Over the past couple of months, I have picked up my vibraphone mallets again and it has been really invigorating. In high school, I was always the kid in the percussion section that dove at the snare drum music, in fear of having to read “real music” in mallet percussion. Most of my college studies were spent behind a drum set, though I did take 2 semesters of percussion, one with Lynn Glassock and the other with Cameron Britt, both great instructors. I have always loved the sound of the vibraphone and really enjoy listening to Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton and Steve Nelson, but it took me a few years after college to find a beat up set of vibes from a marching band to buy and begin messing around. I would have a couple weeks of motivated practice and inspiration every so often, but it never really stuck until now. Having played thousands of gigs behind a drum set, I have heard tons of Jazz solos, comping and random theory jargon on set breaks. It is exciting now, to take those bits and pieces of information and try to make sense of it all in a new vehicle. I am really enjoying my time with the vibraphone and recommend that all drummers, despite their fear or hesitation, spend some time on a mallet instrument or piano to better connect with your band!
(Photo Credit : Wes Tyler)