods for the bass drum so kids can tune it.  Carry a wash cloth which can be placed between the bottom of the pedal and the drum.

14 x 20 
or 14 x 18 so you can feel the font head

Felt beater … not big furry thing.

Don t use a suspended bass drum.  Beater should hit near the edge not right in the center.

3 cymbals are plenty - 20 with 2 rivets

Matt likes an “airy” sound.  Hi-hats should be flexible.  Pick out three cymbals - two tops sounds nice … add a heavier bottom to produce more “chick”.

Zildjan new beats hi-hats.

Check the sound with sticks.  Maple are lighter … hickory are denser. 

Plastic brushes!!! Fat Cat

Vic Firth in the right hand, regal in the left (wire brushes)

medieval torture museum of ruined brushes

Use the word big not loud.

Avoid charts with slashes … learn the song!  Know the form!  Slashes are not very informative … play them the recording.

Thigpen said that the drummer is the only person who has a throne. 

School of rock - Jack Black is the son in law of Charlie Haden.  He plays them a video of Blakey and Buddy Rich.

Art Taylor!!

Put the drummer in the middle of the bone section with a ride cymbal …

Use a couple of charts that are very simple so they can play them from memory and it opens their ears!

Use some of the community resources to enrich all of the musician’s experiences … invite in some bluegrass or country artists.

When setting up your hi-hat, don’t over tighten the nuts on the top cymbal. Also make sure there’s ample room between the cymbals. 

Dizzy carried his own China boy with him for his drummers to play.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Centrum Educator Track 2016 - Part 1

George Cables plays during the inaugural Jam

I'm collecting different vantage from our participants and posting feedback to serve 2 main purposes:

1) Jog our memories during the school year when we have lost our way in the weeds
2) Help future prospective students/teachers consider attending the Jazz Port Townsend Workshop

Randy Halberstadt at the piano with Jeff Clayton listens to "Ow" by Dizzy Gillespie

Thanks to the educator track participants for contributions as time permits. The following is a stream of consciousness entries by myself and other participants.

DAY 1 - Here you go! 

First day of camp! And what a day it was! After our morning meeting our crew attended Kelby MacNayr's incredibly engaging seminar on waking up your body to play. He started off strong by leading the group in the brain dance and I was right at home. It felt like being in elementary music and not having to teach it, hah! I really enjoyed the next layering exercise that we built up together as well as the exploration of different counting methods and would love to try teaching them to my own students.

After lunch I hopped into the drum master class. While I played a kit a bit as a student I never felt the drive to pursue it and after this class I feel a bit of regret that I gave up on it so easily. Listening to 4 amazing musicians talk about something as specific as ride cymbal patterns for 45 min made me want to pull my own kit out of storage and just explore.

I then wandered over to the vocal master class which I heard had been rearranged a bit to make better use of the time (lucky me, I snuck right in.... And only interrupted a little...). Not only was I blown away by the talent of the singers but also the warmth and clarity with which Ms. Daniels expressed her observations. She described how you want to convey a story to the audience and how by imaging that imagery in your own head you can better communicate and evoke reminiscence from the audience. I feel like this can apply to instrumental improvisation as well, it's just more abstract. I also noticed a lot of parallels between the vocal and drum master classes, specifically the discussion of intent and choice. You must make the choice to play or sing a specific way, you can't allow limitations or habit make that choice for you. Simple and yet so important. After finishing up with these lovely ladies and gentlemen I dashed over to Wheeler for a killer concert then off to dinner.

After dinner I was back in 204 for Teaching Improvisation. I don't have a very firm grasp on improvisation so I feel that right now this class is much more for my benefit than my future students. lt gave me some great tools I can work with to begin building my skills.... Which I put to use for the next 2 hours! I ran back to the dorm, grabbed my sax and sat in on what looked like a low key jam. I feel like I learned as much in those 2 hours as I did all day. I got to practice my sight reading, improvising and transposing.... My theory brain hurts a bit... It hasn't work this hard in a while now.... But I am eager to try it again tomorrow. 
See you tomorrow


Bass Masterclass - Monday
John Clayton - JC
Harish Ragahavan - HR
Jon Hamar - JH
Christoph Luty - CL
Chuck Deardorf - CDJohn Clayton - JC

JC  -Ray Brown …. “if the bass is kicking you in the &$%, we are gonna have a problem”

Ask questions as many will be facing the similar issues.

