Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Drumming Left Handed

Part of TABLA each week for the first section of the Group is drumming with our wonderful percussionist Richard, who mentors us in the art of Drumming, teaching us the various rhythms using both hands with the  parts of  fingers and  whole hand with different technique of the many styles involved with drumming. Some of the group play on large animal skinned drums, some on the vinyl and some play on the smaller drums whilst others play on the tambourine, but for most part they play on their own drums that they have purchased.

Most drummers will play the drum right handed, lucky for me I am right handed, but find it is easier to play it left handed - which in itself is a whole new concept and something quite challenging as I have found after discovering that it was better to use than the right hand. Learning a new percussion instrument or using a prop in Bellydance to enhance the choreography is challenging most times depending on what it is, but when having to do drum left handed, it gets interesting to say the very least.

Positioning the drum on your lap either left or right side is pretty much the same or as many choose they have it standing upright on the floor at an angle, but it's the sound that follows after its first hit that matters, with the hand hitting the centre of the drum to create the deeper sounding first beat with it's correct sound. You can usually tell by the look on faces, hearing it and possibly a raised eyebrow or two from your instructor if the sound is off...that's usually the best way I know, because they look directly at you. It gets frustrating at times when the sound doesn't quite come across right on the initial impact and even the best and experienced drummers will have an off day with it till they find their drumming groove and "get into the zone".

Practicing when you can helps a great deal to get used to the way of holding your hand flat and your fingers closed together when you get a minute or a longer length of time to dedicate to drumming. It may not necessarily be on a drum due to the noise, it could be on the side of your knee relaxing at home or waiting at an appointment, listening to 4/4 counts to a song on the car radio as you drum your fingers on the steering wheel. I have been finding myself doing alot of that lately, getting some interesting looks from other motorists whilst stopped at a set of traffic lights with the music turned up drumming and singing away. But by sticking with it and learning to play something that is new, adds to the ever vast repertoire you have, as you slowly build it up and get that quiet sense of  accomplishment when it all comes together sounding pretty good at the end.

Softer notes with the fingers on the sound of the drum will create redness on the finger pad tips and to the first digit and too far down your fingers if hit wrong, as many have found out when first beginning drumming, as the middle finger will take the brunt of the edge with the other two fingers on either side will create a softer but firmer sound - and this is only with the left hand the right hand is a whole different story. Jewellry such as bracelets and the wearing of rings, I found isn't great either,  neither is having longish fingernails...it all gives a different sound to the drum when the skin is hit and the sound on the side of the rim with a wrist full of beautiful bracelets and bangles...although they look very good with the bling, just not as conducive to the playing of the drum.

Learning the basic scale when drumming in a  group is important, you need to know when to go back to it, if you feel flustered and cannot find the beat you were first starting to do as other drummers in the group go faster and add different strokes and sounds to the piece you are playing. Once you find your groove again and confident of doing this, I found that I was able to add the right hand fingers with it's sharp definitive strikes to the top of the drum and rim, giving the piece you are playing a different sound as both hands are used to continue with it. Then you will find that practicing whilst sometimes ending up with a red knee at times and singing at stop lights in the car whilst drumming on your steering wheel receiving all those funny looks from passing motorists was well worth it in the end.

Left Handed drumming Ra`naa - what not to do...curved hand, open fingers...it's a work in progress and the whole brain gym concept to get the left hand thinking like the right hand ...it will come in time with much practice and guided by our teacher. 

Right handed drummers Daluna and Zohra - Right hand flat and fingers close together and arm is straight.

Play to the beat of your drum and enjoy.


1 comment:

  1. I often find myself saying out loud dum tak tak dum tak.....Definitely strange looks ;)