Thursday, February 18, 2016


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In a few cases, when I walk out of a room and close a door behind me, I'll give it a push as I keep walking and hope it closes shut.

I could easily shove it with great force and ensure that it closes, but it would slam shut hard and loud.  That's excessive.  It actually takes skill and intention to have it close completely by using juuust enough strength/technique and none more than needed.

It doesn't always work.  Sometimes I push a little too hard and it closes but I can hear how much louder it is compared to better attempts.  Other times it doesn't get all the way.  But with a few different doors I "frequent", I've definitely gotten more consistent at getting juuust enough strength to do the job.

I'm sure you're all fascinated by my door-closing abilities, but how does this relate to anything useful?  Simple.  A good strike only needs as much effort as it needs.  Sound confusing?

To strike a drum hard is easy.  Anyone can do it.  Refinement and efficiency is what sets the master apart from the novice.  Do you want to keep striking the drum harder than you need to?  Of course not.  It makes for an abrasive sound and is harder on the body than it needs to be.  So over time, using less strength to achieve a good sound makes for a worthy goal.

Sure, you can keep striking hard without worry for years, especially if you're younger.  But what about when you're older and don't have the same strength?  Or when there's a song that requires finesse?  Are you only using finesse in some songs?  Why not practice it in all songs?  Again, striking hard is easy; it doesn't take too much thought.  Finesse is NOT easy to do with a big chunk of wood being swung down towards a hide-covered barrel, people screaming around you, and the excitement of performance beating in your heart.  Without constant practice, we just wind up thwacking a drum hard.

And I'm not preaching here that people need to play quieter, either.  Sure, not playing as hard might lead to less volume, but the point is to only use as much force as you need.  The door closes just as securely if I slam it versus if I push it shut with juuust enough strength, and I don't piss off the neighbors by rattling their bones, either!

You can still play loudly with finesse; they're not mutually exclusive.  Loud is a quality of the output and finesse is the skill in which the strike was executed.  Too much focus in either aspect leads to uncomfortable extremes.  But just imagine how it would feel to play as loudly as you needed to, having the control you wanted to, and having the satisfaction that comes from the marriage of the two!

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