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Tips that will lead to better musicianship

Let's face it. At one point or another, parents of young music students are going to witness the frustration of their kids during practice time. Shouts of "I can't do it!" and the sound of crashing instruments are quite common as the weekly lessons ask more from our children.
While we hate to see the kids hit the wall, it's important that we help them cope, deal and solve their problems. Here are four suggestions from the Ex D staff that teach parents how to do just that.
LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN'S FEELINGS - Kids tend to cry, yell or throw things when they're hurting. It's their way of letting others know that they are in emotional distress. The next time your children are having a musical meltdown, try this. Sit down next to them and simply let some venting take place. Your kids may shed tears or kick at their instrument. However, with your quiet presence in the room, your children will calm down. It's through the act of listening that your young ones will recognize that you are literally with them...and for them.
CLARIFY THE ISSUE - When children feel safe, they can often articulate the real problem at hand. So once the situation has quieted down, gently ask what tough stuff was going on in today's practice. Sometimes kids will mention specifics like reading or technique problems. Other times they'll talk about their performance anxieties or the "perceived wrath" of their teacher. While these issues certainly come up, the most common children's practice problem is this: They simply do not understand their homework. Let your kids tell you what's going on. They may not be ready for advice yet. But they're always ready for your understanding.
Moms and dads may not be familiar with how to play an instrument, yet they are familiar with organizing their family's activities. Ask your kids to show you their assignment. Then ask them to explain the lesson to you. It doesn't matter if you personally understand it. What matters is if your kids understand it. Teach your children how to take the first step towards problem solving by teaching them to recognize the task at hand.
BE YOUR CHILDREN'S FIRST FAN - Young kids want nothing more than the approval of their parents. What better way to get them over their practice blues then by asking them to play something from this week's lesson! If they don't understand what they need to play, put some music on and let them jam to it. Let the next lesson include a parent-teacher consultation.
Devote this week to the creation of more positive practice experiences for your kids. Let them play for you. No matter if it's with wild abandon or with a tentative touch, no one in the house will regret the reconnection to music.
Thanks to Ex D facilitator Becky Abramson for her wisdom and guidance on this month's Tune Up.


 Feel free to contact:


Julianne Stewart
Producer Community Saints Radio




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Evan on Drums

Ah, the seasons. Just as the movement of the earth changes them, the seasons tend to move us. Winter has us searching for the warmth of hearth and heart. Spring pushes us towards blue skies and promises of the good days to come. Summer turns us towards appreciation for the simple things in life like the heat of the sun and the cool of the water. But Fall? This season is special. It causes us to sit still and reflect on what we've learned from all the other seasons. As I began to ponder what I had gleaned from the past two hundred forty days, I discovered this simple truth: I can't live this life alone.
For me, Experience Drums is more than a business that teaches life skills through the medium of music. It's my school. Everything that I've learned about goal setting, problem solving, wellness, listening and communication skills, teamwork and serving others has come from not only my personal experiences but through the research and experiences of others. Students and workshop participants continuously teach me how to reach them in new and exciting ways. Colleagues share with me new ideas from the ever-expanding technical and business world. And the culture we live in, with its drive for success at all costs, has taught me to slow down so I can find opportunities for personal growth for myself, as well as for others. People taught me all of this. People just like you.
So, thank you. Thank you all for teaching me how important community truly is. You've strengthened my ideas. You've removed some of the kinks. Most of all, you've given me a greater sense of purpose - to teach life skills to as many people who are looking to learn them.
 Evan's sig
Evan Pollack

Experience Drums wants to highlight music teachers from all over the globe who are making a difference in their community. In this inaugural feature, we would love to share with you a portion of our interview with Kevin White, one of North Carolina's busiest teachers.  More importantly, we would like to share with you why we consider him to be one of the biggest influences in the lives of his students. Check out our Community Voices page for the full interview.
EX D: Hey Kevin! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your work. How long have you been teaching drums?
Kevin: Oh wow, hard to believe but it's been 20 years now. I started at a local music store in Greensboro, NC as soon as I graduated from college at UNC-Greensboro with a BA in Percussion.
Ex D: It's so easy for people to take demographics and culture for granted. What's it like teaching folks in North Carolina?
Kevin: Well I'm teaching in Charlotte, North Carolina, the second largest banking center in the U.S. And so I'm teaching kids from all around the world. Teaching such a diverse group of kids is one of the many perks of my job. It's really fascinating to interact and learn from them. They even introduce me to new music.
Ex D: With so many younger kids now taking lessons, how do you encourage parental involvement?  
Kevin: I've always felt that the more involved the parents are, the better the chance the student has to succeed.
Ex D: Kevin, You've developed a series of method books for kids. What prompted you create this line?
Kevin: There are so many great books out there! But I was having such a hard time finding books that were practical for young beginners. Most kids struggle with coordination and there was really nothing out there that helped them go through the stages of actually learning how to play a drum beat. So fifteen years ago I developed the "Breaking It Down" series. Parents are letting me know that they're seeing their children progressing.
Ex D: Thanks so much for your time Kevin. We'd like to ask you one more question. What do you wish for when it comes to the next generation of musicians whom you teach?
Kevin: I think the biggest thing is to keep it going. With so much music becoming electronic, along with life itself, you always have that fear that people will quit playing instruments. I hope we don't let that happen.

For more information on Kevin White, please visit or on Facebook at:

No band has had a bigger influence on pop music than The Beatles. The same can be said about Ringo Starr, the group's iconic drummer. Some argue that Ringo's temperament and time keeping were the reasons why John Lennon and Paul McCartney kept him around. Absolutely! Ringo most certainly was a team player who could provide an amazingly steady beat. However, repeated listening to The Beatles' catalogue will reveal yet another secret to Ringo's magic: his ability to play exactly what the song called for.
Here's a beat that Ringo plays on the verses of "All I've Got to Do." Mr. Starr only had to use four notes and two rests to make the Fab Four sound great! We guess you could say that's all he had to do.
Parents and teachers, we would love to share the music that's inside the kids in your world. Share with us the original beats (mp3's or pdf's) created by your kids or students. If we print their grooves, we'll send them some cool drumming prizes as a thanks for their inspiration! For more information, please contact Julianne Stewart at

Hey everybody! Experience Drums is getting ready to redo its website! We'll still be bringing you our Community Saints podcast and Community Voices articles. But we'll be adding new features like:
* Song of the Month 
* Beat of the Month 
* Links to our new YouTube Channel 
* New blogs from Evan Pollack and the Ex D Gang 
* More articles to refresh your mind, body and spirit 

We'll also be introducing you to Becky Abramson and Mitch Kiley, our new Experience Drums facilitators. Their expertise brings a new level of excellence to Experience Drums!  

So look for our new site in November. It's going to be a new experience for all of us!