Let’s play a number first.

Sings and shows finger signs … Christoph you start on a B and go down chromatically ..

ba ga doo dah …. 6 x then bomb

Then “In a Mello tone in G” I’ll play the first half, you play the second half …..

How to deal with a blister .. John Clayton said - sterilize a needle and then drain it yourself. If you choose to wear a bandaid, take it off at night.

Ron Carter’s bass book has a great right hand exercise which I do every day. (Harish)

Add to what we already do … there is no wrong way (unless it’s physically painful).

Henry volunteered to play first… came up and asked for anyone who wants to play “you are my sunshine” - Ben volunteered and played a great solo and bass line too with much authority!!

JC took notes on his Mac laptop and gave feedback from his notes after each demonstration.

“Watch the masters right hands to get more control”

Make sure you play in a musical fashion by not overwhelming your partner.

Clamp down the left hand to create big tone … Chuck Deardorf

JC … always double check your posture … I’m not saying you were or weren’t … demonstrated the leaning of the bass to ease posture in upper register.  Get your thumb behind the neck … “choking the chicken” police :) It’s actually less work to play with proper technique with the thumb in the back of the neck.

Sing and play what you sing … the music is in us … the bass just happens to be the best instrument on the planet :)

Everyone in the room does something better than someone else …. JC told the story about Ray Brown telling the story about Art Tatum riding across town to hear a pianist who played only 1 finger solos … support each other no matter what they have to say at this point in time.

Never feel insecure about your level …

Luis Ross and Kenneth Jimenez … Nardis

JC - be more deliberate when soloing and play around more with the vibe of the melody.  Ken you start to go that way by making more space … guys hand your trading off … make it a natural tendency to share it … play more melodies and harmonies in life.

Christoph - ditto about the groove - it was there throughout.  Remember that your solos need to demonstrate that you’re playing with other people .. offer your solo to the other person.
E can get a little muddy because the high octave is so challenging up there … maybe experiment in some other more bass friendly keys.  All the Things or Misty are typically called in many keys but some tunes seem to always be a bit sacred … challenge that.

CD - couple of things … Ken during Luis’ solo I felt it was a bit too busy and distracted a bit from what Luis was doing … Luis try to keep your top knuckles in line with the edge of the fingerboard.

Learn the melody and don’t be afraid to steal more vocabulary from other soloists.

JC always told me to create my own exercises! Just because you learn this tune it’s doesn’t mean it’s not going to apply in another instance on a different tune.

JH - the most intense part of some solos is when someone is not playing.  Create intensity by not playing… space makes your phrase more meaningful.

JC - connect yourself to the silence … breath, then play.

CD - I don’t have a ton to say. It was great! I also think your time was really enjoyable even though you’re not tapping your foot.  Even though its a rental, it sounds great.  The sound is in you …

Harish said … your intro was so great. It really drew me in … I would say use this as a vehicle to explore all the chords…
Steal some stuff from Bobby Timmons live at the vanguard.

JH - Your left heel is off the ground.  Stand with equal weight. Great great sound and pulse in the melody was super clear.

Christoph - the clarity of the performance was evident. Think carefully about how you approach the harmony. Check out Israel Crosby and open up things a little more harmonically … demonstrates. Think about the bass line having a shape much like a melody does. Anything from 1958 - 60 with Ahmad Jamal.

JC - Beautiful performance man.  That was killin’!

There’s no room for shy when you touch music. It’s okay to reflect the groove in other parts of your body. Lovely right arm… you give us the intensity without too much effort. Loved that you soloed first and then walked.  Experiment with your posture …

Here are some highlights from Randy Halberstadt's Educator Track session on Improv on Monday night in Room 10.

