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6.11.13

Dr. Paradiddles Wonder Drumporium!


Dr. Paradiddles WonderDrumporium
Dr. Paradiddles WonderDrumporium
Dr. Paradiddles WonderDrumporium






It's been a completely "Rich Millin" few weeks here in Berlin... For any of you who know me and know how busy I generally was back in the UK, well, those times have finally fought me up in Berlin...

Firstly, I had immense pleasure to host six Drum Recording Techniques Workshops at DBS Music at the legendary Funkhaus in Berlin over the last couple of weeks.  The first two last week in the DBS studios and then the final 2 this week in the Funkhaus Studio.

Me on the kit in The Funkhaus Studio

Not only was it a special time to perform and record at a place steeped in such amazing history, but the sound was quite frankly unbelievable.









A view from my seat...
















Looking down...








Secondly, I have been busy practicing lots of music for various bands ready to record some choice albums coming later this year.

Aaaaand!  Last but not least: Dr. Paradiddles Wonder Drumporium!  My new drum teaching school in the heart of Berlin is now up and running!

Dr. Paradiddles Wonder Drumporium can be found at: Solmsstraße 16 D-10961 Berlin, Germany - (Map)


I already have a (pretty much) fully booked practice room diary but am still open for students looking to learn some drums.  I also offer  drum tuning and repair services and am even considering opening a small shop, selling spares and smaller items such as sticks and skins.

I also have a deal in place with the wonderful custom made drum manufacturer, CDS Drums - (CDS Facebook) - and am able to order anything from snares and individual drums to full kits.  See their website for what's on offer.

The rooms are also fully kitted out with 3 drum kits, speakers, headphones and some beautiful Diril Cymbals.

If you would like to know more about practice room times, drum lessons, repair or tuning services, booking me for workshops & masterclasses or buying something drummy, please email me directly:

richmillindrums@gmail.com

For now this will have to do, as I am so rushed off my feet the website has to wait...

Playing!

3.10.13

Drum Teaching In Berlin

As you may, (or may not) know, I am an experienced drum teacher.  I have been educating drums, percussion, music, music performance and other music business related areas for the past 15 years or so.

Having said that, I have just had a 2 year break after relocating to Berlin in Germany and setting up my [remote] recording studio.

The time has now come however, that I am out to teach again!

I have recently acquired a small teaching studio in the heart of Berlin, (Solmsstrasse)!  I need to go and do a recon mission this week and figure out equipment needs, but I should hopefully be ready to teach there from next week! (Oct 2013)

For those interested, the price is 25 Euros per hour and you should contact me here:

richmillindrums@gmail.com

There is also a small individual practice booth which can be used for any instrumentalist (or vocalists), not just drummers, to come and make some noise!  I can rent this to you for 10 Euros per hour.

Again, anyone interested should email me at the above address.

The lesson times can be any day between 10am and 8pm (8pm finish, so 7pm being the latest lesson start time).

As well as all of that, I am also running workshops and masterclasses covering many varied topics based around drums, recording, careers & music business and music performance.  These workshops are at present only available to students at DBS Music in Berlin, but I am looking to making this more publicly available.

I am also (!) going to be running some Rock School style after school clubs at an International secondary school in the centre of Berlin, hopefully also starting later this month!



(2 years off...  and now I'm too busy to even contemplate buying GTA5 dammit...)






Update...  I just signed the lease on my very own drum school here in Berlin!  I can take bookings immediately!

21.9.13

STILLE POST

A game for (remote session) recording musicians.


The concept:

About 5 years ago I came up with an idea for a game.  The game basically being a musical version of Chinese Whispers.  ("Stille Post" is the German name for the game "Chinese Whispers".)
Since I am currently sitting in my drum recording studio waiting for that "next session", I thought now would be a great time to start the game!

Chinese Whispers, (if you didn't play it when you were a kid), is a game in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group.

