As I get to the point of thinking about leaving Japan, I've been reflecting on what is it about my practice habits here that I really appreciate and hope to keep with me. Naturally, this has brought me to consider my teacher and what he has given me, and how I can continue to move forward once I don't have access to him on a regular basis.
I'd like to share with you one of the things I most appreciate about Shimamoto Sensei:
It's always different.
I don't mean that he's always teaching me new things, though this is true as well. Rather, the process of learning never comes to an end. While some drills/patterns are repeated regularly, it's never the same from one practice to the next. For the most part he's always changing things up.
It's not possible to let my mind become absent and leave the body to do all the work. That's not wa-daiko anyway, right? My mind and body are constantly challenged, and he often accomplishes this by making slight changes to a drill that my body has already memorized. So... guess what we're going to do today??
Focus: Balance, Dynamics
1. Keep the exact same dynamics for don tsu ku as before, except when the left hand is emphasized, as shown below.
2. And, in case you missed it last week: Don't let the line of your wrists break! You can see an example of this in a previous entry, Video B. Correct form is shown in Video C.
Red is Right, Black is Left, Bold is Emphasized.
Notice that there is a double right hit before each emphasized hit with your left hand. This gives plenty of time to lift that left hand, gracefully, before striking. This pattern sounds really great when played well and fast. So, start slowly, check your form and dynamics and gradually increase your metronome speed daily, but make sure it's never faster than you can actually play it well.
Here's an audio version in 3 speeds:
(My apologies for the wavering tempo and the tinny sound. I recorded this a couple of weeks ago with my new mic, but didn't check it...oops)