There Is No One Way

It's easy to get caught up in the way you do things and think that it's the only way. Or you can look at other bands/musicians and think, "They're doing it wrong," or, "My way is best." But the Universe is vast, and there are many ways to reach the same end. 

That's one thing that attracts me to percussion: everyone's drum/percussion set is different. A piano is a piano, a trumpet a trumpet, a sax a sax, but drum set ups are always different and different sounding. This can often make the same piece of music very different sounding depending on who plays it. A good example is one of my favorite solo percussion pieces, Six Japanese Gardens, by composer Kaija Saariaho, scored for solo percussion and backing electronics. Here are 5 different performance videos from YouTube (there are even more videos of others performing this popular piece). The thing to notice is how each drummer uses different sounding instruments, which gives each performance a unique sound. It's all the same piece of music, but each is different in subtle ways.

Different sounds: Chau, Thai, Gamelan, Heng Gongs; timpani, or in one set up, toms and a bass drum; different mallet/stick selection; different sounding tambourines, wood blocks, log drums, cymbals, etc. all make for different sounding performances. And it's not just the sound, but the actual performance too. Different spirit. Different energy. 

So the next time you think that the way you do something is the best or only way, remember that other performers might have different ideas that are just a right and valid.

Stay different…

~ MB


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