Speed, groove and relaxation

Ken’s workshop tonight was again uplifting. I have a mental glitch that helps me reliably forget one of the most well known patterns in all of Taikodom – Miyake. Still I managed to remember it right a few times after many cycles. I’m not quite sure why Ken thinks it is easier for me to remember it if it is played fast :)

I also had a humbling lesson in relaxation. I played ji-uchi for Ken and Laura while they practiced the Miyake duet they’ve worked up at a blazing pace. Since Miyake ji-uchi leads with the left; do-Don, do-Don, do-Don, do-Don, my goofy left hand was trying hard to trip me up and prevent me from playing evenly and at a consistent speed. And I’m unused to playing ji so steadily so fast for so many minutes at a time. I really had to breath, relax, shift stance, wiggle the shoulders, shorten the grip – every trick I could think of to prevent myself stiffening up from wrist to neck.

Lastly we practiced Wachi Matsuri Daiko. I’m playing with Fushicho Daiko at Matsuri and while I am confident of the ji-uchi and the main pattern, I haven’t played the opening many times, so 25 minutes continuous repetition was a great cardiovascular workout (I felt like I needed windscreen wipers for my spectacles) but also just loosened me up to play it more naturally and with greater accessible energy. It was great practice in targeting the sweet spot of the drum with my goofy hand and at strange angles. And I think I gained a lot of confidence in being in the groove of the main pattern and much improved the groove and fluidity of the opening.

Tired but very happy.

Leave a Reply