Michael D'Agostino

Drummer, vocalist and Songwriter


More then the notes

Posted by on 12:28 am in Drumming | 0 comments

Written music, only points to the possibilities.  The subtleties. Nuances. A merer roadmap that is subject to human intervention.  At least at this date.  Hopefully robotic music won’t take over like so many feared it would in the 80’s.   So good to practice with the metronome yet one must generate good musical time without it. While the drum machine since the 80’s has produced many different degrees of quantization, and later on programming  simulated human randomness.  A measure of sixteenth notes in 4/4,  those 16 notes...

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Drumming for the music

Posted by on 10:19 pm in Blog, Drumming | 0 comments

Veteran drum master Dennis Chambers speaks eloquently on the drummers role in playing music.  All too often technique is masked for music. Technique is a means to an end,  helping one articulate musical ideas that are musically relevant to the music being played.  This video is a music see for all young drummers.  

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Too Many Notes

Posted by on 4:47 am in Drumming | 0 comments

In the epic battle over technique, for it’s own sake it always falls far short. Yet technique married with the connection that happens when you are “in the zone”, where real ideas flow and churn like hot lava bubbling and boiling,  now we are making music.  Listening and responding,  technique becomes subservient,  only what is necessary is used. Like a brick it can be used to build a house or break a window. But what does that word virtuosity really mean. Websters defines it as 1. a taste for or interest in virtue  2....

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Skin in the woods

Posted by on 4:42 am in Drumming | 0 comments

The art of making smaller.  So much has been the bigger wins but not one u-haul will you see behind a hearse. So much competition in areas that are not meant for it. Competitive eating contests?  Competitive drumming: the fastest drummer wins?  the mass’s get tuned to mediocrity and then crave it, they’ll fight you for it. There are instruments to measure how many strokes a drummer can play in a minute. But the drum is a tool for communication. It’s an instrument to connect. Miles Davis could floor you with one note.   That...

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Another framedrum hike

Posted by on 4:39 am in Drumming | 0 comments

Did another nice hike with a frame drum http://www.rhythmweb.com/frame.  Walking became the metronome http://www.metronomeonline.com.  Each step a beat of whatever value needed . On the frame drum I improvised for a nice long while,  then got down to some specifics I wanted to work on.  That day it was 3.  I was feeling a longer 3 ,  so each step was an eighth note.  6 steps to a measure.  I worked on playing 4 notes on the frame drum over  the 3 beats (steps),  this gives you  a familiar 4 against 3  polyrhythm common in jazz and  african...

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Hiking with a frame drum

Posted by on 4:34 am in Drumming | 0 comments

I took a frame drum with me on today’s hike and started working on different subdivisions. I was walking at an even pace and each step was a quarter note. I worked on everything from eigths to triplets, sixteenths to sixteenth not triplets, 5 over 1,  5 over 2, etc, and I improvised all sorts or permutaions while I walked. There is a small stream with a little waterfall in the back and I made a seat out of some rocks.  I wanted to breathe in the negative ions from the water.  I sat there and worked on different rhythms for about a ½...

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Steering the ship

Posted by on 4:32 am in Drumming | 0 comments

I was remembering recently the concept of the warrior and how some of the images connected with it can be helpful to remember while we navigate through our day.   Not the warrior image connected with war or violence.  This image of the warrior is connected to the inner dialogue we have with ourselves and how we respond to all that naturally flows in and out of our day.   Being able to give the appropriate response to any given circumstance, expending just the right energy to match the situation,  never more or less.  A few of the images the...

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The power of holding a groove

Posted by on 4:24 am in Drumming | 0 comments

Holding a rhythm lets heat build as the repetition reveals it’s magic. Morphing of this rhythm can still occur with a keen sense of “do not disturb” the groove. As we strive for an ever increasing depth of groove and are consciously able to hold it, direct it’s course, an actual lift is felt in performer and listener. It’s easy to loose the golden thread of a deep groove, as thoughts clamor for attention but with practice you can physically feel the results of holding and maintaining a deep groove. Staying relaxed, centered and focused as you...

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Breathing and drumming

Posted by on 3:08 am in Drumming, Posts | 0 comments

The breath, an intimate rhythmic cycle, happens mostly unnoticed. It is common to breathe in only a small portion of our capacity. If any tension arises in our body our breathing can become short and shallow leading to a loss of the groove and focus. Deeper breathing as we drum helps release this tension. As we relax, we become more centered focused and balanced. Deeper breathing helps increase our energy level for any playing required. This breathing should happen “in the background” helping us stay in the now of our playing. Begin by...

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Stanley Jordan and Friends

Posted by on 9:31 pm in Blog, Drumming | 0 comments

The week after 9/11 was beyond strange. The country was in shock at what happened. Airspace was shut down. First time I never heard a plane overhead all day let alone the week.  I saw a tee shirt that showed a nuclear explosion going off as a women was running yelling “My Career”.  How can one think about one’s personal stuff when this was going on and so many lives were effected forever. I was scheduled to fly to San Francisco to play drums with Stanley Jordan, Kai Eckhardt for a Music in Schools Today concert on...

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