Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hiding weaknesses in kumidaiko

I've heard - and said - that you don't want to be the dead spot on stage in terms of ki and projection, and that's very true.  If everyone else is giving 120% and you're giving 70%, you're the one people are watching, and not for good reasons.

When you play in an ensemble - like kumidaiko - the sum of the players makes for a very strong effect.  However, it can also hides the weaknesses of the individual.  For a performance, this is great because you don't want those weaknesses to be noticed.  For the individual, however, this is not so great.

Think of singing in a choir, and feeling that strong sense of harmony in the moment.  That harmony can be so powerful that it conceals anyone who's off a semi-tone, who's not singing loud enough.  You wouldn't notice it as the audience, and you wouldn't notice it as the player with those issues because of the ensemble effect.  So in order not to fall into that trap, what can you do?

When you play a song (practicing a part you're familiar with), are you really playing cleanly, strongly?  Do you really look like how the song and the composer want you to look?  Are you demonstrating your group's style correctly?  The only way to really know these things is to play solo - not a solo, but play that part by yourself, listening and watching for what you know isn't up to par.  Now when you're new to a song or a part, it's very likely you might notice these things, but don't be too hard on yourself.

Unless you're just that good, you'll find flaws and things that aren't as strong as the group as a whole.  Being honest with yourself about how much difference there is between your skills and the ensemble can be a real ego-crusher, but from there you can grow.  Not knowing often means not growing...

No comments:

Post a Comment