Sorry there were no tips this week. My little 2-year-old niece kept me quite busy. Let's check in on the paradiddles a bit more thoroughly.
Focus: Timing, Dexterity, Form
1. Take a moment to check your form in a mirror (with or without a drum). If your sticks are not striking in a direct line perpendicular to the drum, it not only makes your hits look sloppy, but it makes the sound less defined.
2. Non-emphasized hits should be quiet. Is it obvious which hits are emphasized and which are not? Pay close attention to this with today's drill.
Take a moment to look at your drum. If you're playing successive hits with both hands, where do your sticks usually make contact? Have you noticed that the tone of the drum is different depending on what part of the head you hit?
Let's take last week's pattern and explore this further. Play the pattern a few times on a drum first. Remember that bold hits are emphasized:
R L R R L R L L
Now, visualize that the diameter of your drum head is divided into 3rds and place each stick at a 1/3 mark. So, 1/3 of the drum is to the left of your left hand, 1/3 is between your hands, and 1/3 is to the right of your right hand. Make all of the non-emphasized hits at these points.
All of the emphasized points should be made at the center of the drum. By choosing carefully where to strike the drum, you'll be able to emphasize the bold hits more distinctly because the tone will be different from your non-emphasized hits.
Okay, you're all set! 15 minutes a day, increasing speed with a metronome, and I'll check in next week.
Take a moment to tap different parts of your drum with your bachi at different angles. What sounds the best to you? I know what sound I like best (and if you've taken my workshop, so do you!) and how to achieve that with form. If you play taiko with a group, having all members strike the same way will really clarify your sound.
So, take some time to figure out what works and then be consistent. Let me know how things are going--I'd love to hear from you!
The Yuasa Taiko Festival is next weekend. Drop me an email if you're in the Wakayama area and would like information.