Teach your student melodies by ear. "My Ideal". Require them to sing it!

When learning melodic phrases chunk and combine slowly! Especially the first time you're learning it.

Have your students pick out melodies by ear! Ray in a maze metaphor. 

Improvise with chord tones!!
Stay in the box. Slowly!

2-5 repeat 
Experiment with major scales

Then work on repetition games worksheet!

Repetition is the opposite of boring. 
Good example is Joe morello on take 5

Swing! Legato rules
Don't end lines on a downbeat

Upbeat accentuation is more important than triplets

High notes sometimes act as accents when playing very fast - not like Itzak Pearlman

Day 2:
I took a fairly long break from jazz, not necessarily by choice but perhaps by failure to pursue it in my own time regardless of what my schedule could accommodate. That being said, the music has never left my head. It just never got to my fingers. I'd like to imagine that I can absorb things through osmosis without dedicating the hours of practice but we all know that's just not true. The first two days of camp have given me a kick start back into my own playing and feeling of belonging in the music world (and maybe even the jazz world). I think it's the community element that I have been missing for so long. It's also exciting to be challenged by some of the ideas we've been discussing. I understand the theory and get how to apply it to my instrument, I just need to get my fingers to believe me, hah! Then play it again and again and again and again... But when do we have the time?!?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Centrum Educator Track

July 25, 2016

Welcome to Centrum Jazz Port Townsend!

I’m honored to be facilitating the Jazz Educator Track this year. I know you’ll have a great experience and I am here to help.

I will be at most of the sessions indicated in the handbook for Educator Track. Additionally, I’d like to be offer my “face-time” availability for anyone that would like to ask questions or visit about Jazz Education topics.  I will host Educator Track participants one beverage this week. I’ll be attending sessions and will offer my summary of “lessons learned” and will also attempt to blog a bit so if you missed the session I attended you can get a quick summary. 

Jake's Centrum Office Hours:
Monday          9-10:30 at Centrum Office 
Tuesday         9:45 -10:30 at Fort Warden Café
Wednesday    9:00 - 9:45 at Fort Warden Café
Thursday        9:45-10:30 at Fort Warden Café
I'm good with email and am also available via text or actual phone calls. Best time to call for voice to voice is 3:30-4 PM or from 9-9:30 PM.

Monday - Overview
General info for the week
  • Clarifying expectations
  • Dependence/Independence/Interdependence 
  • Exchange info?
  • Goal setting - would you consider writing some blog posts of your experience?

1) Have a pencil/staff paper with you - or use your phone or tablet
2) Record sessions and concerts for later review and memory retrieval 
3) Enjoy the surroundings by getting outside for fitness each day

Recommended Jazz Books

Metaphors for the Musician -  Randy Halberstadt
Metaphors for the Musician gives insights into almost every aspect of jazz musicianship, including scale/chord theory, practice strategies, composing techniques, performance psychology and how to create the states of mind that produce the best improvisations. 

The Blues Scales - Dan Greenblatt
Dan clarifies the mystery of the “blues scale” and includes step by step exercises dealing with many blues scales.

Jazz Theory Book - Mark Levine
“the most comprehensive study of jazz harmony and theory ever published”

Jazz Play-alongs - Jamey Aebersold
Classic CD play-a-long series with thousands of classic standards and recordings of great rhythm sections 

Jazz Conception Books - Jim Snidero
This book series is key in helping students conquer jazz articulation issues.  Each of the contrafacts are based on classic jazz standards so it’s a good starting point for reaching into original source recordings and more serious listening and study.

The Living Jazz Tradition -  Steve Treseler
Steve breaks down many of the most essential elements for jazz improvisation with a focus on creativity. Chapters include playing by ear, rhythm, creative improvisation, major and minor tonal harmony, blues, chromaticism, modes, chord symbols, motivic improvisation and more.

Other Recommended Books

Mindset - Carol Dweck

Teaching Music - Darwin Walker

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

Recommended Websites/Blogs

John Clayton - self management link

Jazz at Lincoln Center
Nationally acclaimed organization helping to spread jazz education fundamentals through various programs, concerts and contests. 

