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Jeremy Otto is a percussionist with over 15 years and hundreds of students worth of teaching experience. He holds a degree in Music Education from Oakland University. Along with running Otto Percussion Studio he is an in demand clinician and performer.

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At Otto Percussion Studio we specialize in Drum and Percussion lessons for all ages and abilities. Give us a call or text at 248 783 6520 or send an email to otto@ottopercussion.com to set up lessons. If you’re local to Lake Orion, Rochester, Troy or the surrounding areas of North Oakland County, MI you can come directly to the studio. If not, we can set up lessons over the great series of tubes known as the internet!

Parent Tip Series – Stage Fright

More in the series of short videos designed to help parents help their students get more out of their music lessons.

Parent Tip Series – Overcoming Stage Fright

At Otto Percussion Studio we specialize in Drum and Percussion lessons for all ages and abilities. Give us a call or text at 248 783 6520 or send an email to otto@ottopercussion.com to set up lessons. If you’re local to Lake Orion, Rochester, Troy or the surrounding areas of North Oakland County, MI you can come directly to the studio. If not, we can set up lessons over the great series of tubes known as the internet!

Video Transcript

Hi Facebook, Jeremy Otto from Otto Percussion here to help you help your student get more out of their music lessons. 


It’s recital season here at Otto Percussion Studio and today we’re going to talk about “Stage Fright” because It’s really common to have a student be extremely confident in lessons and at home during practice leading up to their performance and then freeze up on stage. But how do we combat stage fright?


My first professional gig was a standard 3 forty-five minute set bar gig. While nervousness had welled up in me before for some previous performances for school band and the like, it was nothing like the stage fright I felt before this gig; but the show must go on. We hit, and lo and behold about 20 minutes into that first set, I just stopped being nervous. My fight or flight response just eventually had enough and turned off.

Cut to many years later, where I’ve gone back to school for music and I’m playing in my first classical concert since high school. I’m on stage getting set up to play my first notes on the chimes and I’m staring at my involuntarily shaking hand wondering how in the world I’m supposed to hit the right note if I can’t hold my hand steady. This was MUCH worse than the last time I had stage fright.

Because classical percussion does not replicate the constant engagement experience I had at the other gig,I eventually decided the answer was to just perform as often as I could, and that is the suggestion I have for you. Make your student perform often and on a regular basis. And by perform, I don’t mean stand by the basement stairs with the drumset turned the other direction. and I don’t mean just pop your head in their room. Make an event of it. Make them the center of attention. Make them move to a different area, preferably in the central gathering place of your home. Get as many people to watch as possible, Mom, Dad, Siblings, Grandparents, Friends and Neighbors. Make little brother put down the video games and give the “Please set all cell phones to silent” speech. Make sure the performer knows the attention is on them. Put the pressure on. Do this often, like once a week often. 


So how did I really get over stage fright that second time? Well, about three quarters of the way through my ‘play as often as possible’ experiment I ate it, really bad, on a really well known piece, in a solo performance, in front of a large group of music school students and faculty.  My stage fright didn’t go completely away after that performance, but it quickly tapered off  to the point where it is no longer an issue. I no longer have any problem making a fool of myself in front of others. The fact is that everyone eats it now and then, we just need to get over the fear of that happening.


So the takeaway for today is just to make your student perform, like perform perform often. Make them practice the performance like you make them practice the music.
Thanks for watching. Maybe leave a comment of any cool performance ideas you have, or maybe the one about how you overcame your stage fright, or of course we can talk about it at lessons. If you haven’t already please ‘like’ the page and maybe share this video with others that might find it helpful. Thanks again, Lets hit it. 

Parent Tip Series – Secret Practice Method

Part of the continuing series of tips to help parents help their students get the most out of lessons

Parent Tip Series – Secret Practice Method

At Otto Percussion Studio we specialize in Drum and Percussion lessons for all ages and abilities. Give us a call or text at 248 783 6520 or send an email to otto@ottopercussion.com to set up lessons. If you’re local to Lake Orion, Rochester, Troy or the surrounding areas of North Oakland County, MI you can come directly to the studio. If not, we can set up lessons over the great series of tubes known as the internet!