As a drummer it has always been the case that I am last to write my part, or asked by another musician or song-writer to play something that they already have in mind.  And, specialising in contemporary styles I generally write a piece of drums or percussion that "fits" with what is already being played, or end up playing something that suits a musical idea.  This, after many years of playing in bands, has kind of led me to be a little creatively frustrated.  Don't get me wrong, I love playing drums so much and I really do enjoy working with other musicians loads, but the idea for the game just popped into my head one day when I was wondering how a song would end sounding up if it started with literally just a tempo.  I thought, "this would give me 100% complete freedom to just write and play something on the drums".  A blank canvas and creative freedom!  Whoop!


So, how will it work?:

The Starting Point.

The first person, or starting point, for this game is tempo and rhythm.  Musical style notwithstanding, this can be literally anything!  And, because it's my game, I will always be the starting point!

The End Point.

The last person involved has to be a producer.  Someone who gets everything that's been recorded and makes some kind of sense of it!  And, again, being as this is my game, the first round will come back to me as an end point.  If this experiment works and there is a round 2 (or more!) then other producers could end up playing.

The Bit In The Middle.

This is the musical message that will be passed along a line of musicians without any one of them hearing the entire piece until the end...



Playing The Game:

After I have created some rhythmical foundation - the starting point - I will then pass on that drum part to player number 2 (player 2 being a melodic instrumentalist - ANY instrument).  Player 2 can literally play anything they want!  This can be as simple or complex as they want to make it.

Next, since player 1 (drums) has determined tempo and player 2 has determined key, from then on it's just a case of further players adding parts.  But, the game is this:  Player 3, ONLY gets sent player 2's part.  The drums will be removed...
Then, player 4 will be sent ONLY player 3's part.
Player 5, only player 4's and so on...

Make sense?

Now, in my mind, players 1 & 2 have already established tempo and key, so the rest of the players parts should, theoretically fit!

That's the whole fun of the game though - the final outcome won't be heard until literally, the very end of the game.  No one until the producer at the end will get to hear all the parts!
This might sound amazing!  It might sound bloody terrible!  Who knows?!  But that's the fun bit, right?!


The Rules:

The rules are very simple:  If you would like to play, simply email me - richmillindrums@gmail.com -  and I will send you "something" for you to record along to.  Then you will have a limited time of 1 week only to submit your recording back to me.  This should be sent as a WAV file.

Questions about copyright and money will be ignored.  This is a game for fun.  I am not intending to sell any of this music.  In fact, since joining Session Exchange, I thought this game would be a great idea for session musicians and singers to showcase what they can do with complete freedom and also have some fun in their down-time at the same time :-)


So, are you interested in playing?
Email me!
richmillindrums@gmail.com











Still Post © Richard Millin 2008/2013

15.9.13

Latest News

It's been a busy couple of month for remote sessions.  I have been kind of inundated with work, which is great and I have been working with some amazingly lovely and talented people from all over the place!  Here's what I've been up to:



Firstly was the fantastic Morgan Finlay, who asked me to record 4 tracks from his forthcoming album, "Fault Lines".  One track I played, "The Fisherman's Son", is up on Soundcloud as a pre-release listen.

You can hear it here:

The Fisherman's Son by Morgan Finlay.

I think the album is due for release next month - I can't wait to hear it.




Next was Mike Salisbury, a groovy Blues guitarist with a voice full of soul from Florida.  I recorded one track, "Mr Green", for his forthcoming EP which will be released sometime soon.

At the moment, the song is still in the mix-stage, but you can listen to Mike's music here:

Mike Salisbury on Soundcloud.






I have also been recording drums and percussion for the stage adaptation of The Golden Compass.
This project is due to be staged next month in the UK.











Not to mention the on-going FlyCatFly project, with
the first batch of 4 tunes recorded at my studio here in Berlin and with more recording booked in for later this month, the album should hopefully be ready for a full airing early next year.




