Basically How do you get Super good at 4 mallet (Stevens)?

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Basically How do you get Super good at 4 mallet (Stevens)?

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 8:38 pm



I'm looking for tips on how to get better on four-mallet (Stevens)?

I have a question directed to anyone who marched Marimba on Cavaliers or Blue Devils. What are your limits in terms of how fast you can play permutations (four-mallet), inner-mallet (four-mallet) runs and 2 mallet passages (16th notes) and what heights you can play them at (Give me a tempo)?

Numbers so I can gauge my practice goals.

I'm also looking for tips on how to get better on four-mallet (Stevens)?


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Re: Basically How do you get Super good at 4 mallet (Stevens

Posted: Thu May 26, 2016 9:49 pm



Umm, practice? "Getting better" is pretty ambiguous. We don't know where you are right now.

Practice permutations, up, down, and especially the ones you're weak at. Also finding a teacher can help tons with you individually. Marimbalogy (the Youtube channel) has some good technical and pedagogical info if you haven't seen his stuff.

Also you should check out Method of Movement by Mr. Stevens if you haven't already. I do have a little bit of beef with the book - it's written in a very "this is the only way, do this"-esque way; there are a couple bits that I've adapted myself differently from the pedagogy of the book. I've worked through a little bit of Technique Through Music by Mark Ford. Some good stuff in there too. But in a corps setting where technique will be unified, you'll just have to adjust to the taught style.

Be able to read music really well - treble + bass clef. As far as reading music goes, I think it helps to know some theory too. Remembering, "oh, this figure outlines such and such chord" can help with learning music. And four-mallet music has lots of notes.
Alex Douglass
MCDC 16, 17 PR 18
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Posted: Fri May 27, 2016 6:56 am



I have seen Marimbalogy and it helped alot at developing my technique. Right now I can do inner mallets around 172 there are runs in my Next Yeara Marching show at 172. I am currently a freshman about to be sophmore I played Rotation no. 1 by Eric Sammut for my Solo this year. My Percussion Director Marched Cavaliers and I have refined my technique alot thanks to him. I can play permutations at 90 (left to right) Im still working on right to left. I have a good music reading background since I have been playing piano since I was 7 and can Identify chords fairly fast (Im open to Tips on reading as well). I have gone alot off of Stevens technique defined in Marimbalogy but I adjusted my technique to match my director. My director won't tell me how fast he can play because he says "listen to me and you can get better" but I want to start a practice regimen for home in order to get Super good faster and I want to get close to as good as him before I graduate. I think that an Extremely strict Regimen will be required In order to reach this and want to have a plan so Im more focused and working towards my goal.


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Re: Basically How do you get Super good at 4 mallet (Stevens)?

Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:01 pm



I know this thread is pretty old, so don't mind the necro-post

As far as building chops goes, keep a log book, and just go a bit faster every day.

For example, when I was first building chops for corps, I would play our 16th note inner-mallet scale exercise.
Lets say on the first day, I would go from 100-120.
So, I'd do four reps at 100, four at 104, four at 108, four at 112, four at 116, and four at 120.

The next day, I would take it a little faster.
Four reps at 105, four reps at 109, four reps at 113, four reps at 117, four reps at 121, and four reps at 125.

It may seem like a lot, but in reality, it becomes second nature. I did this routine at the end of my practice session every day throughout the latter half of my high school career, and all through what I did of college. It's a great way to 'relax the mind' after spending a few hours rehearsing an individual piece of music.


I used this basic formula for every exercise in our packet. Over the course of a few months, I guarantee you will develop true, lasting chops, and some nice forearm muscles. (chicks dig good forearm muscles.)



If you're wondering where I marched...I might not have marched Cavaliers or Blue Devils, but I spent quite a bit of time in the Madison Scouts frontline, and I played marimba at Rhythm X for a couple seasons.


Cheers, mate! Happy training!
Here we are, talking band!


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