Monday, October 7, 2013

My Cadence Is Off

  An odd problem I bumped into yesterday was that apparently I have a bit of an issue playing repetitive chords while keeping a good cadence. I'm not sure that's the word I want to use here, but we'll go with it for lack of a better one. Basically in the same way that you might strum a chord several times on a guitar before switching to a new chord, which seems natural to me, I struggle with the piano equivalent because it feels a little unnatural. To be fair to myself, I've only tried it a few times since yesterday but it felt more awkward than I'd have expected. All the songs I've learned up until now have had very limited repetition to them. If you'd asked me which sounded easiest, I'd have said "playing the same chords over and over will be cake" but that isn't turning out to be true for me.

  Form a mental image of playing drums, as if you were alternating a single drum lick back and forth between both hands. That's not something I find very complex to do, it feels natural to my body. But if I minimize that movement and limit it to a smaller range of motion, such as drumming my index fingers alternately on a desk, I can't really do it rapidly. When I try I end up banging both fingers against the surface in unison. I probably look like an impatient kid banging on the table because his dinner isn't ready yet. I'm not sure why, but I've always had that limitation. which I learned many, many years ago when I was in fact air drumming on a desk in school. I don't know why I can do it with full arm motions easily but not with shorter wrist motions. I've been wondering if that would somehow bleed over into playing piano and I figure the repetition I'm struggling with is related to that limitation. 

  I feel like there's some body motion that might be the key to this. When I play guitar and get into a strum pattern, I have a bit of a sway to my posture, a nod with my head, perhaps even a tap with my foot. I recall when I first started learning, I was very rigid and strumming felt very robotic. After I became more comfortable with the instrument, I began to loosen up, though it's not something I actually noticed until I reflected. I haven't really gotten that sort of full-body participation going with my piano playing yet. But I'm still getting myself comfortable with the instrument, just the way I did with guitar, so I'm assuming that in a little time I'll overcome this hurdle the way I have all of the other ones that have stumped me when first presented to me.

"So I'll wait for you; and I'll burn"

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