There are other little bits and bobs coming my way, but it's never busy enough, so if you or anyone you know needs any drums or percussion, please contact me:

richmillindrums@gmail.com


22.6.13

New Videos

I just found some video footage from a Masterclass I ran last year at The Academy Of Music And Sound in Exeter based around different time signatures.  I used some free video editing software to edit the tracks, so please excuse the big watermark...  Still, you'll hopefully be able to see and hear enough to get the idea.

Firstly is Blink 182, 'Anthem Pt2'.  I actually do a stick spin in this one.  Sorry.
(I hate to watch myself play...)


video


Next is Biffy Clyro's 'That Golden Rule'.  Again, I pull some really stupid face at the end...


video



Finally is System Of A Down, 'Soil'.  The very beginning of the song is missing, and halfway through I'm put off by a guitar falling off the wall, (sorry AMS Exeter - it wasn't my fault!)


video



You can see more of me playing on my Videos page.  Or, I now have a youtube channel here:
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3v6x52q101MmN8a3-BOyA
I will endeavour to update all this as much and as often as I can.

I might end up making some videos specifically to show off my drumming ability, but, to be honest I hate covers videos and showing off, so these may well end up being the only ones...  At least for now...

Rich
:-)

Soundcloud

Check out my Soundcloud here:


https://soundcloud.com/rich-millin-drums

27.4.13

MusikMesse 2013, Frankfurt

Possibly the most intensely terrifying thing I have done was to play at this years (2013) Musik Messe in FrankfurtDiril Cymbals asked if I could attend and, of course, being an endorser of the finest handmade Turkish cymbals around, I said "yes".

 Me with Mr Ibrahim Diril, The Diril Cymbals Germany team & two mighty fine drummers: Sebastian Gross and Francesco Rivabene

I didn't really think much more about it until the day arrived.  I had to leave Berlin at 4am to catch the train and by 2pm I was at Musik Messe, at the Diril Cymbals stand and already being coaxed into playing at the biggest music fair in Europe.

 Drum face!

It took me until the next day, (Saturday), to pluck up the nerve and jump on the kit properly, but I am proud to say that I did it and here is some video proof (!):  https://www.facebook.com/groups/312391103362/

(At the moment, the only way to view these videos is on my Facebook Group, but I am hoping to get copies for this blog soon)







Hugs!







Diril Catalogue 2013

8.3.13

MASTERCLASS DATE CHANGED

The Masterclass at The Academy Of Music And Sound has now been moved to 10am on the morning of 22nd March 2013.

16.2.13

Masterclass (and limited private lessons - UK ONLY!)

I have just been confirmed for another Masterclass at The Academy of Music and Sound in Swindon on March 21st 2013.
Last years Masterclass, (based around both the music business and drumming as a career) was a great success and this years, (based around drum tuning) will hopefully be just as good.
Thanks to The Academy for asking me back :-)

Maybe I will see one or two of you there?!

I am also offering 1-2-1 lessons while I am in the UK, although the spaces are extremely limited (maybe only 2x 1 hour sessions!)  If you would like to book a private lesson with me, please email me directly:  richmillindrums@gmail.com

Rich

13.2.13

Are you Fit enough?!

I was recently asked to write an article for Les Slinn Personal Trainer about the risks of playing drums if you are not properly fit and healthy enough to do so (article below).
This is a very important area of education which I feel is extremely under-taught.  This article is a very brief outline of the information which I think every drummer (and musician) should know about.



Are you Drum Fit and Fit To Drum?

by Rich Millin, Proffesional Drummer and Drum Educator.





There was a scientific study recently [see here] which claimed that professional drummers burn more calories than professional football players over the course of 90 minutes playing time. I can quite believe it. As a professional drummer for over 12 years I can assure you that it is hard work. Hard but fun.

I can also tell you that playing drums can be potentially hazardous to your physical well-being. Not that drumming is the most risky profession out there, but if you aren't properly aware of how your body works when performing such physical activity, then there can potentially be dangers...



