My instrument setup for MODERN dance accompanying
For the most part, I use the same basic setup each day for accompanying modern dance. In the photo, you'll notice there are two "worlds"; Acoustic on the right and electronic on the left.
- 5 Piece acoustic drumset (Pacific Drums and Percussion)
- Dream Cymbals Ignition series
- Congas (One of the department's congas has been missing since before I arrived)
- Various percussion (tambourines, shakers, bells) and hi-hat jingles, jam block
- Assortment of sticks, brushes, and mallets
- Korg Wavedrum Global left of hi-hat
- Eventide Mixing Link
- Boss RC3 stereo looping pedal
- iPad with various music and sound apps
- Rolling audio rack consisting of (from the top down):
- Shelf for laptop computer (Hosting Ableton Live and other software, and used for DAW recording with Presonus mixer as audio interface - super convenient!)
- Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 mixer
- Power conditioner
- Obscure Zoom multi-effects unit
- M-Audio Oxygen 25 keyboard MIDI controller (sitting on a rack-mount locking laptop drawer)
- 3-space rack drawer with headphones, accessories, etc.
- Alto Professional TS110A powered loudspeaker as a monitor for the electronic instruments
- Various microphones by Shure, Heil, Line Audio Design, and others for looping and recording acoustic instruments and voice.
This setup allows me to be a drummer, first and foremost, and the ability to explore endless sound worlds using computers and electronics easily as well. I love the Wavedrum. For me, it is the bridge between the two worlds. I interact with it like an acoustic instrument, and it responds with sounds that are synthesized by combining the outputs of two digital sound engines, one sample-based (recordings of acoustic instruments), and one algorithmic (created electronically, using oscillators and filters). This results in dynamic, interesting, often slightly unpredictable or even "wacky" sounds, which inspires creativity and is great for keeping things fresh during class. I can (and have) accompanied class with just this instrument, and it is more than enough to do the job and make compelling music. The shelf conveniently holds a laptop running Ableton Live for live music making or another digital audio workstation for recording.
One of the cool things about this setup is that it meets all of my needs for accompanying modern dance, but it also excels as a studio for sound design and audio recording, which encompasses all of my creative responsibilities in the job.
I do like to change things up, also. For instance, from time to time, I'll set up and use an 88-key Roland keyboard (FA-08). Or, I'll leave out the iPad or the MIDI controller, or Wavedrum. Last year, I played only acoustic drums with no looping or electronic instruments for the final 5 weeks of class, just to keep things fresh.