Monday, September 1, 2014

Soloing, part 9-2: Endings

There’s almost nothing sadder than a solo without an ending.  It's like a story without a conclusion, a melody without resolution, a cake without frosting?  Ok, maybe not that last one.

Wait, don’t all solos have an ending?  I mean when it’s over, that’s the end, right?  What I’m getting at is having an intentional ending, anything from long minutes to a pose.  This is your final point, your pearl of wisdom, your signature, etc.

A really good ending can save a so-so solo.  I know I’ve been out of the zone, trying to find something that feels better, not quite getting there, and then just flipping the switch and pulling off a strong, set ending.  It’s sort of like hitting an “abort” switch, but with a good outcome.

However, a so-so ending can bring a great solo down.  Imagine getting really into a movie but at the end, the plot resolves in a really unsatisfying way.  That’s what you’ll remember, even if you enjoyed the rest of it.

It’s also a shame when a solo just ends without any indication that.

…it’s ending.

I don’t think you necessarily need to have a set ending for all of your solos, but it can’t hurt to have a “go-to” ending that you can pull off when you really need it.  I would also say that you should at least step up your endings compared to whatever else you’ve been doing.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to one-up the people before you, it just needs to feel like it’s intentional in its effort.

A benefit to having a set ending is that you know you have something safe to “land on” (a counterpart to the Launchpad from 9-1).  It gives you some freedom to explore, and you have the option to just plug on the ending at…well, the end.

I also recommend watching taiko solos and taking note of how people end their solos.  What works for you?  What doesn’t?  And then can you identify why or why not?  That will go a long way into helping you find your own way of leaving the audience with a great solo.

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