Friday, 8 June 2012

If you hear me walking down the street...

The finger cymbal playing is coming along, thanks to my new practise regime. 

The zills I recently purchased are of the professional variety.  They are big and loud and the sound will cut through noisy bars and open air fetes.  But loud also has a downside, when practising for any sustained period of time. 

My "studio" at home is the kitchen in my tenement flat, breakfast table pushed to the side.  It's got a laminate floor and I try to tell myself this offers some kind of sound insulation for my poor neighbours.  Well they haven't yet complained... My poor ears, however, are ringing along with my fingers - they are now starting to suffer.

I needed to find a solution to my problem.  What's that I *struggle to* hear other dancers shout? Zill mufflers?  Baby socks?  I say no crochet.  I want to hear what I am doing, to work on the difference between dums and taks, clicks and claps. 

I had to think out of the apartment, and move my practise to the great outdoors.  Well, the streets of Edinburgh to be more precise.  So I've taken to walking home at night, zills in hand, through the old town, up the royal mile, across the meadows.  And it works.  I can practise my drills, rhythms, variations, slowing down, speeding up, tones, trills and tricks.  All the while, I am walking home to a constant beat, thinking about my tea, looking at the Edinburgh skyline, and browsing in shop windows.  And it's the same kind of brain multi-tasking skill, that I can then apply to my dancing. 

I do pass plenty of people every day.  But there are lots of other city noises all around, sometimes so much that even my zills are drowned out.  And no one's really exposed to the sound for more than a moment.  If anyone notices, I have mostly just been politely ignored. 

And the result?  Well, I think it's starting to work... In just a few weeks of practising a little bit every day, my fingers are getting used to playing.  And when I put on some music and start dancing zills in hand, I think I'm finally getting it!

Have you got a great practise trick for learning finger cymbals, zills or sagat?  I would love to hear it. 

In the meantime, here's a shot of that Edinburgh's skyline.  I hope this provides some nice distraction from playing the 200th repetition of Beledi rhythm.

Oh, by the way has anyone any advice for protecting zills from the rain...?

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