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Workshop With Frame Drummer and World Percussionist Glen Velez

This morning I had the opportunity to attend a 1 1/2 hour frame drum workshop with three-time Grammy Award winning master drummer, composer and educator, Glen Velez. It was an absolute blast!

As I’ve mentioned before (and even in my last blog entry) I am a huge fan of ethnic percussion. There’s just something about all the different hand/finger techniques that intrigues. I’m also in love with the sound. This 1 1/2 hour session was my dream.

The workshop was put on by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts at the Flynn Space in downtown Burlington, VT. I was sitting at home on Friday, reading 7 Days (the local arts newspaper) when I read about a dance performance taking place that night. What caught my eye was the name Glen Velez. I was familiar with him and wanted to know why he was in Vermont. I went to his website to check his schedule and found out that he was doing a workshop the following day. I jumped at the opportunity.

There were 16 of us who came to the workshop (which was quite nice because it. Experience ranged from people who had maybe seen a frame drum once or twice to those who owned drums of their own and were familiar with some basics (like myself). Glen structured the workshop in such a way that no one was ever bored or drowning in too much information and technique. He had us repeat everything he taught us multiple times so that it would sink in. The entire group caught on quite quickly.

We started out by learning a method of keeping time (feeling the pulse) both physically and orally. We worked on speaking rhythms through quick “call and response.” Then those of us with drums began to play the patterns on our drums while continuing the vocal counting.

Glen demoed each of his drums for us, showing us various techniques and the crossover between cultures. We learned about the origin of the drums and how they traveled to different areas and evolved. Glen explained how he has taken all of the techniques that he’s learned and fused them together to form his own language of frame drumming. It was so cool to see everything in action.

Major kudos to the Flynn for bringing in such an amazing performer/educator!

Highlights from the workshop can be heard here;
Highlights From Glen Velez Workshop


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