App Review from bassist Hugh Richardson

Hugh Richardson is a bass player, arranger and composer currently living in London. During his time in London he has performed among others with musicians such as Ian Matthews (Kasabian), Marc Russo (Tower of Power, Yellow Jackets), John Cowan (The Doobie Brothers), Lara Johnston, Tolis Zavaliaris (Vanessa Mae), Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Chuck Sabo (Chaka Kahn, Elton John, Natalie Imbruglia), Alon Cohen (Passenger), Kimya, Amy Studt, Leon Mitchener (Rolf Hind, London Improvisers Orchestra), Ana Free, Gianluca Corona (Al Di Meola) and Cheryl Alleyne (Courtney Pine).

Here is what he writes about the app:

This is an app that has such a huge amount to offer to any musician. Whether you are a beginner or at a more advanced stage there is so much information here!

The app is incredibly easy to use and having recordings of actual musicians gives the content so much more context. Two things that struck me almost immediately about the app were (A) the level of customisation within each groove and (B) the amount of depth and knowledge packed into each groove. This is not some run of the mill play along app. Every groove has been played flawlessly, comes with a complete score, a video of the recording session, the option to add, solo or mute each individual element of the groove, and last of all, some information regarding things such as the historic origins of the rhythm and notable players from the genre.

What’s so clever about this is that it gives the consumer something beyond the app to explore. This can be anything from the mechanics of each grove to information about expanding on basic principles of each grove (variation and conversation options) and even further listening that comes in the form of historical figures mentioned in the information section on the grooves.

All of this is supplemented by the free E-book that is available to download from the website or through the app. It gives further insight into the programme and also offers the user a chance to engage with the material creatively as it states that you are welcome to ‘distribute and transmit…remix….and even make commercial use of the work’.

All in all this is a very complete programme. Something of great depth that professional musicians, educators or those who are just curious about world music will get a great deal from.

Jérôme teaches a workshop in the french part of Switzerland. Click the link below to see excerpts of the workshop:

http://www.canalalpha.ch/actu/un-percussionniste-new-yorkais-a-saint-imier/

We just uploaded a new video, which is part of the PercussionTutor app, showing a rhythm called Afra. The recording took place in December 2012 at the www.atlanticsoundstudios.com in Brooklyn.

One of the many different ethnic groups in Cuba are the Arará people (found mainly in the provinces of Havana and Matanzas). Originally they came from Dahomey, now Benin.

Jérôme (and his 2 brothers …) play the three traditional drums Caja, Segundo, Bajo on a conga with sticks. The lead drum Caja is played with hand and stick. The Tercero which is not shown on the video can be heard on the backing track. The bell called ogan plays a typical 6/8 rumba clave.

It’s worth noting the subtle interlocking of the four drum parts. The use of the sticks creates a very short attack requiring the performers to be perfectly in sync. Is’s certainly a great rhythm to practice on a table with whatever kitchen utensils are at hand.

The transcription gives just an idea of the melody the four meshing drum parts are creating.

afra_bas_sheet - Full Score

Please visit www.percussiontutor.com/downloads for the free transcription book and the iPhone app.

Workshop in Switzerland

Jérôme and Jonathan are just back from a latin percussion workshop ins Switzerland. There are some clichés you can’t do without.

PercussionTutor-workshop Switzerland2

PercussionTutor-workshop Switzerland 1

Lalubanche applied on drumset and congas

Victor Rendon plays the itotele part with his left hand and the 6/8 clave pattern with his right hand. Jérôme Goldschmidt plays the okonkolo part with his left hand and some improvisations with his right hand. Enjoy!

5 day intensive drum workshop in New York

The goal of the intensive workshop is to give teenagers and young adults the opportunity to work with first-class New York based drummers and percussionists.

Lana Pauly and Pit Romersa with Mario Monaco, Robby Ameen and Jéróme
Lana Pauly and Pit Romersa with Mario Monaco, Robby Ameen and Jéróme
Lana Pauly and Pit Romersa with Frank Belucci
Lana Pauly and Pit Romersa with Frank Belucci
Lana Pauly and Matt Howell with Evan Gregor and Diego Voglino
Lana Pauly and Matt Howell with Evan Gregor and Diego Voglino

This workshop is organized by Jéróme Goldschmidt and Joël Heyard. For more info go to www.nydrumworkshop.com

The perfect 5-minute warm up

Max Senitt, drummer for Alex Cuba, educator and PercussionTutor endorser posted this video online yesterday:

We just tried it out – and we think it’s awesome! Get the chart here: Warm Up Chart

And by the way, a new update (2.50) will be available soon on the App Store. New rhythms, better design, improvements… and perhaps new warm ups!

New app version launched!


Thanks to all of you for the great launch we had with PercussionTutor back in July! We updated the app with new content, improved features and a complete User Interface redesign. The new companion book is also available as a free download on our website (www.percussiontutor.com/downloads).

