Using the Tap-Off in the Classroom: a three-tiered achievement system

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

by Ralph Hicks

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in an email newsletter. We are reposting it here, as several folks have asked about it.

Using the different surfaces available with the combination of Tap-Off and Rat-Pad drumming practice tools, I’ve incorporated a three-tiered achievement system to reduce the anxieties beginners have while learning in the classroom. The available sound and feel combinations allow for an environment well suited for all types of learners to feel comfortable engaging. The practice pad exercises from Five Minute Drill and Nine Minute Drill are a great way to get started with these ideas.

  • Level 1:  Tap-Off + Rat-Pad overlay (quietest, least amount of rebound)
  • Level 2:  Orange gum rubber (medium volume, most rebound)
  • Level 3:  Darkmatter oval (loudest attack, slightly less rebound)
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Current Texas UIL Prescribed Music Titles

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

We’re headed to the San Antonio for the Texas Music Educator’s Association (TMEA) convention next week! It’s one of our favorite places to witness the power of music education, eat some great Tex-Mex, and visit with some great people in the Lone Star state.

Through the University Interscholastic League (UIL), Texas has an influential list of prescribed music titles for solo and ensemble events. We’re honored to have a large portion of our catalog sanctioned on this list! Download a complete listing of all Tapspace titles on the UIL list, organized by event, grade, and UIL code.

VDL user spotlight: CHRIS THOMPSON

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

As Virtual Drumline has been a mainstay in the creative arsenal of composers and arrangers for over 15 years now, we’d like to shine a spotlight on some of the people who have done exceptional things with it. Today, we’re excited to feature Chris Thompson.

photo by Shervin Lainez

Originally from the San Francisco bay area, Chris Thompson is a New York City-based music composer, arranger, and percussionist. His music blends the high-energy sound world of modern drum & bugle corps with the experimentalism of contemporary classical and electronic music.

Chris’ work as a percussionist and arranger greatly influences his composition: for over a decade he has been a member of Alarm Will Sound and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), he recently toured internationally as a performer with Tyondai Braxton’s HIVE, and at age 15 he was one of the youngest-ever members of the Santa Clara Vanguard drumline.

Having performed, recorded, or arranged for artists and ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, ACME, Björk, Dirty Projectors, Medeski Martin & Wood, the Metropolitan Opera, Nico Muhly, Brian Reitzell, They Might Be Giants, and Valgeir Siggurðsson, Chris has participated in the world premieres of over a hundred new works and can be heard on 30 studio albums. For ten years he has performed in the pits of various Broadway shows, including Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera.

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All Virtual Drumline Demystified lessons available for free

Sunday, January 20th, 2019
The original VDL Demystified DVD. People used to watch stuff on these.

Over the years, our onscreen tutorial Virtual Drumline Demystified has helped countless VDL users on the road to mastering it within Finale and Sibelius. Another thing that has occurred over the years is that software has continued to evolve, making the onscreen examples in VDL Demystified appear a bit dated. VDL expert, and founder of Visaudio Designs, Bryan Harmsen, did a fantastic job in presenting these lessons in a friendly, progressive manner. Bryan is a good friend of ours and subjecting him to ongoing rounds of endless video shooting and editing to stay current with frequent OS and applications updates isn’t feasible.

As such, we’ve decided to take this product off the market and make it available for free. While the older versions of Sibelius, Finale, and Kontakt won’t look entirely current, the main theories will still apply. We’ve removed a couple lessons in which outdated methods of installing template files was no longer relevant and would create more confusion than assistance.

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