You Got This: Buying a Drum Set Online

Giving the gift of experience is one of the best ways to show a person you care, particularly when that person is yourself. As a musician, a drummer, the experience of drumming can be one that is incomparable to any other instrument, but, what is a drummer to do when she or he needs a new drum set? Where is the best place to experience the different snare drums and kick pedals on the market? As a savvy shopper with a love for rhythm, how can a drummer find the perfect drum set to complete that perfect groove?

On the Internet, of course.

Jam Sessions Provide Music Therapy for Young People with Special Needs

Students love wailing on hand drums during the drum circle
portion of Banding Together's weekly jam sessions.
Photo from www.utsandiego.com.
X8 Drums loves a good jam session, especially one that bonds and empowers a group of people. San Diego-based non-profit Banding Together takes the power of jam sessions and drum circles further by providing free music therapy for young men and women with developmental disabilities. Once a week during the 12-week program, professional musicians volunteer to host a jam session using various instruments, including hand drums.

But the jam sessions are about more than playing music. Banding Together uses music to help the students develop verbal, motor, and social skills, including working with others, self control, making friends, and appropriate group behavior. The musicians also double as mentors and are just as excited to be there as the students. In fact, every musician who volunteers comes back!

What we love most about Banding Together? Julie Guy, a neurological music therapist who co-founded Banding Together, told UT San Diego that the hand, bongo, and djembe drums are the students’ favorite instruments. We totally understand. Hand drums are energetic, easy to play, and just plain old fun. They’re also great for community bonding, learning, and therapy. For example, teen student Casey Conley only participates in the jam sessions during the drum circle, which has become a way for him to communicate. Many other students also seem to come alive during the drum circle.

If you live in the San Diego area and would like to volunteer with Banding Together, visit bandingtogethersd.org for contact information.

Lannaya Drum & Dance Ensemble Brings West African Arts to Austin

Lannaya brings the arts and culture of West Africa to Austin
through entertaining and educational drumming and dancing
performances and workshops. Photo from www.lannaya.org.
You don’t have to travel to West Africa to immerse yourself into its unique arts and rich culture. Thanks to organizations like Lannaya, you can experience the rhythms and dances of West Africa right here in the U.S. - more particularly, right here in Austin.

Founded by African Master Drummer Alseny Sylla and New York-based choreographer Suzannah Kincannon, Lannaya is a non-profit arts organization that preserves African Diaspora Arts and educates the local community on West African arts and culture through multicultural performances, workshops, and social interactions.

Performance company members, including both musicians and dancers, work with guest artistic collaborators to create pieces that will entertain audiences while best displaying West African arts and their cultural significance. Company members have performed in Austin and throughout Texas. They’ve even performed at the local Austin City Limits music festival.

In addition to stage performances, Lannaya provides team-building activities and entertainment for conferences, hosts parties and other events, and provides workshops of the general public. Lannaya also offers performances (both entertaining and educational) and workshops for schools, including Kindergarten through 12th grade students and university students. For upcoming performances or programming information, visit www.lannaya.org.

X8 Community Drummer Spotlight: Lisa C.



People are often surprised when they hear I'm taking up drumming. They say, "You're getting older. Do you feel behind?" Well, I'm pretty sure drumming opportunities won't expire like a hot day spa Groupon. True, I didn't start as a teen. I didn't geek out on a drum kit for 6 hours a day during summer break. And I likely won't be the next Neal Peart or Buddy Rich.

I drum because it moves me. It moves my body - literally feeling the groove push my limbs to stomp and sway and pop. It moves my soul--makes me feel something with no words or attempt to influence. And it moves my mind - especially at a big community jam where a giant, rich, imperfect groove puts me in a trance. It's one of the only times my busy mind stops racing and goes into a completely relaxed, blissful mode.  Ahhh drumming. You with a djembe or a shaker. You, experiencing and creating laughter, movement, and rhythm that moves you well beyond the moment. That's where your creative groove lives.

As for my drums, I own a bunch of things...Pearl drum set, X8 stallion pro djembe, Meinl bongos, Newl Cajon, Swan shakers, and a bucket of other random percussion.

Lisa, you are an inspiration to us all, thank you for sharing your story with us!  Drummers, tell us why YOU love drumming and drum circles! We'd love to share your story, too!

 

Drummer Jason Barnes Plays First Gig with Robotic Arm


In 2012, drummer Jason Barnes lost his right hand and forearm in a work accident. The accident seemingly left Barnes unable to play and understandably depressed, but his passion for drumming and music was greater than his loss. In the most inspiring of ways, Barnes found a way to play again using a robotic arm. During the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology Robotic Musicianship Concert on March 22, Barnes debuted his new robotic arm and gave the first-ever musical performance using the GATech robotic drumming prosthesis.

As he told audience members at the concert, it only took about three weeks after the surgery in which his arm was amputated for Barnes to get so bored that he started playing again. “I dragged my drum set out of the garage and proceeded to tape a stick to my arm to see if it was still possible to play the drums,” he said. While playing was painful at first, Barnes pushed on and realized that he could and would play again.

Barnes soon enrolled at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, where he met Gil Weinberg, the music professor and musical robot inventor who helped Barnes build the drumming prosthesis. The unique prosthesis allows Barnes to control his grip on a drumstick using his bicep and features a second self-playing drumstick. Watch Barnes rock his first gig using his robotic arm in the video above!