Author Archives: Kyle

A simple guide to painting drumsticks

First, you will need the paint and a lacquer.
Next, you’ll want to tape the beads and any other part of the stick you do not want painted.
To paint the sticks, I hung them from a hook with twine on my porch. You may have a better method.
I applied 2 coats of paint, then 2 coats of lacquer, allowing each coat to fully dry.
The finished product.
For comparison, the sticks on the left I purchased already painted. The sticks on the right I painted.
I use show sticks with my group. This is after 2 shows. The paint holds up pretty good. Can you tell which sticks belong to my senior?

And that’s it. Pretty simple right? The stick logos were not fully covered by the paint but no one is going to notice that from the stands. Of course, you can always apply additional coats of paint if you like, but I wasn’t trying to spend a lot of money on this. Hope this has helped and good luck!


My iPad Journey – PDF Viewers

After getting my new-to-me iPad set up, I began searching for a solution to view my percussion scores. Since my scores are all saved as PDF’s, it just made sense that I should look for a good PDF viewer. I had a few basic requirements that a viewer would have to meet.

First, a useful PDF viewer for my intended purpose would have to include the option to scroll pages horizontally, like a book. Bonus if the scroll animation mimics an actual page turning. Secondly, the viewer would have to offer the ability to make notes right on the PDF score and save edits. This is commonly called annotating or markup. And finally, it must be able to access cloud storage. That’s it. Nothing fancy. Basic features right?

A search of the most popular/best PDF viewers for iPad yielded a starting point for apps to check out. Among those were Acrobat’s Adobe Reader and PDF Expert. Along the way, I also discovered PDF Viewer and decided to test Apple’s native Files app, as well.

The table below shows the main features I looked for and tested within each app. A few notes about the listed features: Intuitive 1 and 2 page view refers to the app displaying a single page in portrait mode and 2 consecutive pages in landscape mode automatically based on screen orientation; shapes refers to the apps ability to insert shapes, like a circle around a given count of a measure; arrows added to point out something specific in a measure, typically with a note attached to it; text – could a text note be added to the PDF; highlighter – freestyle like an actual highlighter to highlight specific musical notation and the ability to highlight printed text within the PDF.

PDF ViewerPDF ExpertAdobe ReaderFiles
Horizontal scrollingyesyesyesno
Intuitive 1 page view (portrait)yesno, must selectno, must selectno
Intuitive 2 page view (landscape)yesno, must selectno, must selectno
Page turn animationyesnonono
Score annotationyesyespaid upgradeyes
Apple pencil/fingeryesyesnoyes
Shapesyesyesnoyes
Arrowsyesyesnoyes
Textyesyesnoyes
Highlighter freestyleyesyesnoyes
Highlighter textyesyesnono
Cloud storageyesyesyesyes

As you can see, PDF Viewer checked all the boxes for me. And a bonus feature with this app is the ability to save a signature for signing documents, which most PDF apps charge for, but PDF Viewer includes with its free version. So if you’re looking for a reliable, feature-rich PDF reader that has a great free version, great for viewing and making notes on your sheet music and scores, you can’t go wrong with PDF Viewer.


My first iPad

For the past year plus (maybe two), I’ve explored options to go paperless with the primary focus being while teaching Drum Camp. I wanted something small enough to be portable and lightweight, but with a screen large enough I could easily read my scores. And not expensive. For me this ruled out iPads so I never considered that an option. Also, I’m a longtime user of all things Google and am deeply entrenched in the Google ecosystem.

Devices I’ve considered include Amazon’s line of tablets, Samsung, and even a purchased Lenovo 2 in 1 laptop. But each had shortcomings that were deal breakers for me. Screen size too small, resolution too low resulting in blurry screens, overpriced, too fragile. The list goes on.

My wife used an iPad (purchased through our mobile carrier) for various work-related tasks. She liked it but never raved about it. I’m the tech enthusiast of the family, but because I’m a Google fan, I barely gave her iPad a look. Then about a month ago she decided the iPad was no longer needed for its purchased purpose, so she passed it along to me hoping it would end my search. And boy did it.

In the short amount of time I’ve been using it, I’ve quickly realized it does exactly what I need it to do and so much more. First, it’s the iPad 7th generation. An older model yes, but that’s ok. The screen clarity is incredible, the size and weight are perfect, and because my wife destroys technology with the ferocity of a charging bull, the case we put it in protects it quite well.

I’ve decided that other music educators and more specifically, percussion instructors, might benefit from my journey. The apps, the method, the implementation, the setup. So you’re invited to join me as I explore all the possibilities. I’ll be writing and posting here so check back often to read more about my iPad journey!


