**Help** Practicing away from the Vibes

I am looking for suggestions for "practicing" away from the vibes. i.e. sitting on a plane, or in a hotel room. I will be traveling a ton on business after the holidays. I have a couple of ideas that I'd like to share and I'd like to get feedback or suggestions.

1) Memorize tunes. I am now making some 3X5 notecards, the name of the tune on one side the chords, key and modes on the other (e.g. II, V, I)

2) Buy a SMALL cheapo USB keyboard and work on scales etc. (it needs to fit in carry-on luggage) By the way does anybody know a USB card that will help the MIDI latency for a keyboard on a laptop? and/or that would help if I tried to transpose tunes using said cheapo keyboard.

3) LISTEN! -- Charge up the IPod!!

4) Any suggestions for Mallet Technique that I can practice on a hotel sofa, coffee table, or the head of the dude who keeps slamming his plane seat into my knees?

5) Program tunes into Band in a Box

6) Get Nico to build a vibe that works like George Jetson's car. (For those of you not old enough, he pushes a button and his car folds up into a briefcase)

memorize tunes - forget the 3x5 cards i think. i think it's the wrong way to deal with learning music.

small usb keyboard - i have an ipad, and a small m-audio oxygen keyboard. it works great. and there are others even smaller. i midi into the ipad.

you could program tunes in band in a box and sing melodies and stuff.

what about a malletkat? that could pack up nice. really nice. i bet i can still get you a good discount on one.

i'm hoping nico's carbon fiber vibes will be very very compact!!!!

finally, really and honestly, if you want to learn the instrument you have to play it and work with it. there are no short cuts or ways around it. i sometimes have someone call me to study and saying they don't have a set of vibes but can they make a diagram and put it on a table. no. forget it.

i also always have business guys tell me they're going to practice on the road trips and that's a lot harder said then done. just be aware of all that.

so i think don't have any great expectations and see what happens.

so when you're away, do whatever you can and whatever you feel like and when you're home practice. just don't beat yourself up and don't make goals that are difficult to keep. that only serves to depress you.

Indianaglen, I have been playing vibes for over 70 years and all of my 18 vibrapharps/phones, have always been sitting in my cars or in the playing locations. I believe if you talk to most of the vibe players, they experience the same thing. Throughout the years, I found out that spending a helluva lot of time 'memorizing' hundreds of tunes, in front of a set of vibes, is not the way to go. Pay more attention to Tony Miceli, Gary Burton, etc., lessons and their methods to improve your qualities of playing. Definitely, put up a music sheet in front of you, play the piece as you interpret it with 'feeling' and when you have completed playing the tune, forget about it. I am sure that you'll automatically pick up playing most of the 'standard jazz pieces' that most musicians repeated millions of times. I use the BIABox program in my laptop and just play the songs as they are requested, plus put in all of the tunes that I don't have at the first rquest time.

I always have some sort of keyboard around to keep aboard any new stuff and especially for the many original melodies that I write. When traveling, get yourself a tiny keyboard with ear phones and practice the sets that you will be performing at your designated gig. Another thing, there has been many times that the room had no room for my vibes, so I plugged the keyboard into amplifier, set the lead instrument to the vibes sound, and with the BIABox in my laptop, played the gig , making everyone happy.

Just so you know, Make sure that you have a natural standing position so that you gain confidence in hitting each respective note without having to keep your eyes on the bars. Also, whenever possible, let the finger drop the mallet closest to the required note (in each hand) so that you maintain a better location control, plus moving at a faster pace.

We'll talk more if you want, Angelo.

And also, there have been many times that there was no room for vibes and I just plugged the keyboard, (with the VIBES lead instrumehnt) into the amplifier with the BIAB and

For a few years, I carried a roll up keyboard with me on business trips -- see http://www.amazon.com/61-keys-keyboard-EP-K61T-Piano/dp/B002L6MFJU for an example. The TSA was sometimes tweaked by it; about a third of the time they'd make me unpack it, but then they'd be OK.

It was useful for basic ear training and simple transcribing. I stopped carrying it only because after a few years of bouncing around in my suitcase several keys stopped working.

Tom P.

There is an app for the ipod touch called touchvibe. its 99 cents and i have it. It's not the greatest, but it will help you with scale or simple melodies.

i use a lot of apps on my iphone and ipad. and when i'm travelling or sitting around, i throw on headphones and do stuff. i have the korg drum machine on there, so i work on making odd time beats and stuff. there are some cool old school sequencers on there and EVEN and full fledge midi sequencer. line 6 makes a conector that brings the midi in. so there's a ton of stuff you can have fun with and learn a bit.

i just always am afraid that someone who is not a full time 'vibe' player is going to put these big expectations on themselves and then get all bummed out. just have fun when you travel. it shouldn't be a chore when you're on the road, i think the music should be the most fun part. listening to cds, and doing cool stuff on the computer.

man, you could sequence tunes and melodies and set up sequences for when you come home and can play the vibes!