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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop



tifoo Thu, 05/09/2013 - 03:22

wow, they have plenty of videos !
Louisville leopard percs are GREAT !!
they must have like the coolest teachers... playing, dancing, smiling...

David Friedman Thu, 05/09/2013 - 13:16

Please tell me how these kids are lucky. OK, they're not on the street taking drugs AND they're not sitting home playing video games but based on what I just heard they're certainly not learning anything about music. Or maybe I'm missing something "wonderful"?

John Keene Thu, 05/09/2013 - 19:17

In reply to by David Friedman

My educated guess would be along the lines that I've never seen a bunch of grade-school kids in the same room with that many mallet instruments before available to them. Anywhere. So I would imagine that they would feel pretty unique compared to the usual school band situation that I grew up with.

Extra hipness credit: playing "Hey Pocky-a-way" by the Neville Brothers. I never played (much less heard of) a New Orleans second-line rhythm until I was almost 40.

David Friedman Fri, 05/10/2013 - 03:12

In reply to by John Keene

I agree with John. I think it's great that they have so many mallet instruments at their school, or whatever. AND I know they're little kids and it's nice that they're all dancing and grooving. That's positive. It offends my ears and other sensibilities the way they bang on the instruments with hard mallets using no dynamics. I just did a workshop in Poland, where a school class of similar aged kids played solo pieces and duos. What struck me was the musicality of the kids, the way they were taught that music also has dynamics and sound, That it's important to play together, etc. They had a great teacher, who was aware of these things and thought they were important enough to pass them on to the kids. AND they were poor kids who SHARED mallets because they couldn't afford their own.
Sorry to be such a drag.

John Keene Fri, 05/10/2013 - 06:30

In reply to by David Friedman

You're not being a drag at all, David. I think you're raising an important issue in pointing out that your experience was in Poland. As I'm sure everyone is aware, it's probably much different teaching music in Europe than in the United States where the cutting of education funding is a priority for a number of congressional individuals. I would doubt that the kids here could even get the funds to buy softer mallets and just have to make do with whatever they can get. In fact, I even have old mallets in good shape that I should donate to them.

At this forum, we talked about the differences between students in Europe compared to the States, and you certainly have a lot more experience on that than I do. I'm really concerned about this not only in music education, but I get essays submitted to me written by college seniors who don't write as well as I did in high school.

tifoo Fri, 05/10/2013 - 08:42

In reply to by John Keene

I liked the video from the leopard percussion, and I agree with what Tony said.

You should put a video of those kids in poland on youtube as they deserve it...

About Poland, can you tell me if they use the kodaly method as in Hungary to teach the yongest ?

thank you

David Friedman Fri, 05/10/2013 - 13:01

In reply to by tifoo

I'm not sure what method they use, or this particular teacher uses. I think he's simply a good musician and a dedicated and caring teacher who understands that quality is more important than quantity and a wide dynamic range with attention to nuance has ultimately more musical value than playing loud while smiling and shaking your body to simulate groove.

By the way, I'm also not a fan of the "Marimba Ponies", a tremendously popular kiddie percussion group in Japan, for the same reasons.

tifoo Fri, 05/10/2013 - 16:16

In reply to by David Friedman

I didn't like the marimba ponies neither,but the leopard seems more like an educationnal program to me.
Of course they use this program for promoting something... maybe education for children through music.

thanks for your reply.

tonymiceli Fri, 05/10/2013 - 15:17

In reply to by David Friedman

these are kids having fun playing mallets. i don't care what method they're using, what they're playing. how hard they're playing. how good they are, how good they are not. these are about 30 kids who know the difference between the fuckin xylophone and the vibraphone.

this teacher is a hero in my book. no point in comparing one bunch of kids to another. it's magical to me to see them having a great time on mallet instruments. it's so great about the kids in poland, and so great about these kids.

i want kids playing the instrument. i don't give a %$#^ whether they bang or have sensativity. they have plenty of time to get that together. they're dancing and havING a good time. that's all i needed to see.

:-) JUST SAYIN...... LA PORTA!!!!!!!!!!

tonymiceli Fri, 05/10/2013 - 15:43

In reply to by tonymiceli

hey david, people think we're fighting! let's go at it huh?

listen you double image fool. you don't know what you're talking about! (How's that?, you have a comeback? we'll keep the J word and the i word out of it? your call!)

David Friedman Fri, 05/10/2013 - 17:52

In reply to by tonymiceli

OK, you corny ex-guitar player! What I say goes! If I don't dig something just say you agree and we'll get along fine. I don't NEED any arguments that don't totally support my opinion. I'm right one hundred per cent of the time and you better cop to that! I crap on your flowery words of praise for some pathetic, small town teacher, who gets undernourished kids to frantically move their bodies. AND I want my vintage Lawrence Welk records back. You've had them long enough!