Thelonius Monk Institute

Jake Bergevin’s Jazz Ed Blog and/or 
Edmonds-Woodway Jazz Colony Blog

Recommended Video Lessons

Learn Jazz Standards

Willie Thomas - jazz lessons hosted by veteran trumpeter

Jazz Guitar - not just for guitarists

Jam of the Week - Facebook
This is a community of folks sharing their video recorded jazz standards. I find it motivational when I’m not sure what to practice.

Cello Drones
These can be a great source of creativity and may help with your endurance, tone and intonation. 

Recommended Apps or programs

A must for students and players. It includes chord changes for thousands of tunes with digital play-along features too.

Audacity - simple digital multi-track recording software - free!
Recording your own practice or your students’ is a great process for gauging progress or collecting real vs. imagined self-concept.

Tempo SlowMo - by Martian Storm
This app will help you become a better transcriber.  Looping, slowing, transposing and more.

Dropbox (or any cloud storage)
I use this for saving and categorizing recordings, videos, compositions, and arrangements. Digital storage and access to material is easier than ever. Having a useful tool which helps keep this glut of information accessible and organized is nice.

Finale - industry standard for music notation software.
A program for folks hoping to write better looking arrangements or compositions. Professional quality program but it’s spendy!

Jake Bergevin


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Arturo - Trumpet artist lecture and demonstration - Jazz Alley

School is almost out for summer. Sometimes I find it necessary to get inspired during practice sessions so I take a break and listen to music or motivational stories/talks. I hope you may be able to listen to these tracks when you want to.

I'm grateful to the Pacific Arts Institute and Dimtriou's Jazz Alley for hosting another wonderful session as a part of their "Meet the Masters" series.  Edmonds-Woodway High School had about 20 attendees for this crowded session on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, 2016.

The following are some question and answer sound files. I think you might find them inspirational.

Topics include:
- The importance of piano
- How to deal with mistakes
- Understanding the term "Latin Jazz"
- Jazz as a language
- Importance of being curious "seek and find"
- Rhythm
- Drug Abuse
- Attitude of Gratitude

Sunday, May 8, 2016

EW Rumba Club #2 - hand percussion and dance

The circle widens at the second lesson in May at EW Band Room.

This blog is to aid and assist in a review of what happens at E-Dub Rumba Club (review) and to help those unable to attend to benefit from some of the concepts covered (spark notes).

Thanks to the EWHS Music Boosters and Kyle Humann Scholarship for sponsoring this lesson series with master percussionists: 

Ricardo Guity

Stuart Vasquez

and Steve Mostovoy

Goal: to expose EW Jazz Musicians to more diverse forms of music with hands-on interaction with authentic "Salsa" drumming artists and instructors, and to focus some energy and enthusiasm into Afro-Cuban drumming and Latin Jazz.

This Friday - May 13, 2016!! Live in our town.  This band is always amazing. Great soloists and fun.
Poncho Sanchez

We listened to this classic tune near the beginning of the lesson. Thanks Ray Baretto

We reviewed many of the basics of Conga playing including the 4 basic tones (bass, open, muff and slap) and the basic Tumbao pattern. Students worked on a practice pattern of "8 on a hand" then added the "hinge" motion necessary for the Tumbao.

Here's another review of the Tumbao.  These videos are great too. Thanks to Lincoln Center Jazz Academy and Bobby Sanabaria!

Students are encouraged to practice this on any surface if they do not have a drum at home.

Wednesdays at EdCC CLUB CAJA in the band room from 2:45-3:45 - come check this out to reinforce your concepts and meet more musicians!

We also reviewed the bongo pattern called Martillo and passed drums around the circle after a short interval so every student could get a chance to try the new grooves. 

Bells were discussed and described.  Cha Bell (smallest bell)  and Mambo Bell (both used with Timbales), Salsa Bongo Bell (bigger and often hand-held), Campana (biggest and also a global term for all cowbells meaning "Bell").

