When you witness Troy Wright belting out drum transcripts to Meshuggah, it's interesting to learn that the Australian-based drummer was first inspired by the drum beats of Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" at the age of ten. Playing ever since, and teaching beginning when he was only fifteen years-old, Wright has achieved remarkable success through a unique mix of hard work, passion, and technology.
Wright's YouTube channel has over 110,000 subscribers with some covers hitting millions of views. With a focus on publishing digital material comprised of videos of Wright's energetic drumming-in-action accompanied by Sibelius | Ultimate transcripts and lesson notes, Wright's work routinely reaches hundreds of thousands. It is exactly this online activity that has led to global tours with bands such as Plini and The Intervals, opening for Animals As Leaders, and The Amity Affliction. Wright continues to find a balance between live performance, teaching, and publishing tutorials.
When asked about some of his teaching techniques, such as memorizing complicated charts, Wright considers himself old-school. "I use Sibelius to transcribe and literally hand-write each individual note in with a mouse. I transcribe what I need to play note-for-note because I'm a bit more of a visual learner," explains Wright. "By transcribing I can actually see what I'm playing and then, when I'm reading the transcript, I'm playing it 100% correct from the beginning so muscle-memory is kicking in right from the start."
Wright acknowledges ideas for developing a drum pattern can take place either in his mind or at the kit.
"If I'm not at the kit, it will usually be an idea that I will tap out and notate in Sibelius | Ultimate to play and expand upon on the drums later. If I'm practicing on the drums new ideas come out related to what I'm working on there and then and sometimes, depending on the complexity of the idea, I will also notate it or record into Pro Tools for further development later."
Wright works with Sibelius | Ultimate to develop the pattern by playing back the notation to hear what he has written. Often, he knows what it will sound like just by looking at the notation. Wright's process for playback is quite uncomplicated and uses a combination of Sibelius | Ultimate and video editing software. "I use Sibelius to notate the part(s) I want to feature in my videos and once I have finished and cleaned up the notation by spacing out the notes relative to their actual length, instead of being squashed as Sibelius default, I simply export the file as a PDF and then crop the bars or section I want and drag and drop straight into the video editing software, which is used for all of the automation and movement of parts."
With a solid online audience and a full schedule Wright takes advantage of Sibelius | Ultimate kit templates, which ensure consistency and save time. "Taking templates from previous notation projects I have done and applying these to new works I wish to write lets me re-save to the new file and things like the title, linear notes, BPM etc. are already in place and so I keep things consistent."
By transcribing I can actually see what I'm playing and then, when I'm reading the transcript, I'm playing it 100% correct from the beginning so muscle-memory is kicking in right from the start.
troy wright, professional drummer & music teacher
For progressive rock, Wright applies Sibelius | Ultimate features to assist with scores such as time signatures and layered patterns. "I love the ease of inputting or changing a time signature as well as the characteristics of note groupings within them," says Wright. "For example, with some patterns or grooves I write, I may wish to group 8th notes per beat instead of defaulting them to join 4 x 8ths together. This applies to odd time signatures such as 7/8 or 9/8 as well. It is easier to have an odd groove like this display in quarter-note groupings and have the last 8th on its own."
In addition to Sibelius | Ultimate, Wright uses Pro Tools. But perhaps the key to his success and the proliferation of his output is not overthinking the process. "Although I use Sibelius and Pro Tools every single day for absolutely every aspect of my professional and business-related workflow, I am quite simple with my use within those applications," explains Wright.
"I use Pro Tools for all drum recording, mixing and editing and I keep it pretty simple for my own mixes and love the standard plugins that come with Pro Tools. I use EQ III 7-band for all drums, the D-Verb 'Large Room 1' reverb on my snares and usually have the Maxim on the master to beef everything up a little more. If I'm doing a more professional session, I will send the raw stems to an engineer."
Wright has been teaching for many years now, and where his music is concerned, teaching remains one of his great loves. His plan is to continue to record and deliver his own videos along with student videos. "I'm really excited to get back into more YouTube content this year and share more and I also wish to publish a beginner drum book and an intermediate drum book in both a physical and digital form for my drum school students and students around the world."
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