As you’re working on the new rhythms (I suppose…), we’re working hard on our side: expect new updates in the next months with even more rhythms, updated audio and bug fixes. There are still a lot of rhythms to be released soon – this is just the very beginning!

With the launch of PercussionTutor, two amazing musicians joined our existing endorsers (http://percussiontutor.com/endorsements/):

Thanks again for your great support.

For any questions, email us, tweet, message us on Facebook – we’re listening (and we love to hear from you)!

Jonathan, the PercussionTutor team

First review on notreble.com

The version 2 of the app was only launched a few days ago and we already got our first review by Damian Erskine. Here is in a nutshell what he has to say on a site dedicated to the bass(!):

“PercussionTutor is truly fantastic and a blast to play along with. I even found myself just reading the ebook for my own reference and education. Money well spent for anyone who wants to explore these rhythms or “the original funk music,” as Lincoln Goines put it. Check it out!”

“In other words, this will help you – as a bassist – to better understand how your bass lines should fit into the context of the groove.”

Go here for the full review on notreble.com.

Jonathan, UI designer

whatittooktobuild

I joined the Percussiontutor-Team (formerly FunkyDrumTutor) in August/September 2012. Laurent and Jerome asked me if I wanted to be a part of the app, and I agreed immediately. Both are not only passionated about playing music but also about teaching music, and in 2011 they had the brilliant idea to make an iPhone app – they wanted to communicate using technology, and revolutionize the more “traditional” way of teaching music.

During the first months my task was to keep the Facebook & Twitter pages up-to-date, make some little design tweaks, basically I had to improve our communication on social networks. The app being a very niche product, it was (and still is) very hard to get feedback online through Facebook, Twitter, so it was vital to have pages online with fresh content. I was sure that by reading articles of clever businessmen and tech experts, we’d get thousands of likes on our page in just a few days. I thought that virality and buzz for our app we’re just around the corner. Turns out, the growth I had imagined was pure fiction. We were trying to communicate, writing to lots of influential people but it just didn’t work out. Maybe the app was too niche, maybe I was naive, or perhaps we were just unprepared. But along the way, we learned a lot, and we value it.

Just after a few weeks after I joined, the idea of big update came up. There were a lot of things to improve: better audio and video quality, the so-so User Interface, you name it. But most important of all, the main idea shifted from being a Batà-specialized app to a World percussion app. Why only show you a few Batà rhythms if we can show a variety of rhythms coming from a variety of countries played by some of the most amazing percussionists we know?

We started figuring out what we needed to make a better version of the app, what it would take to build Percussiontutor. The new rhythms, musicians, and a professional studio on the content side, and new features and a re-imagined UI on the tech side. I’ve always loved technology and I’m passionated about improving people’s lives with it every day. And beautiful design is, in my opinion, very important in order to achieve that mission. You can’t write great code and just put it out there: there has to be a layer in between, in order that a “normal”, non-geeky person can understand why your product or service is great and most important of all: know how to use it. Design not only means looking good, but also teaching people how to use something. So I was interested in designing Percussiontutor, and after months of learning through websites and various tutorial-videos online, I hit the export button just a few days ago. It took hours of work, figuring out programs, lots of chocolate chip cookies and litres of coffee to finally be able to design something that looks like an app. It was a very rewarding moment.

Back to V2: after sketching out the new design, emailing with our developer and several Skype-sessions we knew what we had to work on and what V2 would approximately look like. The content-related story is a different kind of story. An amazing one.

Jerome living in New York City for 17 years, he contacted musicians and asked them if they would be interested in recording rhythms for V2. Eventually he had a list with musicians who agreed and we were starting to search for a studio that could offer high-quality audio and maybe nice walls for filming. We found the amazing Atlantic Sound Studios right next to the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn. After setting up a schedule, we were ready to go – Laurent and I would join Jerome in NYC for the session in december. I thought: How cool is this? NYC… in a studio… for an app! Everything I love was united: music, technology and New York. There was just one thing that could cancel the trip, school. I wrote a letter to the headmaster, explained him the situation and got a meeting after just a week. And what a great meeting. He was like “Yeah, go to NY, play music and make an app”. I was thrilled. So again, Mr. Trauffler, thank you for letting me go. That week was one of the best of my life.

Now here we are, April 2013, and Percussiontutor will hit the App Store soon. And this time it’s not just an app. It’s a whole ecosystem, the experience goes beyond the app, wich is only the layer for you to explore fascinating rhythms. The app is the door to a world of century-old patterns, for the foundation of the modern music styles we know today. And because it’s an app, it has many advantages:

1. you don’t have to be a musician

2. you don’t have to know anything about percussion

3. it’s just a tap away

Plus you get a booklet for free, with transcriptions and information for each and every rhythm. But it’s also important to mention the third component of our vision: you. You have to be motivated, willing to practice and listen to music. Listening is the most important part of all: it’s the key to understand and to feel the music.

This is my story, my amazing journey since I joined the team less than a year ago. I learned so much and the learning process goes on every single day, whether it’s in the musical or technological field.

Jonathan

(medium.com/@drummerjolev)