Periscope Lesson Session #7: Balance, Blend & Touch

Join us for the pre-lesson hang on Periscope beginning at 6pm CST! Taking video questions on snapchat, add and send to both of us, same handles as IG: @hueiyuanpan & @dkkoning

Balance, Blend & Touch. Having technical facility and proficiency on your instrument is only a portion of the equation. One of the joys and most satisfying practices of being a musician is getting to play with other musicians. The “give and take” that takes place when playing with other musicians is a very conversational process, and as many can attest, some conversations are just more pleasant than others.

Think of a one-sided conversation, when someone only talks and doesn’t listen. We might describe this as “talking at” someone as opposed to “talking with” someone. Part of being a great conversationalist is listening just as much, if not more, than you speak.

The same goes for playing music with others. As musicians, we actually listen and play at the same time. We listen to ourselves and to the other musicians, so we can adjust accordingly.

In this lesson, we discuss how to be a great musical “conversationalist” so you can play with anyone, and provide some exercises that can be used to unify the approach
and sound of a line.

Special thanks to Devon for coming on for today’s guest lesson! -Huei


Part I
What is Balance?
What is Blend?
B & B Exercise: Calibrate Your Ears

Part 2
Devon’s Thoughts on Touch
Touch has multiple different meanings, but mostly refers to way the sticks feel in the hands when you are playing on the drum. It also affects how much smoother and less harsh the drum sounds. Here are some guidelines to improve your approach:

  • Focus on the most basic exercises and rudiments, i.e. bucks, sixteenth-notes with accents + taps, etc.
  • Think about having very soft hands, avoid squeezing on your taps and slamming your accents.
  • Try to slowly work your way up to more advanced rhythms/tempos so that you can apply the same touch as you progress and not go back to your old (harsh) ways. Whenever it feels different, drop back down to slow + easy mode


(Video replay coming soon)


Today I’ll announce the winner of the free Skype lesson!  The basic challenge was to Periscope broadcast yourself practicing for 5mins for 5 days in a row. If you missed the details and want to repeat on your own this week, all the details are here.

The #Huei5for5 Periscope Challenge was such a success for my own practicing.  I discovered that carving out the time and sticking to a very specific goal of practicing every day really inspired me to execute, which is something I struggle with as I teach more and more. Even when I was tired or tempted to do something else this week, the #Huei5for5 kept me accountable.

The other unexpected benefit was just the incredible amount of exchange that occurred in the percussion community.  Watching the variations and additions to the lesson material, I learned a lot from other people. I’m very flattered and grateful for all the messages last week sharing how inspirational the lessons and #Huei5for5 have been.  The truth is, watching other people participate in the challenge really inspired me! 

So. I’ve been inspired to issue another #Huei5for5 this week!

Click here for the details on #Huei5for5 Week2

If we’re not folowing each other on Periscope before you start, be sure to let me know so I receive your alerts.  You can also tweet me with #Huei5for5 @hueiyuanpan so I can catch your scopes (or at least the replays).

Share and encourage your friends to participate and keep helping us build the percussion community – good luck!

Catch the next LIVE broadcast!

I’ve seen a few other GoPro broadcasts, and I’m continuing to work on my technology chops to provide Multi-camera Video Lesson on Periscope. Until I hear otherwise, I’m claiming the First GoPro drum lesson on Periscope 🙂

The idea is to give you an up-close perspective that you might have in a lesson, as well as a view from my perspective. As my friend Alan points out, this is something I wouldn’t be able to achieve even in a masterclass setting, considering students sitting in the last row.

Watch the live lesson on April 3, 2016 at 7pm cst or catch the video replay on the YouTube link at the bottom.  For future lessons on Periscope, follow @hueiyuanpan or view on your browser at  

More replays available at

Thanks for sharing!

HP 2015.jpg

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 2012-2013, 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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