Marie-Noëlle Fri, 05/10/2013 - 18:02

In reply to by David Friedman

Haha!! Great comments guys!! You finally cracking me up!! :o)

tonymiceli Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:28

In reply to by David Friedman

you listen here you yamaha beginner vibe player. you couldn't swing if we hung you from a tree. get real man! you and samuels. you call that music? no way, what do you know!!! two cute little new yorkers playing they're cute little vibe marimba duets. not nearly as heavy as the stuff I'm playing. that's heavy stuff.

and by the way, my mallets blow yours away. i use your mallets to tenderize meat. that's all there good for. my mallets make better players.

and another thing, I've been carrying you long enough in our duo. start practicing. ok? hold your on when we play. get with it dude!

HA HA HA HA HA THIS IS SO MUCH FUN. your turn david. crucifY me. (ahem)

WHEN WE'RE done, let's gang up and trash a different vibe player!

David Friedman Sun, 05/12/2013 - 14:32

In reply to by tonymiceli

Dearest Tony,

Thanks so much for the honest words spoken by a true friend. I know you want the best for me, that's why you're being so painfully honest. You're right about the "two cute little New Yorkers playing their cute little vibe marimba duets". We wanted, in the formative stages of the duo, to add banjo and bass trombone but we couldn't find anyone to play with us. We were should I put this?....TOO CUTE! OK, there you have it! The truth hurts but were it not for your honest criticism I never would have had the moxy and courage to say it out loud. WE'RE TOO CUTE!! A heavy weight to carry for so many years.

And, as for my mallets; There you go again, umcompromisingly telling it like it is. The embarrassing fact it, I got the idea for the mallets from a meat manufacturing friend of Leigh Stevens, a certain Bernie Levkowitz, of the famed Levkowitz and Sons meat packing plant in Greely, Colorado. He sent me and Leigh a design for the heads that he had previously used to cure headaches in pigs! Two clonks on the head sent the pigs reeling in ecstasy. So, your brilliance shines once again with your intuitive take on the "meat" connection. Thanks for forcing me to disclose this previously held secret. I feel much better with this burden lifted from my shoulders.

Your last bit of insight turns out to be true, as well; the thing about "you couldn't swing if we hung you from a tree". How painfully accurate! How did you know? Which "Brutus" from my past betrayed me? The fact is, when I was a young man studying jazz in what is now known as Eastern Long Island, an exotic place nestled in the eastern hills, far from the great metropolis, these days known as New York, or more recently, Manhattan..........................oops, where was I? Oh, yes.(Sorry, these slips happen occasionally, in spite of being medicated). A former colleague of mine from school came into my dorm late one night, drugged me, and took me with the help of some cohorts, who shall remain nameless, and hung me from a sycamore tree by MY FEET! I awakened to the voices of these heartless excuses for human beings, screaming, "SWING, M-----F---er!" To my chagrin, I couldn't! I tried everything but I simply remained motionlessly hanging there! A pathetic sight for all to see the next morning!(I also got a terrible cold from this harrowing experience.)

So, dear Tony, you found this out somehow and now the world know the whole truth. Thank you again for lifting yet another weight from my tired shoulders.

Your forever grateful friend,

tonymiceli Sun, 05/12/2013 - 21:44

In reply to by David Friedman






tonymiceli Thu, 05/09/2013 - 19:31

In reply to by David Friedman

oh man. i disagree. they're playing music, they're all dancing and having fun together. i think it's great. and great for them. at that age, they should learn a few notes on the keyboard and play some fun things. i definitely think it's wonderful.

do you know how hard it is to get that many kids together and get them playing any kind of piece of music. and in time. some teacher is doing a fantastic job with them. i went into a few hundred schools and worked with kids. some only new a couple notes on their instruments and i had to get them together and get them playing pieces. i would travel around to these schools on grants.

this is incredible in so many ways! there are so many things they are learning. how to keep time, just playing the instrument. feeling the music, knowing when to come in.

they're not 15 they're between 6 and 12 years old it seems.

Philippe Mace Sat, 05/11/2013 - 09:00

I do not want to be part of this bad confrontation between two guys who clearly hate each other !! :-)
For real I think your points of view are not opposed but complementary. I think it's great that this approach exists as a first experience. Maybe it will give the will to some them to continue in music more seriously.
Playing a little on real instruments, playing in time, and especially playing together, this is great to develop pulse, listening, ear, also a little rigor and finally having fun !
But at the point where they are, frankly, it would not be more complicated to play the same with more dynamics.


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