Many decades ago, a debate was raging amongst drum set drummers... Split into two camps, these players were arguing over the merits of the latest fad... plastic drum heads. Many of the more conservative players looked on in horror and swore that they would never stop using real calf drum heads, whilst others were quick to embrace the lastest innovations and loved the fact that plastic drum heads didnt go out of tune so easily and were a little more durable.
Fast forward to more modern times and this debate seems almost unimaginable. Plastic drum heads have now been the norm for years, However, the debate has now moved into the forums for conga and bongo players. Whilst good quality "real" conga skins are still very popular, there has been a big swing amongst players to the new breed of synthetic heads. Once again the merits of plastic heads have come to the fore, that being that they are far more stable in differing temperatures, making endless tightening and loosening a thing of the past. Now you can tune your congas and leave them....
Remo were early pioneers, and their vast range of synthetic conga and bongo heads includes Fiberskyns, Nutones, and more. For my own drums however i decided to try the Evans Tri Centre conga heads. Fitting to a pair of Pearl Primero Pro congas (11.75" and 12.5") was relatively straight forwards. A quick chat with the guys at D'addario UK confirmed that I'd need the extended collar versions, and a few days later the postman dropped off a pair of gleaming white heads.
Made from 2 plies of 10mil film with a 2.25" centre dot to control the overtones, these heads certainly had a "real skin" feel, being slightly textured. These heads are only as good as the sound they produce, and in this case Id have to say I love them. The open tone is loud, full and ringing, whilst the slaps are bright and penetrating. Im sure of course that different drums will produce different sound characteristics with these heads, but certainly in the case of my oak shelled drums, the sound is great. I love the fact that everytime I go to play them the tuning is the same as when I last left them. Well worth a look for any conga player, check them out here
Im a little late with my best wishes, but its been a busy couple of weeks. The new lockdown, whilst not coming as a surprise has nevertheless meant Ive had to make a few more restrictions with in-person lessons over in Nottingham and continue to concentrate on delivering online drum lessons via Skype... This is working for all formats - drum kit, snare drum, and percussion.
The last 8 or 9 months have been a bit of a revelation for us all, but we are all adapting to new ways of doing things, and I like many of my music teaching friends have had to embrace the technology and try to continue with drum tuition for those that want to keep learning through these dark times. Its been a real joy to me to see how so many of you have responded to this, and whilst online tuition is not the perfect scenario, its far better than the alternative of doing nothing. Many of you have made some amazing progress over the past few months, learning new beats, playing along to new songs, etc. And apart from getting more skilled with your drumming, I hope that in some small way the learning process has helped to brighten your outlook and bring some sense of normality to your days amidst all the uncertainty. I know for me, knowing what lessons I have each day is the only way I know what day it is!
This is heartening to see, as it seems things will continue like this for a little while longer. Theres good news ahead thanks to the vaccine which im sure will be a game changer and slowly allow us to get back to some kind of normality. Im hoping that once the current restrictions are relaxed that I will be able initially to start teaching in person again over in Nottingham, and then as more people are vaccinated and further measures are lifted that we can get back to lessons in Amber Valley..... seems like a distant memory at the moment!
So, lets try and start the new year off with a positive outlook.... things WILL get better and im really looking forward to seeing you all again. Meanwhile, my regular skype crowd will see my ugly mug back on the screen this week and we will continue where we left off before Christmas. If any of my existing lessons fancies trying a Skype session, drop me a line and we can have a trial run to show you what its about.
Stay safe, keep practicing, and lets speak soon!
linkDue to the current requirements to adhere to strict social distancing, I stopped teaching in Amber Valley at the end of March, and since then have concentrated on giving drum lessons via Skype. Once things have settled down with the Coronavirus I will be back teaching in Amber Valley as normal....
However....I am now able to offer safe drum lessons in Nottingham! I am using space at the Nottingham Drum and Guitar Centre, which is just down the road from the Ice Arena and Bowling alley. The drum centre has car parking facilities and most importantly at the moment it means we can have drum lessons but keep to the social distancing. The drum kits are set up around 10 feet apart, and everything is cleaned and sanitised between lessons. Face masks are also worn for additional safety.
Lessons take place in the evenings, so you can avoid rush hour traffic etc, so please drop me a line if you are interested! Meanwhile for more information check out the video link below..
Hello and I hope you're all keeping well and staying positive.
Im keeping busy and continuing to adapt to teaching via Skype, which is working far better than i had imagined! Im sending music via email so students can print it off before the lesson, and then we do the lesson via the internet! Isnt technology wonderful! Anyone who fancies a go at this please drop me a line...its a great way to use this lockdown time creatively and keep your drumming progress on track.
It seems like the whole industry is adapting... many of the music examination boards are now allowing entry to graded drum exams via video submission rather than in person... its not ideal but we all have to try and work around the current vital lockdown situation.
So, keep practicing and drop me a line if you need a hand with anything you're working on. Lets hope that it wont be too long before we can get back to normality! Meanwhile keep updated via my facebook page www.facebook.com/ambervalleydrumschool
Its been a busy few months with a good influx of new students... some really great young talent appearing which is always nice to see. A few are now starting to work towards the Rockschool drumkit exams, a great way to measure progress and have a lot of fun in the process, drumming along to some really cool backing tracks! If any students fancy getting involved in this, please let me know. Don't forget that you can buy the Rockschool books by following this link.
Thanks too for those who have started to leave us Google reviews! These really do help with page rankings etc as well as being good for prospective students to read. If you have had lessons with us and are willing to write a sentence or two about the experience (good or bad....hopefully good!!) please go to google homepage and type "amber valley drum school" in the search box..... our info will come up and you just need to click on the review button.
Im working on some new video material, showcasing the fantastic Bill Sanders practice pads... these offer fantastic feel and are the pad of choice of most of the top UK military bands. For those who want to purchase these pads, please contact the Nottingham Drum and Guitar Centre on 0115 8414148. The store incidently has a new gift guide for drummers, just in time for Christmas..... please click the link below.
Drummers Christmas Gift Guide 2017
As i seem to often get asked about which drum tuition books I would recommend to students, I have now added an online Shop to the website. Whilst I am not selling the books myself, I have made it easy for you to see the range of recommended books and simply click and purchase from Amazon for home delivery.
The listed books are all titles that i use everyday, and I can highly recommend. Please visit the page and take a look for yourself... If you are a beginner or advanced player of drum kit, snare drum, or tuned percussion, theres a book here for you, as well as the complete Rockschool Drum Kit exam series.
Please do get in touch if you are unsure and want a recommendation and I will do my best to guide you to the right book for you. However, all of these drum books are tried and tested, and will certainly help you in your drum and percussion studies.
Looking for drum lessons in Nottingham city centre? We are now teaching at a drum tuition studio available right in the heart of the Nottingham, just a minutes walk from the Motorpoint Arena. Ideal for those travelling into town by bus or tram, and car parking is available in nearby pay and display car parks.
Tuition in Drum Kit and rudimental snare drumming is available at the Nottingham studio.
Limited spaces are available so please get in touch to find out times and availability..... Call 07817 127229 / 01773 715870
Im currently available for gigs, either long term or one-off deps in the Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire / East Midlands area. Whilst I'll consider most styles and events, Im ideally suited to musicals/theatre, function bands, or jazz groups. I read well, have transport, and great gear (both acoustic and electronic set ups plus various percussion). I also hold MU Membership and Public Liability insurance.
If you need a drummer / percussionist for a show, gigs, or deps, please drop me a line at email@example.com