Thursday, February 7, 2008

Practice makes...

...well, not perfect, but better that before.

I have been running through all the pieces I know over the last couple of days. First Wassolonka, then Sounou, Dansa and Sidiyasa. It is interesting to play them all in a single session. Altogether it is about 20 rhythms. I want to do this while I am in Vietnam so I don't forget them while I am gone.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

3 more days....

I have three more days before we leave for Vietnam and I am debating whether to bring my small drum. Honestly, I think I will try and pack it if we have room. It seems impossible to imagine nearly three weeks without playing, especially since I have been hearing the dun dun rhythm in my head all day.

Which, by the way, leads me to make this statement:

Beware of redheads with drumsticks. And I don't mean chicken legs.

I asked my son Noah if I could borrow the drumsticks I gave him a few months ago so I could practice the part I learned yesterday. I have been walking around the house banging on any surface that isn't breakable. I remember the two parts, but still can't figure out how to put them together without my brain exploding.

3 more days.

I wonder if the folks sitting in coach on United Airlines flight 743 to Hong Kong will mind me banging on the back of their seat for 16 hours?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's always fun until someone ends up in tears

The other night Sidy warned us that when we are faced with a difficult piece, we may cry because it is so hard. I laughed, knowing it is true.

At my lesson this week, I cried.

Sidy had his dun duns with him for another lesson, so I asked if he would teach me the dun dun part for Sounou. I figure it would be good to know.

Dun duns are the big bass drums of Mali. They are large wooden cylinders with cowskin heads. He plays his with regular drumsticks, but he holds them backwards, with the tapered end in the palm of his hand.

Well, let me tell you. Dun duns are freaking hard. For Sounou you basically have to play two different rhythms, one on each drum, at the same time. I just couldn't get it. I tried. I tried. I tried. I could more or less play each rhythm independently, but when I tried to put them together, my brain froze and I was like a deer in the headlights.

Then, in a moment of compassion (or exasperation), Sidy had me play an easier piece.... where the hands work together. It WAS easier, but in the middle of it, I just lost it and couldn't find the rhythm again. No matter how hard I tried, it was gone.

Which is when I started crying.

Sidy said he was glad I cried about drumming. It shows that I recognize how hard it is.

I say I'll cry every day if it will make me a better player.