Tap Theory - March Performances
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Author:  The_Afro_Circus [ Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Tap Theory - March Performances

So once again the Northeast is being hammered by snow. We're supposed to get something like 18+ inches today. But at least I've got time to work on Tap Theory!

Here are this month's performance videos, complete with tabs and video breakdowns back at

My all time favorite Chopin Prelude, Prelude in A, Op 28 no 7:

And a playthrough of GEPH's latest single, Whole Body Headbang:

This is the newest single off of our upcoming album, and we're currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to raise the money required to finish recording it. I'll be running a special promotion until the end of the campaign! If you're a member of Tap Theory and you donate at either $30 or $50, then you'll get a free lesson of equivalent time ON TOP of whatever awesome perks you pick from the IndieGoGo campaign here

Anyway, I hope you guys dig it. Good luck in the snow, for those of you getting hit with it.

Author:  earthgene [ Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

Sh!t gets real at 2:49. IT'S SO CRUNCKHY and DELIC!0US!

Good job sir!

Author:  AnDroiD [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

I'm so glad there's a two-Stick band w/ drums out there ROCKING THE SHIT OUT OF IT. (wish I could find another Stick player out there that GETS IT). And the unisons at 1:50...AHHHHHH! I listened to it last night, but this morning I needed to listen again to get a Hall & Oates tune out of my head.

Author:  The_Afro_Circus [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

Thanks guys!

Author:  pwrightyp [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

Awesome. Thanks for posting.

With my 9th Graders recently i've been covering concepts such as Time (both signatures and feel), composition structure, and the constructive use of ostinato and repetition with variation......... so I would like to thank you....a 5 minute track gave me enough material for a 2 hour lesson. They frickin' loved it! And for that last 20 mins we had it on repeat so they could jam with it. (They struggled a little improvising in 9 but they are 14 years old so I forgave them!)

Thank you, and great playing/writing.


Author:  The_Afro_Circus [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

Whoa Paul that's so cool! What an honor to have my music used to help the next generation learn! I'd love to pick your brain about how the lesson went and what specific things from the song you pulled out and used as a teaching tool.

Author:  pwrightyp [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

Hey Josh

They all loved it and it's a real mix of kids including musical theater singers, classical violinists, trumpet players and a rock guitarist who wont deviate from the minor pentatonic scale at all! haha

So I only saw the video about 2 hours before the class so I didn't prep as much as I could have once I decided that I would use it as the main focus. Bizarrely I had originally planned for a lesson introducing African Djembe music and the concept of call and response but saw your video and thought no way...they're having some of this!

So anyway, I just played it to them at first (no video) asked them to just take it in. The formula I use for 9th -12th graders when listening to new music is 'Me, Me, Me, Ex, Ex, Ex, Ha, Fo, Sty, Co" It's a chant I get them to learn so when listening to brand new music they learn to focus on
Melody, Medium, Meter, Expression, Texture, Text (if a vocal chart), Harmony, Form, Style, Context...rather then just sitting back and letting wash over them.

So simple questions after the first playing: What do you think? What do you like? What doesn't quite sit right in your ears? Anything significant you want to talk about specifically? And the big one.....what instruments did you hear? (they do know what a Chapman Stick is as I obviously play - as a newbie I should add, i'm a much better trombone player. Plus we also had Steve Adelson in in October doing inprov. workshops and a gig to the whole school.) Anyway, no one said Stick.

2nd playing - with a few more inquiry-led questions this time:

"Talk about the time (signatures and the feel) across the different sections". - with the aim of getting them to spot the 9/4 time sig and then the 4/4 later on, alternating, but also for them to comment on groove, intensity etc

"Describe the 'guitar' melody and how it is structured" - they got this really well, they talked about how the 'descending shape of the tune' (one said it reminded him of the Mission Impossible theme!) then used as a descending sequence 3 times before a quarter note tag brought it back to the top. Then only one spotted the inverted melody shape as an answer to that that phrase.

Then even more open questions like "What happens at 1'04?" They struggled to put into words how you used the same note but on different strings and that the timbre was different from string to string. It made more sense to them when I played them the video at the end!

"What happens at 1'17?" Getting them identifying the now 4/4 time sig, but the busier and heavier drums and as a result the overall upping in intensity.
So this led to a chat about how good music uses tension and release in balanced amounts and we talked about how you did that to set up new sections.

We talked about the use of ostinatos, particularly your bass lines. I even tried to get them to notate the rhythm (rhythm AND pitch was beyond them) of the opening bass line.

Then finally we got into the polyrhythm stuff in the final 9/4 section where the Crash is hitting dotted quarter notes against the 9/4 groove....this AWESOMELY is going to lead me back into my planned Djembe lesson because polyrhythm is all over African drumming patterns! :-)

Then I played them the video and they just loved it more. I used my position at school (head of music) to get 2 Sticks put on the budget plus a Harpejji and the workshop with Steve A earlier on in the year and have been pushing Stick and more adventurous music all year. Your video, and you as a person helped in that for sure.

At some point I'm going to look at the 4 bar ostinato thing of a 1 bar idea, 2 repeats of it, and then a variation to round off the motif. Great compositional technique right there!

It was great and I loved the fact that I just ran with it rather than the planned (and far less interesting) African lesson. I'm gong to essentially repeat this lesson with my 11th Graders next week to see what they get from it too. Hopefully they should get deeper than the 14 year olds.

I've watched your videos a lot and have really loved them; from a Stick newbie perspective, from an appreciative musician perspective, even from a comedy perspective, and this particular piece as a model on which to introduce kids to a TON of compositional devices and techniques, within a style that they really loved, it was just amazing.

Thanks Josh


PS Donation to your site will arriving shortly,

Author:  The_Afro_Circus [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tap Theory - March Performances

Paul I just sent you a PM but man that is one of the coolest and most humbling things I've ever read. Thank you.

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