Print version available!

My self-published book “Rudimental Solos for Snare Drum for the Advanced Drummer” is once again available for purchase. The book contains eight original solos for snare drum and has been expanded to include five traditional rudimental solos every snare player should know. Print version is $9.95 and the e-book is just $5.00.


Lonestar Apparel Sale

Need drummer swag for yourself or a gift for that special drummer in your life? Lonestar Percussion has you covered. Now through midnight Thursday, December 3rd, take an extra 30% off in-stock shirts, hats and hoodies with code CYBERSWAG20. Check out the details here or get to shopping here!


Beetle Percussion Sale

Beetle Percussion is offering free shipping, a free floppy pad and a free 4″ laminate when you spend $50 now through December 15th.

Beetle Percussion uses beetle-killed wood and recycled car tire rubber in the making of most of their products. With each purchase, a tree seedling is planted in the beetle affected forests of Colorado. They offer ecologically-minded, environmentally-helpful green products handmade from 100% American materials. Check out their store here!


Stick sell at Steve Weiss Music…

Hello all! Steve Weiss Music has a great sale going right now on drumsticks. Buy 3 pairs of Vic Firth Corpmasters snare drum sticks and get a 4th pair free! Included in this sale are Ralph Hardimon, Roger Carter and Thom Hannum Signature Series sticks and many more. You can mix or match and the fourth pair must be of equal or lesser value and is added during the checkout process. But hurry as this sale ends August 13, 2018 while supplies last!

Buy 3 get 1 free sale!


Useful Apps to Aid in Teaching and Learning

Technology can be an unwanted distraction in the learning environment (ex. – teenagers with cell phones during rehearsal). But it can also be a great tool to enhance the learning experience. I want to highlight two of my favorite (and most useful aps) for percussionists.

The first is an absolute must, not only for percussionists, but for all musicians. This indispensable app is, of course, a metronome. I’ve tried numerous metronome apps, but the one that I keep coming back to is The Metronome by Soundbrenner. Some of the many features included are: set any time signature up to 16/8, a full range of preset subdivisions, a wide and varied selection of sounds, the ability to tap the tempo on screen, and the option to save settings for songs and setlists. One con of this particular app is it’s availability only for Android devices. There are tons of other options and best of all, it’s completely free! To find out more, visit the site or download at the Google Play Store and see for yourself why this metronome is superior to others.

The second app is specific to rudimental percussionists. It’s called Drumate and is available (unfortunately) only for Android devices. This great little app aids in the learning of 39 rudiments. It does not include the buzz roll, nor any hybrids. For any rudiment, you can choose a constant tempo, progressive tempo in set steps, or an open-close-open progression. The audio quality is very clear and sounds like an actual snare drum. You can mark your favorites and also sort by type (rolls, flams, etc). It’s available in both free and paid versions, but both versions are the full version. The paid version is $2.99 and goes to support the developer and future updates. It’s available on the Google Play Store so check it out and start learning/improving those rudiments today.

Both apps can aid in the teaching/learning process and can be particularly helpful to band directors with weaker percussion skills and only a basic knowledge of the percussion family. Of course, nothing can replace the human element needed for a successful Teacher/Student environment, but these apps and others can be a great way to supplement the teaching/learning process.


This week’s deals

Hey all! It’s been awhile I know but I’m hoping to start posting again on a somewhat regular schedule. So here are a couple deals going on currently you might be interested in…


Steve Weiss Music is offering free shipping on orders over $49 through May 21st. They have some of the best prices and a huge selection so if you haven’t visited before (the horror!) or it’s been some time since you did, now is a good opportunity to check them out.


Lone Star Percussion has a limited time deal you’re going to love. Buy any Evans practice pad and get a pair of Pro Mark drumsticks for free! Pads start as low as $21.95 and any pair of Pro Mark snare drum or drum set sticks is eligible for this great deal! Go get them. Now. No seriously, what are you waiting for? I’ll wait…


Drummer Boy Diaries and Recollections from the Civil War

Quite by chance I stumbled upon the published diary of a young Civil War drummer boy. Naturally, I was curious if other such accounts existed. I am happy to say that indeed other publications exist. Below you will find information about three such books. These books are in the public domain and I am making them available for download in PDF format. Links are also provided to the original online source where other formats are available. I’ve only just begun to read these and hope you look forward to reading them as much as I.

Since these accounts refer to specific dates and locations during the Civil War, you may want to brush up on your Civil War history. Here are some links to get you started:

The Civil War

Civil War Timeline

Civil War Timeline


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