Muscles vs Stamina



Being physically fit to perform strenuous regular exercise doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be super strong and bulging with muscles. In fact, to play the drums with control, it's all about the small and detailed movements, so having huge muscles could actually be a hindrance. Also, the muscles you use when playing drums are many and varied as it is such an all-round physical exercise. Having massive biceps just isn't enough. Understanding every part of your body and how it moves is the only way to ensure a good technique and help to prevent physical injury.



So, where to begin? Well, good all-round exercise and keeping fit in general is obviously a good idea for all human beings, regardless of their job. Depending upon your personal physical make-up and limitations (seek advice from an expert if you are new to physical exercise – exercise without advice from experts (phys-ed instructors and/or your GP) is dangerous), you should be aiming for a mix of cardiovascular and strength work.



Playing drums for extended periods can be exhausting, so having good stamina and working on cardiovascular exercise is very important. Running, cycling or swimming are very good for this. Also playing other sports like football or racket sports.



Building and maintaining strong muscles is also an important part of any exercise routine when thinking about your job as a drummer. Having strong muscles will help you perform to the best of your potential. It also helps to support each movement and so prevent over-working, over-reaching and over-extension, all of which can cause physical pain and possibly serious injury.



The other very important part of your exercise should be “staying limber”. Or stretching properly. Stretching properly and regularly will ensure you stay supple and don't over-reach or overwork your muscles and also help with muscle stamina, meaning you can perform for longer without getting so physically tired. It will also help combat things like muscle cramps.



Common Problems



I have been a drummer for nearly 30 years and professional (both playing and teaching) for more than 12 years. In that time I have encountered many physical problems myself, as well as being asked for advice from many of my students about problems they have had. Some of the most common complaints are:



  • Bad back
  • Bad neck
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle aches
  • RSI (usually in the hands, wrists or elbows. This can be in the form of joint ache, or, in some more severe cases, joint inflammation.)
  • Blisters (usually on the fingers or hands due to poor stick technique – actually from gripping the sticks to tightly and over-working the hand muscles. You will probably also suffer hand muscle cramps from holding the sticks to tightly)



With the exception of Blisters (which is all about stick technique – ask your drum teacher how to overcome this particular problem), all the other physical complaints are all due to lack of knowledge about the drummers own body. For instance: Bad posture. This is such a common problem that I would estimate 100% of all drummers at some point have played drums with poor posture. Usually, drummers will be sat on their drum stool and arch their back forward in a terrible position leading to all sorts of problems with their back or neck or both! Simply sitting up straighter will help with this, although understanding how to maintain good posture and make it feel natural is where the hard work comes in. I will explain some exercises later to help with this particular (and most common) drummer complaint.



Other problems such as muscles cramps, as I said before, can be helped by good stretching.



Understanding Your Body



Playing drums is an extremely physically demanding exercise. Probably every muscle in your body is used and it is a very good idea to get used to playing “relaxed” This doesn't mean you stop using any muscles, but it does mean that you should not be playing “tense”. For example, you could play a super fast set of notes by making your muscles “spasm” by tensing so much your muscles start to shake at high speed. Whilst this might initially sound impressive, it is extremely bad for many reasons; you could only achieve this for a short burst of time. You are effectively over-working your muscles by doing this. You have absolutely no control over how or what you are playing. You are probably going to do some physical damage to yourself. This just isn't “playing” the drums.



So, how do some drummers play so fast and make it look so effortless? Simple: They are relaxed. They are also well practiced, not only at drums, but also at the physical demands required to play “properly”.



As an example, to play the snare drum with your right stick 600 times per minute, evenly, takes a lot of practice, a lot of skill and dedication and also training. What I mean by training is using the right muscles in the right way and practicing the right techniqe so much that it becomes second nature. Relaxed. Easy.

This takes time.

But to understand your body properly you need to understand exactly what muscles are being used to play 600 beats per minute with your right hand and how to control the stick properly to achieve a nice even set of notes.



