Monday, December 17, 2012

Too much of a good thing.

That signature pose you do is really awesome...until you do it four times in one solo.  And that spinning move?  It's really cool the first time, not so much the fifth...  And those triplets you sneak in at the end of a phrase?  Gets really predictable around the sixth time...

Most of us strive to find our own style of playing, even within the context of a strong group style.  This is especially true if you solo - we all want to express ourselves and possibly even stand out!

You have to look at what you do from the eyes of the audience.  A move that wows an audience is just less "wow-y" done over and over again.  I mean think about it, if someone did a beautiful back flip over the drum during their solo without losing a beat, you'd probably be totally impressed.  Now imagine seeing it again, then again, then again.  For most of us, it's just not as interesting by this point.  It also tends to bring up the question, "is that all they have?"

This reaction isn't limited taiko, either.  Anything visual that's done repeated times like that quickly often goes from "wow" to "meh", such as skateboard tricks, brick breaking, flying kicks, movie stunts, etc.  It's a little different with music where repetition is actually a good thing, but if we're talking in terms of a solo, it's quite the same.

For our audiences, subtle changes may not be enough to differentiate between moves.  For instance, if you do fancy signature move to the left, it may look exactly the same doing it to the right.  What you think is "different enough" may look "pretty much the same".  That's a hard call at times, but it's worth thinking about.

I don't mean to make this sound like finger wagging or scolding.  I just want people to think about what they do from the outside eye, and also comparing how they themselves view such things when they're watching people play.  This can be used as an opportunity for growth, if one is willing to work out what else they can do, how else they can stand out, what isn't being explored and go from there.

Be more than a gimmick.  Take what's easy and comfortable and use it as a launching point instead of a destination!

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