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Brandon Graves



Regular price $40.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $40.00 USD
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A hand written book of exercises, stories, and musical advice for drummers of all ages and skill levels. During the pandemic of 2020 I began taking time everyday to play on my practice pad along with some of my favorite albums. When I would find a sticking or accent pattern that felt challenging, I would create an exercise out of it. Those challenges turned into the series of exercises that appear in this book. I chose to hand write them because I enjoyed looking at the page more than if it were typed. The open spaces around each exercise seemed as though it needed to be filled with thoughts and stories. Some related to the exercise, some not. I did not expect my efforts to turn into a full book but the process became a mantra. Day after day I collected thoughts, stories, and doodles in the empty space on the page. I found several threads that led me to the icons and a bridge between the ideas in the book. As I worked on the exercises I began to see how mindfulness was an important ally in navigating the emotions and responses generated by my work. The final product is a glimpse into a process of reflection that I have found useful in practice, performance, and teaching.
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"Honesty is more important than skill. If we are to achieve our own voice, we must embrace our struggles, our mistakes, our humanity and our growth. Practice to become the player you want to be. Perfection is not the goal. Expression is the goal."

- from Reflections for the Hands, Head & Heart

  • The Hands

    Your body is telling you something in each movement.

  • The Head

    Can you hear the subtle fluctuations of your humanity in each stroke?

  • The Heart

    Use mindfulness to bring yourself closer to the experience.

"Brandon Graves has put together a unique and thoughtful look into practice method.  His mixture of stories, encouragement and advice with engaging exercises helps develop a player physically and mentally.  He creates a connection with the reader by letting them know that it is common to feel imposter syndrome, anxiousness and a desire to improve. This connection creates a sense of community and unity with others players that I find refreshing.  The exercises are well thought out and endlessly useful in several permutations and in various musical settings.  The craft, care and thought put into this book is evident, not only in its content, but in the layout and construction of the book itself."

- Dr. Von Hansen, Assistant Professor of Percussion Washburn University

A Labor of Love

This book is an outpouring of my love for teaching and telling tales. It took over a year to produce but the story began long ago.

"Brandon Graves has been a long-time leader in the Kansas City Area as one of the leading authorities on marching percussion education.  His teaching is a large reason that our program has consistently been one of the top percussion programs in the region.  His new book will be fixture in our percussion education curriculum at Olathe East.  It is a wonderful tool to not just learn rudimental sticking patterns but to be mindful on how to be an excellent musician while playing percussion."

- Jeff Smikahl, Director of Bands, Olathe East High School