There is far too much information to go into in such a short essay as this, but, from the example above you can see that there is a huge amount of work to be done to achieve physical drumming perfection!



Breaking it Down



To break things down for the purposes of this blog:



First things first:



  1. Speak to your drum teacher about this stuff
  2. Seek professional advice from a physical instructor. These guys should be able to help you achieve all your goals and combat any physical problems to perform your job properly.
  3. Seek good medical advice before you exercise.





Exercise:



  1. Mix it up! Cardiovascular, muscular and stretching!
  2. Work all areas – don't focus on just one thing.
  3. Make sure to work your supporting muscles as well as the ones you use. For instance, if you are trying to perform a delicate movement with your tricep, then your bicep must also be used to support the movement.
  4. As point 3 above, you must remember that each movement your perform requires the opposite movement to re-set your body to it's starting point; i.e. when you hit the snare drum, you need to move your arm, hand and stick back to the starting point in order to hit it exactly the same again.



Other benefits:



Other benefits of regular exercise include feeling better about yourself, more confident and looking better!



In summary, being generally fitter and healthier by exercising, even just a little more, means that you will be able to perform better, regardless of your job or situation!

29.1.13

Touring 2013

It's been very infrequent that I post anymore.  Probably because I like to leave it until I have a decent amount to talk about each time...
So, the last post was all about remote recording from my custom drum studio in Berlin.  I am happy to say, since that post I have been very busy indeed...  A very interesting job being the most recent:  Recording the official (tbc) song for Eintracht Brauschweig FC (currently pushing for promotion to the German 1st division!)  If the song is chosen and confirmed as the official team song for 2012/2013 (which is looking pretty likely!), then I will have the pleasure of playing the song live at their last home game of the season!  Let's hope they get promoted :-)

So, that is one of a few live shows I am doing in 2013.  Most of the other touring is with the amazing Berlin based band, The Driftwood Fairytales.  They have a fantastic full time drummer, Jan, but due to other commitments Jan is unable to play and so I have been asked to tour across Europe this year with the band.  A full list of live dates are below.

The first shows of this year are actually this weekend in Germany where we will be joined on tour by Plummie Racket.  I might even raid the stage (along with Benni from The Driftwood Fairytales) and play a couple of tunes with him too!

As for everything else, I hope to remain as busy as possible.  I would love to keep the constant stream of recordings coming, I am still happily available to travel worldwide for any recording or live work and I may even have some University teaching soon in Berlin for dBs Music...

Maybe I'll see you soon at a show...???

Rich


TOUR DATES 2013:

GERMANY
1st Feb: Jugendtreff Hinterhof - Arpke, Germany - with The Driftwood Fairytales & Plummie Racket
2nd Feb: Baracke - Munster, Germany
- with The Driftwood Fairytales & Plummie Racket 
3rd Feb: ??somewhere in?? Hanover, Germany - with The Driftwood Fairytales & Plummie Racket

UK
22nd March The Swan, Wantage - with The Driftwood Fairytales
23rd March The Bear, Marlborough - with The Driftwood Fairytales
24th March The Beehive, Swindon, (afternoon kickoff) - with The Driftwood Fairytales
25th March The Dublin Castle, Camden, London - with The Driftwood Fairytales

ITALY - Driftwood Fairytales Tour
18.07.13 Southern Germany,
19.07.13 LÖRRACH
20.07.13 MILANO / BOLOGNA
21.07.13 ROMA
22.07.13 (TBC)
23.07.13 (TBC)
24.07.13 PALERMO / SIZILIEN ROCKET BAR
25.07.13 PALERMO / SIZILIEN WATERSHIP DOWN VEG CAFE
26.07.13 RAVANUSA / SIZILIEN FESTA CON LA FAMIGLIA
27.07.13 RAVANUSA / SIZILIEN PIZZERIA
28.07.13 RAVANUSA URLAUB
29.07.13 RAVANUSA URLAUB