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dealing with tennis (or marimba) elbow

I’ve had to take some time off these past two weeks to recover from a pretty nasty bit of tendonitis in my right shoulder and elbow. I have also been on the road a bit, and away from my instruments. As hard as it was to do, I applied REST and ICE! I’ve also been getting acupuncture and massage regularly.

Only in the last few days have I started to do gentle playing on the drum pad, and only stick work. I have yet to put 4-mallets back in my hands. (My self-assessment is that the 4-mallet work is what caused the flare of tendonitis and inflammation, so I am really waiting on this.)

In my physical downtime, I have been doing mental practice (visualizations of the music, and just reading the sheet music with my eyes) and working through some aspects of both Surface Drifts and Rip Tide. For Surface Drifts, I thought through several interpretations of the grace note figures… the one I finally choose will be determined by whether I want the simultaneous LH and RH grace note figures to both be played with a steady rhythm, or if I want each line (RH vs. LH) to have some rubato. I’m not sure yet, as I have only worked it out in my head and on paper… we’ll see when I actually try to play the different interpretations. Some of these grace note figures include 20+ notes in each hand, and they are notated in linear (not composite) patterns, so I feel that they should be heard as two separate lines being played simultaneously. However, in order to execute them, I will have to understand the composite rhythm of the two hands played together, and it will be my job to make them sound like two separate lines with appropriate articulation and phrasing. These grace notes are definitely the most technically and musically challenging aspect of the piece, so it has actually been good to be able to spend time just looking at and thinking about them without playing.

I will return home tonight, so I will get back to physically practicing tomorrow. The trick will be to not get back into it too quickly.

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