Sunday Session #30: Just Relax

SEASON 3 Episode 10



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Do you tense up when playing

16 on a Hand, Double Beat, Accent Tap & Rolls?

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Lesson #30: Just Relax


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Something I write about in my Marching Percussion Playbook is a common misconception that this genre of percussion is more tense or harsh than other genres of drumming. In reality, what separates the top world class players from the developing player is the ability to stay relaxed even during the most physically demanding passages. In today’s lesson, we talk about common tension points that players encounter, and how to remedy them. When I get direct messages on Instagram or Facebook from students asking me what they should be practicing, the answer is these kinds of exercises. However, more importantly is the “how”: with attention to staying relaxed.”

Gain the confidence of the core skill set sets you should be developing!

Part I: Core Skill Sets

16 on a Hand with Dynamics

Double Beat/Stick Control

8’s with Accent Tap


Part 2: Questions/Comments


any tips for someone starting out with traditional grip?

Yes! Slow practice and start from the beginning each day. Constantly check your technique so you don’t develop incorrect habits. Get in front of a mirror!

For more info, reference Lesson #4 Left Hand Traditional


@alexgonzalez_25 How do I keep from slicing while playing? I can’t really play straight up and down.

Get in front of a mirror and practice 16 on a Hand slowly. Find a tempo where you can perform the habit correctly. Gradually increase the tempo while you continue to monitor your slice. If it starts to slice again, go back to a tempo where you can do it correctly.

When trying to correct a habit or learn something new, reference something you can do well and try to replicate and transfer that feeling of when it’s correct to the new skill set.



Do you have any advice for getting new music and having to have it memorized the next week? Like how do you do that?

Analyze and understand, practice recalling

Rep small chunks, rep next small chunk, put it together

Shift the reading to recalling ratio



Part 3: Lightning Round Q & A




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Hi, Huei. I know you don’t have much free time so I’ll get down to the point. First I want to thank you for the work you do, it is unprecedented and I admire you for it. I’m 21 years old and I’m from Panama. 4 years ago I entered the world of marching percussion but in this country there are few good teachers as far as marching percussion is concerned and I’m writing to help me so that I can become as good as you.

I have seen your videos, I even have the pdf of the first season of your periscope lessons and for me you are the best and I want to become like you, not only in the musical but also I want to be able to transmit my knowledge to the new generations in the best possible way and to make the community of percussionists increase, just as you do. I really need your help. Thank you for reading this message, apologize for the bad English and I will be waiting for your response.

– Carlos

Hola, Carlos – mucho gusto! Thanks so much for your message, and I very much appreciate you taking the time to write me. Your words are so kind, and inspire me to keep growing and sharing my passion for music as a teacher. If you really want to become a great teacher, you have to work hard and spend a lot of time teaching – it’s just like practicing drums. It’s a skill that you can develop, and I have no doubt you can do it!

I’m glad you’re finding the videos and pdfs helpful! If you’re have a specific question I can help you with, let me know and I’ll do my best to give you an answer. No need to apologize for your English – it’s great! 👍 Talk soon! 👋 -Huei

Also special thanks to last week’s Periscope Superfans – the people who watch and engage the most on Periscope:

July 1, 2017

Zachary Atkinson @Zachary_Atkinson

Frank Sanchez @ccffrank

Sketchers @sketchers8413

Jarrarie Gates @JarrarieG

MJM @Rudimental3000

HTHS Drumline @HTHSDrumline

Gordon Nunn @gordonnunn

Samples 360 @samples360

Cullen @cwmcbride62

Jill @soundhitsfan83

I really appreciate you and EVERYONE that’s watching, especially the new and returning viewers that have been watching and commenting on Facebook – thank you for your time and support!

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Huei-Yuan Pan is a Los Angeles based musician via Chicago, originally from Houston. His drum corps experience includes performing with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps (Snare, 2001) and The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps (Snare, 2002-2003; Front Ensemble, 2004). From 2008-2011, Huei served as Director and Arranger for Green Thunder Percussion, and in 2012-2014, Percussion Caption Head with Regiment. He is currently the Director of the Jumpstart Young Musicians Program at The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles. For more on Huei, click here.


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