connecting the practice of technique with the art of the craft

Morning reading: Indirect Procedures, by Pedro de Alcantara, Chapter 14-Aesthetic Judgement


Snare drum

Warmup – Improvised starting with flam rudiments, and double paradiddles (not sure why… this is just what came out when I got behind the instrument); then turned improv into a Delecluse-style triple meter dance

Sightread – Delecluse orchestral solo, Les Parks rudimental solo



Improvised in numerous styles starting with 16th-note HH hip-hop/R&B groove playing with various open HH notes and syncopated BD patterns. That turned into a drum and bass groove, then to something more heavy metal-ish, and finally, somehow, I ended up trading fours with myself in a super fast swing. How’s that for taking it where it leads me!? In any case, the hands feel awesome this morning, and likely that is because I wasn’t thinking about them… I was just playing and listening. 😉 Something I read in the book Indirect Procedures this week has infiltrated into my practice… about non-doing and not letting technique practice be machine-like (which I have a tendency to do, because it has at times been like a meditative practice for me). However, that seems to result in me not always integrating the musical/aesthetic side of my practice into my technical practice. While it has been good for my personal/mental meditation, it may effectively separate technique and music. How can I play a technically challenging piece musically, if I do not practice technique musically?

Let’s see if I can take this to the marimba…


Surface Drifts

Improvised including all stroke types, varying dynamics, opposing dynamics n each hand, at times improvising in the style of Steve Reich, at others in the style of Surface Drifts.

5s – worked through mm. 56-60 backwards, one beat at a time, for a while – working towards greater accuracy and comfort in transition from 57-58, and 58-59; also played through 5s in m. 53 and m. 72 several times.

Mm. 40-end – played thru once reading, then played from memory with very high note recall, though hands didn’t always get to the right place. 😉

Mm. 1-39 – played through each section several times, getting used to different room, different mallets, and the school marimba. No metronome, not pushing tempo at all.

I actually found that my note memory was more accurate in this setting than it has been at home the past few weeks… perhaps being in a different setting my brain/memory work harder or just differently, and therefore performed better. What great evidence for changing things up, not always practice in the same place, with controlled settings… you NEVER know what’s going to happen on stage, and being flexible in practice is certainly good preparation for that uncertainty.


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