Been on my mind recently

Fortunately, I have been doing several different things lately, and here’s what’s been on my mind:

  • Performance coaching, unlike the traditional academic classroom setting, requires and demands: embodiment, inspiration, motivation, creativity, innovation, a holistic perspective, a macro-micro-macro approach, consistency, variety, intensity, and functionality.
  • Some techniques for teaching music: learn it cleanly the first time so you don’t have as far to travel later, play one person at a time to enforce individual responsibility, and use tempo progressions from slow to fast for technique patterns and music.
  • When leading a group approach things as if they were on a spectrum of unrefined to excellent; avoid “good-bad” or “black-white” thinking, as that limits progress and causes frustration.
  • In life, whenever possible, you must maximize the effect-to-demand ratio: is what you are doing effective enough given how demanding it is to achieve.
  • Waking up each day with a clear purpose, especially if that goal involves other people in a cohesive social setting, is so much easier and healthier than rolling out of bed without a thought as to what your day will be.
  • Recognize those relationships and activities that are significant, meaningful, and valuable in your life. Preserve, extend, and flourish.
  • So much of modern rudimental marching percussion can be broken down into two things: 1) Play and perfect lots of basic exercise patterns, and 2) Design and execute a creative and appropriate show.

And for a bit of humor, I originally began the draft for this post in mid-July, with a title of “Neuroplasticity and skill-based living.” The only writing I had in the body of the post was, “Practice happiness. Meditation and mental exercise. CrossFit Mindfulness?” Lots of Exuberant Animal and MovNat on my mind methinks.

As for other things I do, lots of exciting things coming up:

  • Michael McIntosh will be arranging for the George Mason indoor drumline. Mike taught me at the Bluecoats, and I credit him with initially inspiring me to seriously pursue a career in teaching others how to drum.
  • The Anatomy of Frank will reunite as a five-piece band once again in November! Kyle Woolard, the lead singer / guitarist, recently toured the entire country (including Canada and Alaska!), and upon his glorious return to Charlottesville, we have a series of shows lined up in VA, TN, NC, and north.
  • I have been teaching much more classes at CrossFit Charlottesville, the epicenter for “Evidence-Based Fitness” in C’ville. It is so inspiring to help people reach their movement, performance, and health goals on a daily basis.
  • For the past two years I have been putting off writing a drum method book about rudimental gridding, but this fall it will happen! Hold me accountable if you see me.

Thanks for reading! Drop by a CrossFit noon class, check out an Anatomy of Frank show, or just go to any Charlottesville coffee house before 5 pm, and I’d love to chat.


Touring and New EP Available

So far on tour with The Anatomy of Frank, we have played at:

  • Rivermont Pizza, Lynchburg, VA (delicious local pizza)
  • Green Bean, Greensboro, NC (had an awesome Italian cappuccino)
  • Elliott’s Revue, Winston-Salem, NC (crowd really dug the songs)

Each show has been slightly different and had its own unique performance energy. Personally I really enjoy the opportunity to express myself artistically and emote each night, in addition to the fact that as a band we are getting much tighter and really starting to live our music. During the days we have:

  • Eaten brunch in Lynchburg
  • Done yoga / gymnastics and played frisbee and soccer in Winston-Salem
  • Hung out at Kyle’s house (pool table, awesome food)

The bonding we’ve experienced during the day really comes out at night, which is great. We have spent many hours rehearsing the finer intricacies of songs (and are continuously doing so with newer material), so now we are able to improve through emotional and social cues, not just technical improvements.

And last but not least, we have a new EP available! Relax, There’s Nothing Here But Old Pictures can be found here. We are incredible grateful to Lance Brenner, our producer, for recording and mixing these songs; it’s really exciting to have a physical product to deliver in addition to our live shows. Yesterday we also talked with Allen Ferro from Los Angeles who might become involved with our band in a managerial role.

New Music Video

Hey there! Lots has happened since I last updated this blog:

  • Recorded an album and filmed a music video (see below) with The Anatomy of Frank
  • Finished the indoor drumline season with George Mason University
  • Traveled to Guatemala with Jenni Gabriela

Lots is also on the way:

As I’ll be away from CrossFit Charlottesville for most of the summer, I plan to modify my training accordingly. I hope to run the Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions in September (50K trail option), so I will do one sprinting session and one long run each week. Without ready access to weights, I will be doing lots of bodyweight exercises, including working on skills from Ido Portal’s Floreio ArtGymnastics WOD, and Gymnastics Bodies. Given that eating well and sleeping enough will be challenging, I expect to lose some strength and weight.

Okay, as promised, here is “Saturday Morning” by The Anatomy of Frank. Much thanks to Brian Witmer for filming and editing!

Upcoming Gigs

I am playing drumset for two Charlottesville bands nowadays, The Anatomy of Frank and Stories in Stone. Both are playing at UVa’s Battle of the Bands on Friday, February 25th from 8-11 pm at the Student Activities Building.

I also took the GRE’s last week and did pretty well: 800 quantitative and 610 verbal. I could have studied more vocab, but I’m pleased with my improvement from some practice tests (which were in the 500’s). They are changing the format of the exam come August, so if I end up applying to Ph.D. programs in Social Psychology I might re-take the exam.

In the next week I’ll be writing my Penn application essay based on how I became interested in positive psychology. I’ll post it on here when I’m done. Thanks for reading!

Positive Psychology

I will be doing some work as a research assistant in Jonathan Haidt‘s Morality and Positive Psychology Lab this semester. Specifically, I’ll be helping out Jesse Kluver with some of his studies on synchronous behavior and groups, and we might even study CrossFitters and marching percussionists.

And, oh yeah, I’m applying to UPenn’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program this spring. The application is due March 1st, so it’s time to take the GRE’s, ask for recommendations, and do my best to sell myself on paper!

Toss in some CrossFit classes, rehearsing and recording with The Anatomy of Frank and another band (tentatively) called Stories in Stone, and teaching George Mason University’s indoor drumline and Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps on the weekends, and you have the next several months of my life.

Did I mention Jenni Lopez and I are going to Guatemala in May?

Rudimental Hands

I have been working on a new project called Rudimental Hands. My aim is to craft a more efficient and effective way to practice drumming by incorporating elements of several approaches, including marching percussion, drumset, CrossFit, and the humanities.

Also, Jenni (the girl) has begun working on her 365 Project as well.