Monday, January 18, 2016


If you read this blog regularly, you might get the sense that I don't like a lot of flashy stuff and that you should be really really good before you attempt anything fancy.  Not necessarily...

A lot of the flashy stuff just doesn't come off very well.  If you toss your bachi high in the air during a song but you don't catch it, that's pretty bad.  No one would argue that.  But if you catch it in your elbow and futz around to get it back into your hand that's still really bad to me.

Maybe you throw a cartwheel in your solo for the "wow" factor, but is it a good cartwheel?  Fully extended and clean?  Is the setup into and transition out of the cartwheel smooth or labored?  And then do you get right into a playing or wobble a bit?

Perhaps you want to kick over the drum but you're kind of unsure about it, and it looks to the audience like a very uncomfortable thing for you to do, because they can read you.

I can - and have - appreciated some of this flashier stuff when it's practiced, clean, and well-integrated.  The problem is that it's usually not those things...  Now that I think about it, I appreciate a well-rehearsed fail than a badly-executed success!

All I'm asking (if you're going to listen to me to begin with) is to practice the stunt you want to try, and practice it well.  Practice going into it, coming out of it.  Practice it as if your teachers were watching you, as if your co-workers were watching you, as if YOU were watching you.  Practice it until you don't worry about it, until you look forward to doing it.  Also important is to know when to NOT do it if it just doesn't feel ready.  People often ask "how do I gain confidence?" and one way to do it is to know when to restrain yourself and be ok with it.

So look...if you want to jump over a drum with your bachi on fire or somersault in mid-air before landing on the drum, just treat it with importance.  I love seeing new, unexpected things and always encourage people to think outside of the box, but when it comes to a performance, one badly done stunt can ruin the rest of a solo or song.  So good luck and keep trying!

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