Welcome back to RMC's monthly newsletter, The Set List!
It's the best place to find out about all the goings-on at RMC and then some! Learn more about our teachers and their interesting hobbies, explore the multifaceted talents of our students and discover the backstory of our unofficial school mascot, Peaches the Cat.
This Week's Set List:
- Welcome Wagon
-Peaches the Cat: Behind the Music
-Student Spotlight: Jasni McGrail
- Teacher Feature: Ryan Kiel
-Teach the Teacher: Sara Blake
-Kooking with Kara
-Liz & Liam Listen
-How Did We Get Here?: The Drum Kit
- EJ's Deep Thoughts
Welcome to the RMC Family! We're so glad you're here to make music with us!
Abby Denkensohn - Voice - Samantha Adams
Aidan Flynn - Piano - Jen Davis
Maya Shalayev - Guitar - George Sheehy
Brian Schmid - Guitar - George Sheehy
Annabel Lang - Viola - Jordan Yiu
Kaitlyn Hyer - Guitar - Jen Davis
Taylor Saadeh - Piano - Kara Delonas
Niral Parmar - Voice - Liz Robbins
Sahanj Parmar - Ukulele - George Sheehy
Ashley Post - Guitar - Jen Davis
Paula Arezzi - Piano - Kim Rodriguez
Michelle Donson - Piano - Jen Davis
Linnea Williamson - Piano - Kim Rodriguez
Lewis Williamson - Piano - Kim Rodriguez
Sydney Kim - Cello - Jordan Yiu
C.J. Lowry - Drums - EJ Gaub
Elizabeth Green - Guitar - Jen Davis
Aron Bazsa - Voice - Ryan Kiel
Brady McMahon - Piano - Dustin Sebes
Kate Reich - Piano - Molly Delonas
Madelyn May - Guitar - George Sheehy
Brendan McDermott - Alex DiFabio
Do you need even more music in your life? RMC has got you covered! We have a music events and concerts to keep you warm and grooving through the winter season.
Here's what we have coming up this month:
You won't want to miss the first Lobby Crashers concert, featuring two indie singer-songwriters; Lady Queen Paradise & Lupia.
This event is free and open to the public!
RMC Rockin' Recital
Feb. 22nd @ Crossroads
RMC's Rockin' Recital is just around the corner! Come on out to listen to and support our talented students as they present their latest musical projects.
Peaches the Cat: Behind the Music
The creative minds that brought you RMC's Mockumentary: My Big Fat Greek Recital, now bring you the story of RMC's unofficial mascot, Peaches the Cat: Behind the Music.
Student Spotlight: Jasni McGrail
This month, we shine the spotlight on Jasni McGrail, who has been a student at RMC for almost a decade. Though she's been taught (or self-taught) on a host of instruments, Jasni takes piano lessons at RMC with Jen Davis and audio production & engineering lessons with EJ Gaub.
Teacher Feature: Ryan Kiel
This month's Teacher Feature is voice & piano teacher Ryan! Everybody knows Mr. Ryan for his bubbly personality and rousing soprano voice that can usually be heard around the studio whenever he's in the building.
Teach the Teacher: Sara Blake
Each week for 30 minutes, the students of RMC enter their teacher's music world. But today, teacher EJ Gaub and his student Sara Blake trade places as EJ learns more about Sara's world of Irish Step Dancing.
Kooking with Kara
RMC Teacher Kara Delonas is more than just a guitar, bass, voice and piano instructor...she's also an amazing vegan chef! Watch as Kara shows how you too can make a vegan version of this classic comfort dish.
Liz & Liam Listen
This week, we answer a question from the RMC lobby:
How do I get my student to practice more at home?
We discuss some helpful tips for approaching practicing with your child & different activities you can do at home to keep their music learning engaging and fun!
How Did We Get Here?: The Drum Kit
Have you ever wondered how the drum set came to be? Settle in as Liam Hughes walks you through the history of the Drum Kit.
While the drum set that you’re picturing in your head is roughly a century old, the concept of the drum–animal skin stretched over a shell–is over 30,000 years old! It took until the bronze age (3000 B.C.) for the cymbal to enter the scene. Fast forward to the 13th century A.D. where an unknown European created the tabor, what we now think of as the snare drum, taking a two sided drum and adding a single rattling strand of leather, rope, or silk to the bottom.
So by the 13th century we basically already had all of the necessary components to create the modern drum kit, but it took seven more centuries to put all the pieces together. A few simple improvements to the tabor (using multiple metal wires and tightening them) brought it the familiar snappy snare we hear today.
