Friday, March 27, 2009
5 Ways to Create A Deeper Connection with Your Music : Part 1
Creating a Deeper Connection to the Music You Play
by Jim Donovan
When learning to play the drums (many years ago..) I remember thinking that when I could "execute" and play a piece of music perfectly that I was "finished' with it. I thought that just executing a performance well was all there was to making music. After years of performance and watching the way an audience reacts to music I discovered that ''good execution" is only the beginning.
It was this realization that led me to figure out a way to share these ideas with people regardless of their musical ability so that they too could find ways to make their musical experiences more meaningful. What follows is part 1 in a series of a process that I use to connect with the music I play. I'll post all of the steps in future articles.
1st step: Learn the mechanics. Practice the actual physical movements on the instrument involved in the music you want to play. Continue to work on this until all of your motion is as effortless and relaxed as possible. Relaxation will allow for maximum endurance when playing something that requires a great deal of power or speed.
For example, If you sing while drumming, learn how the words fall in line with the coordination of your hands. This process is all about building muscle memory.
2nd step: Integrating your physical body into the pattern. Many times when we are making movements with our hands, all the motion and a majority of the energy ends up coming from our brains into our hands. This brain-hand coordination is only part of physically integrating a pattern.
The next part of this step is to allowing the rest of your body to participate in the pattern or phrases. Stevie Wonder is good example of someone who does this. Think about how he plays his piano. His whole upper body is moving with the rhythm of the music almost like a dance. If you were to see his feet, they would be moving around as well. His whole body is moving within the patterns he is creating.
A simple way to practice this idea is to allow your upper torso to sway back and forth ever so slightly in time with your pattern. The goal of this step is to really feel whatever your playing throughout your entire physical body. Eventually your motions will become very fluid and these motions will help to direct your musicality. This second step will help you to internalize the music and make it a part of you. Make these motions feel as natural as possible.
Stay tuned for part 2 next time...