Taking some time to reflect on yesterday’s rehearsal, I have notice a few different things. First and foremost, the accuracy in which we play as a band has increased substantially. I know I’m getting used to the way the other band members play. This helps a lot when it comes to locking down grooves, but I never appreciated before the amount in which familiarity with the playing of other musicians enables you to be dynamically mobile as a group. Playing music successfully with a group of other musicians relies heavily on each person’s ability to listen. However, as you get used to the playing of another person, you can really become proficient with dynamics. I have noticed two key elements when rehearsing.
Dynamics – Amount: Listening and watching for facial expressions and gestures to collectively decide how much to raise and lower the dynamics of a track. As a drummer, a lot of the finesse within my playing lies within dynamics, as we do not share the tonal variety that other instruments do. Progressing through this project, it has become more and more apparent that dynamics do not stop solely at volume. The groove can be changed and adjusted to create an entirely different feel. Even something as simple as moving the right hand from the hi-hats to the ride cymbal will often create a more mellow sound and instantly change the tone of the group. The type of music we are playing contains a good deal of improvisation.
Dynamics – Position – Getting used to the other members of the group has really helped. Understanding what direction to take dynamically is one thing, but one of the hardest things to judge is exactly when to ‘go’. During some of our earlier rehearsals, and even now occasionally, there will be sections where the dynamic is lifted or lowered to a certain extent, and everyone is unsure as to where to go next. But, speaking for myself, the more I understand the playing of the other band members, the easier I find it to know where they want to go during an improvised section.
I think these notions begin to touch upon the psychology of performance and rehearsal – both of which I’ve always been interested in. I intend to continue learning material, writing scores, but also investigating this area to see if there are new approaches that I can incorporate into my performance.