1909 was the pivotal year, forever changing the drums place in contemporary music. It was when William F. Ludwig Sr. founder of the iconic Ludwig drum brand created the first mass-produced foot pedal for playing the bass drum. This, coupled with cymbal stands, allowed the bass drum, snare, and cymbals to be struck by a single percussionist rather than a team of musicians. It opened up a whole new approach to drums and that simple idea brought on further innovations.
In the 1920’s the foot pedal idea was expanded upon, attaching two opposite facing cymbals to a mechanism allowing the foot to close and open them. The original design was called the low-boy and was only about a foot off the ground. Someone thought to raise them higher so they could also be played by the hand and that became known as the hi-hat. Once the tom toms were added our modern drum kit was complete.
The 1930’s was the first decade to see this kit in action with Gene Krupa of Benny Goodman’s orchestra being one of the first to popularize this type of drum set in 1935.
So there it is, a brief history of our modern drum set. It was no particular man but a long old fabric woven together by thousands of years of human inventiveness that brought us to that classic drum beat we know take for granted.
P.S. We use plastic for the drum skin shells now instead of animal skin!
EJ's Deep Thoughts
Like the Mariana Trench, EJ's Deep Thoughts delve even farther into the depths of the human psyche than previously thought possible. Join EJ on his mind journey into the nature of being and the music of Elton John.
Quote I'm Pondering:
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you are uncool."
(from the movie Almost Famous, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman)
This is one of my most favorite lines from one of my top movies of all time. Over the past few years, I've asked myself constantly: "Who am I trying to be?"........outside of a guy who apparently talks to himself incessantly.....the phrase is not really intended to be as to-the-point as it may seem.
I feel we are often told to aspire to be like this person or that person, or we feel we have to display certain traits in certain situations.....so recently I have begun to ask myself in the moment...who am I trying to be right now, assuming that I AM TRYING to be someone or embody something....what is it?
Am I trying to be insightful, funny, a good listener, a good teammate, drummer, chef....whatever? We can go decades lost, wearing various masks. Telling ourselves we are one way or another out of obligation, habit, determination, or cause it was how we were raised...but when that slams head on into a sense of rejection.....whether on an individual level or societal level, we have a break......some might even call it an identity crisis.....but maybe it is just an opportunity to see what really is going on inside us when the pressure of the stage lights is off...in the quiet moments when we are not expected to be anything or anyone, when the things we thought were essential to success, popularity, social acceptance or happiness slip through our fingers.......essentially, when we are considered "uncool."
What matters then? That is our true currency.
Track I'm Listening To:
I simply cannot quote Almost Famous and immediately not think of "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John.
This scene from the movie is totally iconic:
"Tiny Dancer" is off the Madman Across the Water Album released on November 5th, 1971.
This album was the first album that Elton John and long time collaborated Bernie Taupin wrote after being in United States. This album differentiates itself from Elton's previous albums specifically in its production value. The songs have larger instrumentation with the incorporation of string sections.
There is some dispute over what "Tiny Dancer" is about. Bernie Taupin who writes the lyrics for Elton, claims it's about trying to capture the spirit of California, and more specifically the LA STRIP, during the time he and Elton initially spent in the states. It was the clothing stores. The way everyone was dressing...so free and ethereal and different from what they experienced in England.
Elton mentioned at one point that he felt the song was about Maxine Feibelmann, who was Taupin's girlfriend and later wife. She traveled with the band early on sewing costumes. Under the song credits it even says "With love to Maxine."
"Tiny Dancer" only reached number 41 on the US Charts and was never even released as a single in other countries. Most attribute this to the fact the song's length is over 6 minutes. In addition, Elton was only starting to break as an artist with his most successful song to this point being "Your Song," which peaked at #8 on the charts in 1970.
"Tiny Dancer" was given a massive boost when it was part of the movie Almost Famous, released in 2000. Upon the success of the movie, Elton began including the song as a consistent component of his live performance. In 2005 it went gold selling 500,000 copies and in 2018 it was certified at 3 million in sales.
Today artists all over have covered the song.....some including Florence and the Machine, Tim McGraw, Adam Levine, Ben Folds Five, and even DeadMau5
"Tiny Dancer" is in the key of C major and is played at 77 bpm.
Thank you for joining us in this month's Set List! Don't forget to check back next month to see who our Student Spotlight and Teacher Feature of the month will be. Also, which RMC student will take on the role of teacher in our newest segment Teach the Teacher? Will Kara be able to tempt you with another vegan recipe?
You never know what will show up in the Set List!
Feel free to leave us any comments and questions below.