a few days to note


Watched a video with  Ron Miles (cornet), Jason Moran (piano), Bill Frisell (guitar), Thomas Morgan (bass), Brian Blade (drums) before practicing yesterday morning, recommended by Art Falbush. Wow, what a thoughtful group of musicians. And, it led me into a really contemplative improvisation, slow moving, and lyrical. Not much thought about technique specifically, but I definitely got warmed up. Then… I headed off to work and didn’t get back to practice. ;-(



Marimba/Surface Drifts

Today, I am working my way into the marimba slowly… started with a little improvisation, technical and musical, then started reading the Bach Violin Sonata on the music stand. I felt distracted and disconnected, so I did some AT work on the floor. When I came back to improv again, with a slightly more quieted mind, I started with one note, and listened… I ended up spending about 15 minutes playing 4-note chords (with lots of close intervals), and rolling up and down the length of the bars leaning into the difference in resonance between playing on the node and playing in the ‘right’ spot on the bar. That felt really good. I was also switching between cross-grip and Stevens grip. Not sure why? 😉

Surface Drifts mm. 1-40 – played thru all, each hand separate and playing with two-mallets instead of four-mallets; played through all, hands separate, with four-mallets; THEN, worked phrase by phrase in 2-beat, 3-beat, 4-beat phrases (overlapping downbeats) and finally in full length phrases at 75bpm.

Surface Drifts mm. 1-40 (again) – continued with the same approach as earlier… until the skin on my right middle started getting tender (time for a bandaid). During this session, I did start thinking about how to musically and physically end the big phrases in this section (each phrase ends with gradually slowing rhythm and a diminuendo)… I’ll spare you the details, but in short, I am playing the last note of (mostly) each phrase with the left hand, and stopping the motion in my right side simultaneously when striking the left. It will work best if the motion from both sides is slow and connected in time and is held until the next phrase begins.

Channeling Chopin tonight (needing inspiration for the grace notes in Surface Drifts) by listening to a 1957 vinyl recording of Chopin Nocturnes played by Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes. And, after the student recital this evening, I spent about 30 minutes sightreading Chopin on piano.

On to tomorrow…


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