A million drummer fans can't be wrong
More than a million viewers can attest to Alec Tackmann's drumming genius.
The videos at his YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/GoAndPractice , recently topped 1 million viewers combined. Several individual videos have been viewed more than 50,000 times, and one of them, an 81-second tutorial, has been viewed about 113,000 times.
Despite his popularity, Tackmann downplays his success, and even his videos are humble. Each one, like the "Inverted Paradiddle and Variations" clip, features technique with the camera focused on drums, sticks and hands. Tackmann's face isn't in the picture, and he is quick to point out that the name of his YouTube channel, GoAndPractice, started simply as a reminder to himself to go practice when he was messing around online.
It all started with videos of brush work. Brushes require horizontal motions on top of the drum head, and these types of motions are difficult to notate on paper. The first videos were a way for Tackmann's students to see brush techniques at home while they practiced.
What started as a way to help his own students turned into something bigger. Soon, Tackmann noticed he had international viewers. Maybe the draw to his videos for an international audience is how they get right to the point. Each segment takes a specific drum set pattern and repeats it at an increasing rate of tempo, but the clips don't distract with any spoken commentary. The focus on the music makes the videos universally appealing.
Tackmann first started playing piano in kindergarten, but he switched to percussion in fifth grade. Since then, he's earned a bachelor's degree in drum set performance from the Boston-based Berklee College of Music, studying with greats such as Terri Lyne Carrington.
Playing with Davina and the Vagabonds, Tackmann has performed at major venues such as the Monterey Jazz Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He's also been on seven international tours. At a festival in Finland, Tackmann was approached by a fan who came just to see the drummer from the GoAndPratice YouTube channel.
Offering lessons for bass, guitar and piano in addition to drums, Tackmann has a private studio of about 30 students. Building on his success on YouTube, he'll be publishing three instructional books this winter. Details about his studio and instructional books can be found at www.alectackmann.com .
In addition to teaching privately, Tackmann works as a freelance drummer and performs with local groups like Jagged Ease and the Jukes of Hazard. His in-home studio pairs the latest computer-based recording technologies with a drum stool complete with a 15-year-old repair: a baseball wedged to keep one sagging leg level. Despite the repair, Tackmann is in high demand, recording drum tracks for artists around the country.
In the beginning, Tackmann was concerned about "giving away" some of his best musical ideas on YouTube. Looking back, he thinks filming actually reinforces his ongoing musical creativity by compelling him to keep coming up with new ideas.
Tackmann would like his students to know that "you can do this professionally." The key, he said, is to "take every opportunity you can get."