Looking at Percussion through a radical eye, while shaking off the cliches of our instruments, and seeking the danger within all things…
"No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Working With Gongs - Part 2
Further YouTube adventures. This time looking at different Gong types:
Life as an artist in any capacity is really a life of decisions. There are the every moment decisions: what step/color/sound do I take next? My recent blog series on concept/gesture/texture took a close look at those types of decisions that I take every day as a percussionist. But there are also a series of bigger decisions that affect the direction, or arc, of our life long career: what direction do I go in? Which group do I join? How much time do I devote to this? What is my ultimate goal/s?
Career type decisions are often deciding to be a jazz musician, or a classical musician, or a pop/rock musician. What direction do I go in? Or you can decide to be all of them. For many of us, life is a filter and things change throughout our careers. When were are young, energetic, and hungry for experience, we often take every gig imaginable, in all styles, and in every type of venue. In fact, this is advisable, as experience is the best teacher, and by trying new and different things, we may s…
I've been hanging out in California for almost 2 weeks. In that time I've been to the ocean, I've been to the mountains, and I've been to the city. In each case, I've spent a lot of time listening to the sounds around me and absorbing the rhythms. There is so much we can learn from our surroundings just by paying attention. How often do we just go through our day giving little regard to the natural things happening around us?
Oceans of rhythm I spent this afternoon at the beach, walking in the surf, listening to the waves crashing, paying attention to everything going on around me. I heard new and different rhythms. I felt new and different impulses in my nervous system. I learned from the wind and waves things that I can bring back to my music. I learned things you can never find in books.
Wherever you live: ocean, desert, forest, or city, take the time to listen to the world around you and absorb the sounds and rhythms.
This is a companion piece to last week's blog on concept. Percussion/drums are very visual instruments, so gesture is a natural part of performance. There is a lot of movement, both from the arms and, from the whole body itself. Not to mention the movement of the mallets/sticks we play with. Unless you are playing a particular theatrical piece of music, that might have gestures written out, gesture itself is usually given little thought.
ges·ture ˈjesCHər/ noun noun: gesture; plural noun: gestures1. a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning. "Alex made a gesture of apology" Think of the rock or metal drummer behind their kit, with arms raised and flying away. Or watch a marching band/drum corps, with each movement heavily choreographed for visual effect. This is what most people notice, what most drummers think about, the visual aspect. But what part does gesture play on the sound?