Monday, June 17, 2013

Group time

In the past, I've talked about how much a metronome can improve one's skills in timing and rhythm, and I've even suggested that your entire group practice drills/patterns/songs with a metronome on to at the very least be aware of the tendencies.

This past weekend we just performed a collaboration with the local DJ crew and group friend, The Bangerz, as part of our 40th Anniversary season.  It was a 60+ minute show where almost every song had both taiko and digital music together.

But let me tell you something - when you're doing a whole concert to what's essentially a metronome, it's pretty freaking hard!  All the highs and lows from the taiko ensemble drown out the booms and the thwacks you would normally have down without a second thought, and even though you might know exactly where things are, that doesn't mean the rest of the group is there with you.

To get a group to play with full-on ki, proper kata, and stay on tempo throughout a song is one thing.  Doing it for a dozen of them?  Yikes.  It really tests how well you can focus while multitasking at the same time.  Yes, I know that's an oxymoron.  That's why it's difficult!

Now, this wouldn't be a proper post without things to think about, right?  If you find yourself the one person who's on while the rest of the group is getting off, how much should you stick to what's "right"?  Are you being a beacon or a distraction?  And if you find the group is fine but you're having trouble, what can you do to help get better?  Can you play quieter?  Use visual cues?  What's available?

Although I loved the show we just put on and The Bangerz were a blast to work with, I'm going to appreciate the ability to not be so precise for a while!

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