Steve Mostovoy had a nice way of explaining that the beat 2 of the 2 side of the Clave was a chance for all musicians to reunite and then diverge again.  Notice in the diagram above that all players play beat 2 of the first bar at the same time.

Bass and piano players worked on the Montuno patterns and we jammed on a Killer Joe style of chords shifting back and forth from C major to Bb Major.

Hand Percussion
Here's great video discussing the bells again.

Campana or Cincerro or Bell (timbale have "mambo bell" and "cha-cha bell", the bongocero has a "bongo bell") - the bells are played during the Montuno or "high" part of the song

Thanks to Edgardo Cambon for this excellent video on Youtube!
Focus on minute 8:45 - 10:45 for basics on Cha Cha but the whole video is great!
See minute 12:00 for the basic Cha Cha. 
See 13:25 for common mistakes.

Dance Videos for basic salsa
Long and thorough - step by step - not enough music - 36 moves

Slow and short demonstration only with music

Fun short video of the vibe of E-Dub Rumba Club with guest appearance from John Sanders

Eddie Palmieri

Last night while watching the Essentially Ellington Finals I noticed that Carlos Henriquez (bassist) has a new project which demonstrates some excellent Salsa chops.

It was especially fun to have some students from College Place Middle come join and learn.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Afro-Cuban Percussion - Session #1 - EW Rumba Club

Thanks to the EWHS Music Boosters and Kyle Humann Scholarship for sponsoring this lesson series with master percussionists: Jeff Busch
and Ricardo Guity

Friday, April 29, 2016 - SESSION 1 - EW Rumba Club

Goal: to expose EW Jazz Musicians to more diverse forms of music with hands-on interaction with authentic "Salsa" drumming artists and instructors, and to focus some energy and enthusiasm into Afro-Cuban drumming and Latin Jazz.

This blog is to aid and assist in a review of what happens at EW Rumba Club (review) and to help those unable to attend to benefit from some of the concepts covered (spark notes).

Nothing is better than listening to the masters.
El Cayuco

The instructional style was primarily Descarga (jam session). Jeff and Ricardo demonstrated and then had the students join in with their own sticks. Eventually stations for each instrument were explored by all and some materials were examined from Rebecca Mauleon's Salsa Guidebook.

There are many great videos to see on youtube of all of these different styles and drum patterns and there are many variations depending on the location of origin.

For a big written overview consider reading the overview on Wiki for Salsa


Congas - larger hand drums often played in pairs or trios on the floor with the high drum (smallest) on the left. The player is known as a Congalero.

Good instructional video on the basics of hand position for Conga Playing

Timbales - pair of metal framed drums usually played with special drum sticks. The player is referred to as the Timbalero.

Good examples for basic instruction ...

Techniques of Timbale playing - As a generalized guide line, it can be said that in the introduction and the verse of a song, the timbalero plays the cáscara, in the montuno section (section in which the the singer starts to improvise) he plays the bell and in the mambo section (horn section) he plays the cymbal. (Note: These ʻrulesʼ are not absolute and only meant as a guide line.)

This advice comes from:
which is a very detailed description of techniques and history any student may benefit from reading.

Abanico - classic drum fill which separates the two sections of a tune including a six-stroke roll and rimshot
Nice video from Michael de Miranda

Cascara - (shell) - a distinctive pattern played on the side of the Timbale - see the links above

Bongos - two smaller hand drums often played between the knees with the high drum (smaller) on the left. The player may be referred to as a bongocero.

Son Clave and Martillo (hammer technique on bongos)

Marcha - Bongo or Conga (March beat)

Hand Percussion
Guiro -
Campana or Cincerro or Bell (timbale have "mambo bell" and "cha-cha bell", the bongocero has a "bongo bell") - the bells are played during the Montuno or "high" part of the song

Of course, watching and reading is not learning so be sure to find a drum and try these different patterns.  Pick a few and work on them for several days in a row.

Pick some favorite artists and see if the grooves make sense with the track.

Email Jake Bergevin if you have questions about sessions or links