Friday, September 24, 2010

Evelyn Glennie: How to listen to music with your whole body

Image from Drummerworld.

Learning to perform music is not just about playing the right notes at the right time.

Ensure that the ‘pulse’ can be felt throughout the whole piece. This is especially important when playing un-pitched percussion such as snare drums

It is important to ‘tell the story’ through expression and playing in the correct style.

In music, especially percussion, techniques that suit the instrument you are playing on are important for producing the correct sound.

You need to monitor your movements on each instrument so that timing, dynamics, and the sound you produce are suited to the music you are playing. Think of the difference between playing a bass drum for a marching band and playing soft rolls on a concert bass drum.

When you play on an instrument you need to lift your sound and play with feeling so that the audience can gain an understanding of the story you are telling.

Here are some notes I took from the video:

· As a musician, you need to do everything that is not on the music.

· Translation: things that make the music interesting

· Interpretation: getting the basic feeling from the written notation is not enough.

· If you allow your arm to simply support the stick instead of control it, you will feel more at one with the instrument.

· Performance is so “raw” and “basic” that it becomes an individual journey dependent on the size of the room, which instrument you are playing, the mallets you use, the speed with which you play etc

· Give yourself time to explore how a piece of music should be performed and with what sensitivity

· Music is much more than waves reacting with the membranes in your eardrums.

· Glennie is deaf and “hears” instruments with other parts of her body. She feels vibrations. Glennie tries to “connect” with the sounds she produces with more than just the ears a normal person employs. For example, she can “feel” different sound colours through vibrations in her arms or parts of her skull.

What steps can you go through to make your own performances more exciting?

1 comment:

  1. You can use paradiddles within drum fills to create patterns
    that would be awkward to play using only single strokes.
    Experiment with playing paradiddles between different sound
    surfaces (meaning different drums and cymbals) and you will
    soon be dazzled by the number of drum fills you can come up
    with based around this concept.

    paradiddle book
    paradiddle exercises