Thursday, July 21, 2016

Putting your technique to the test

A couple of days ago, SJT did another one of its forays into playing/creating in public spaces, this time at the San Jose City Hall and plaza.

One of the ideas we came up with was to play part of a song on a catwalk high above the plaza, roughly four stories up.  I volunteered to be one of the ones going up, because I wanted to see how it felt.

The catwalk was sturdy, made of some kind of concrete, a good six feet or so wide, with railings on either side about foot feet high.  No danger of falling off.  However, playing a song like Oedo Bayashi/Yodan Uchi that has a lot of turning and jumping across made for a very interesting experiment.

I wasn't afraid of the height, but I was intensely aware of my bachi.  Hitting the railing behind me would probably catch my bachi and result in it falling a serious distance.  I was also aware that in certain parts of the song, the catwalk would shake slightly, making my stance feel a little wobbly.

My grip was not as loose as it normally is, and my focus was a bit split to compensate for future shaking.  I had to continually "fight" to open my grip, to trust in my stance, and to make it seem like I was having a ball.  And I was, really!

There are many stages that are too small, too cramped, with things nearby that you really don't want to smack with your bachi.  It's times like this when you find out what your technique is really like.  What happens when fear of impact creeps in, worry about footing, concern for the space around you?  Does technique that you didn't have to think twice about now start falling apart?

No one wants a gig where you're cramped and in danger of causing damage - to anything.  But those are the ones that teach you how to adapt, how to deal, and push you as an artist.  If you need everything to be perfect before you play, then how much are you limiting yourself?

No comments:

Post a Comment