Video Transcript

Hi Facebook, Jeremy Otto from Otto Percussion Studio here to help you help your student get more out of their music lessons. Those of you that know me know that I can play a handful of instruments other than percussion and that I can play them pretty well. The one that I am probably best at outside of percussion is guitar. 


Now, I learned guitar using a secret practice method. It was so secret that I didn’t even realize I was doing it for some time, at which time I transferred it to drums and I instantly increased my practice time. I am here today to share this secret practice method with you. 
Are you ready. Here it is. Leave your instrument out. That’s it. Make it easy to get to. 
When I was growing up my mom’s guitar sat on a stand in the living room, and I would pick it up when I was watching TV. A commercial would come on and I had a guitar in my hand and would start playing. It’d be at least a minute back into whatever show I was watching before my attention went back to the TV and I’d noodle around haphazardly until the next commercial break. Is this the best practice I’ve ever put in? No of course not, but it was certainly more time with an instrument in my hand and it added up to something. Eventually I convinced my parents that my practice pad belonged on the coffee table.


Now I know that kids don’t watch TV in the same way that we did growing up, but encouraging them to have their instrument out in whatever situation might take that role, whether it be putting it next to the video game console, or next to the computer they watch youtube on. For my daughter the answer was putting up a wall hook for her cello. She practices so much more often just by the fact that the instrument is out and she sees it. And as my wife points out as well, if you have other little ones in the house, when one of them is playing their instrument, they ALL want to play their instrument, or each others instruments. Which is great cause everyone is playing! 


So, the take away for today is (1) encourage that instrument to come out of the case, and (2) if at all possible let it live in the place your student hangs out in. This will increase not only total practice time, but also will encourage them to explore and bond with their instrument. 
Thanks for watching. If you have any questions about how much your student should be practicing please send me a message or of course we can talk about it at lessons. If you haven’t already please ‘like’ the page and maybe share this video with others that might find it helpful. Thanks again, Lets hit it. 

Parent Tip Series – Traits of the BEST Students

Part of the series on helping parents help their students get the most out of lessons

Parent Tip Series – Traits of the BEST students

At Otto Percussion Studio we specialize in Drum and Percussion lessons for all ages and abilities. Give us a call or text at 248 783 6520 or send an email to otto@ottopercussion.com to set up lessons. If you’re local to Lake Orion, Rochester, Troy or the surrounding areas of North Oakland County, MI you can come directly to the studio. If not, we can set up lessons over the great series of tubes known as the internet!

Video Transcript

Hi Facebook, Jeremy Otto of Otto Percussion Studio here, and I’m here to help parents help students get more of their music lessons.
Today we’re going to talk about one specific characteristic of THE BEST students. 
We’re going to start with the assumption that these students put in an appropriate amount of practice for their level. That being said, as long as they practice a little, what we’re going to talk about applies. 
In terms of what they practice students are on a spectrum between doing everything you ask them to and doing nothing you ask them to. A student that does everything you ask is good. They will have a good technique and clean approach to to the instrument. A student that does none of the things you ask them to will do good things as well, as odd as that seems. It really means they’re doing the things they want to do instead. This is going to give them a sense of independence and autonomy over their music. Both these worlds sound great right? And that’s why THE BEST students fall right in the middle. They do the things you ask them to, and they also do the things they want to do. Those students take the studious, methodological world of music lessons and apply it to the music they want to learn and perform, and become THE BEST musicians. 
It’s pretty common to have a parent tell a student that is not working on their lesson material that they need to do more of that, but if you have a student that ONLY works on their lesson material, suggest they spend some time goofing off. It might be the best thing for them 
Thanks for watching. If you have any questions about how much your student should be practicing please send me a message or of course we can talk about it at lessons. If you haven’t already please ‘like’ the page and maybe share this video with others that might find it helpful. Thanks again, Lets hit it. 

If You Can’t Play It Slow, You Can’t Play It Fast

This is the first in a series of videos designed to help you help your student get the most out of their music lessons!

