Monday, August 15, 2016

Is easy what you want?

When I'm playing Oedo Bayashi/Yodan Uchi, where there's a drum on either side of me, it makes things so much easier when I'm closer to the center.  With my wingspan, I can easily reach both drums to play whatever I want.

But it doesn't look very nice when I do that.  My arms don't need to extend (and in fact, they can't) when I'm that close, so I look cramped.  Same with my legs; I don't need to sink into my stance and use my lower body much so I look lazy.  But it's easy, right?

That solo I can pull out without thinking, in that song I've played for ages, that's easy to do.  I can "sell it" without thinking.

But every time I do that, I'm not really improving my skill by a significant amount.  On some level, sure, but the diminishing return is super-diminished by now.  So I'm losing out on an opportunity to create something new, exercise my improvisational muscles, improve on different techniques.  But at least it's easy, right?

Let's be honest, we all like things to be easy from time to time.  All that hard work you go through training and trying and failing and trying again, you want it to pay off, right?  It should!  And you should be able to enjoy that, too.

Finally crafted the perfect solo?  Enjoy it, work on it, improve it, savor it for a while.  Yes, the audience will enjoy it, but does that mean you can't make/create another solo that they'd enjoy?  Do  you feel comfortable when you play in a certain position?  Does that mean it's where you should be positioned?  Does it mean it looks good?

If you dwell in a place that's now "easy", what does that mean for you a year from now?  How will that have made you a better player/performer/artist?  After all, growth often means discomfort and/or struggle.

In a way, if nothing's ever easy when you're practicing, then you're often growing!

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