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snarescience.com • Playing looks "tense"
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Playing looks "tense"

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:59 am
by buswerks
Hi, this is my first year marching snare drum. I think I'm doing pretty well, but I keep getting comments from my percussive instructor and section leader that my playing is "tense" at higher tempos and that I need to "loosen up."

Any tips on fixing this problem?

Re: Playing looks "tense"

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:33 pm
by Isaiah.Lamb
Chances are you aren't initiating your stroke from the wrist. I'm not sure not what others teach, but the way I teach is that when the notes are slower, you play a bit more from the arm (don't take this out of context though!) but still using the wrist. As the speed increases and the space between notes decreases, you start to use more wrist and when you get to really fast tempos you move more into the fingers. The reason for this is because of the different sized muscles in your arm. Longer and bigger muscles (in the arm) are going to take more energy to move, and so we use these muscles when we play slower passages with more space. The smaller and more specialized muscles work perfect for faster and more articulate passages, and you can find these muscles in the wrist and fingers!

Anyways, sorry for that lecture, but what I'm getting at is that you need to make sure at those faster tempos you are working from the wrist and make sure it's turning, especially in your left hand. Arm movement should probably be very minimal. Relaxing is also very important, and so having some confidence in your ability to learn and improve will really help out too.! If you have any questions on what I just said, just let me know! and best of luck!

Re: Playing looks "tense"

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:39 pm
by billc36
My guess is that your shoulders are coming up while you're playing and you're not using enough finger while you're playing and trying to muscle through everything. That'll also influence the sound you produce.

Relaxation is the hardest thing to learn. There's no magic formula or anything the staff can really do. It's a mental thing that as you play more and gain confidence, you'll naturally relax.

Re: Playing looks "tense"

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:49 pm
by iDntBlink
I was the same, fingers and relax. practice at a slow tempo(yes it may be boring but it helps!) get in front of the mirror, i can't give you a good response since i can't see you drumming because everyone is different but i hope it helps a little bit! :)

Re: Playing looks "tense"

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:16 pm
by TheKingofNone
Ayyyyeeeeee, man, you finally got on this site! :D

Re: Playing looks "tense"

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:23 pm
by schorsquatch
billc36 wrote:My guess is that your shoulders are coming up while you're playing and you're not using enough finger while you're playing and trying to muscle through everything. That'll also influence the sound you produce.

Relaxation is the hardest thing to learn. There's no magic formula or anything the staff can really do. It's a mental thing that as you play more and gain confidence, you'll naturally relax.
This is code for reps.

Reps + Metronome + Mirror

Just play in front of the mirror and try to look like a badass.

There are three things we must all do alone in life. Be born. Die. Learn to relax while playing.