Parent Tip Series – If You Can’t Play It Slow You Can’t Play It Fast

At Otto Percussion Studio we specialize in Drum and Percussion lessons for all ages and abilities. Give us a call or text at 248 783 6520 or send an email to otto@ottopercussion.com to set up lessons. If you’re local to Lake Orion, Rochester, Troy or the surrounding areas of North Oakland County, MI you can come directly to the studio. If not, we can set up lessons over the great series of tubes known as the internet!

Video Transcript

Hi Facebook, Jeremy Otto from Otto Percussion Studio here. Welcome to the second video in my series designed to help parents help their children get more out of their music lessons. 
If you’ve ever waited for a student at my studio then you’ve overheard me saying ‘If you can’t play it slow, you can’t play it fast.’ Accuracy is so much more important than speed when you’re learning a new pattern and speed will come naturally once accuracy takes hold. It stands to reason then that the first step toward improving a difficult passage is to slow it down. 


Doing this can be surprisingly harder than it seems. Often when I ask a student to slow down they will start again at the exact same tempo, thinking that they have slowed down. The key is slowing down to a level that feels like it is absurdly too slow. It has to be so slow that the student has to pay attention to each individual note as opposed to grouping notes together. Music is a language and this is akin to coming up to hard word when reading and having to sound it out, break it apart into syllables to get it right. The difference is that rhythm is about how the length of each note relates to each other, and thus you have to slow down the entire thing, even the parts that you can already do, and that’s why it feels soooo slow. But it’s the guaranteed way to fix it.


So, if your student is struggling with a part, have them slow it down, and make sure they drop it so slow that they think its too slow. Once they get it, speeding it up will happen with ease 
Thanks for watching. If you have any questions about how slow your student should be working on a particular passage please send me a message or of course we can talk about it at lessons. If you haven’t already please ‘like’ the page and maybe share this video with others that might find it helpful. Thanks again, Lets hit it. 

Circle Of Fifths Exercise

This is hands down the most valuable exercise I ever learned on mallet percussion. It shaped my brain to be able to make order of the notes as opposed to everything feeling like a random mess!

Timing Patterns

Timing patterns are a set of patterns designed to help develop your Dominant Hand Sticking – sometimes known as Natural Sticking. This is where your dominant hand plays all of the downbeats and the &’s, and the sub-dominant hand plays all of the e’s and a’s. Working this exercise will help develop a sense of ‘sight-rhythms’ as well as develop a default sticking through muscle memory.

The Grid!

The Grid is a classic exercise that takes you through all possible accents for a group of four notes. The real fun begins when you start using it ways other than accents.

For your next challenge try the Triplet Grid on page 2!

Click To Download The PDF!

OPS Lessons and Recital Postponed

Hello Everyone, 


With the current health crisis we are facing I have decided that for the time being it is best if I suspend in-person operations at Otto Percussion Studio until a time that we can be more certain of the impact on our area. A full suspension of lessons and classes may seem like a bit much for what consists mostly of one on one instruction, but over the week there are many families that spend time at the Studio and I want to be certain that we do not become a vector. My tentative plan is to reassess week by week, but as it stands I expect that we will be out as long as the school systems are closed. 


This of course means that we will also need to postpone the Spring Recital that was to take place next Saturday, March 21st. I have already spoken with the venue as well as Paco and Tom and everyone is excited to reschedule. Paco called this recital’s program his “favorite cover set list ever.” While the shift in momentum of learning a piece and then having to wait to perform it can make it feel anti-climatic, this will provide some time to make the songs even better!


If you have prepaid lessons, all of those lessons will carry forward to when the studio reopens. If this policy creates a particular financial hardship during this time, please let me know and I will refund the lessons we miss. If you are interested, Skyping your lesson is an option. All you really need is a computer or mobile device with a camera and we can get going!


If any students feel that they’ve worked through their material and are looking for some new challenges, or if your student is stuck, please reach out. I’d love to spend some of this time answering questions and passing along more material to work on.


I want everyone to know that I am always in support of the choices you make to keep your family safe. Your safety and health are more important to me than any music lesson or class. If it comes time to open the studio again and the time is not right for your family, please do what is right for you. I understand and support your decisions. 


Thank you everyone for your continued support. It is an honor to get to work with you and your students. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you have.