Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit

10 Weeks to Better Drumming - Part 3

Call it Chi, Prana, or Mojo, there is an inherent spirit in each instrument waiting to be released. Indigenous people believe that. They also believe that the instrument makers possess a special spirit and impart that spirit into the instruments they construct. Often musical instruments are held as sacred and treated accordingly. We can even see this in the modern Western world in the way both musicians and audiences respond to something like a Stradivarius violin.

As musicians, we practice and practice, working to refine our technique, working to refine our sound. But sometimes we are too wrapped up in the technical aspects of our music to even notice this spirit. And our instruments respond accordingly. 

This week’s activity is to just sit and look at your instrument/s. Don’t play a note. Just imagine the sound, imagine the tone, imagine the music. Play the music in your mind, and seek the spirit within your instruments: hear the sounds, feel your hands making the motions—experience it as if you are really playing music. Everything begins within the mind. If we can imagine it, we can create it. So imagine the sound, the energy, the spirit of your instrument/s. Hear it and feel it inside you. Then when you play the next time, play this spirit and experience it. Notice how your instrument will now yield up it’s sound to you…
Yes—the springtimes needed you. Often a star
was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you
out of the distant past, or as you walked
under an open window, a violin
yielded itself to your hearing.
Rainer Maria Rilke, from The First Duino Elegy

~ MB


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