Excerpt – An Alexander Technique Approach to Drums Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on April 11, 2012

This ebook is published on this website in a PDF format.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

When a drummer plays the pedals, he or she wants to be so able to move his feet and legs easily on the pedals, so that he doesn’t have to compromise his torso’s posture. This means that for the drummer, since the legs and feet are going to be constantly changing position to move the pedals, then the drummer needs to be totally balanced and grounded on his sit bones.

The sit bones of the drummer are his feet, especially if he is playing with double pedals. If the drummer is fully balanced on his sit bones, then when the legs move, he won’t have to tense his torso to keep from leaning backward or compensate by leaning into the drums.

The drummer wants to always be in a state of directing as she plays, if she wants to do the least amount of work to change the pedals. Directing is the head leading the spine into lengthening upward and away from the sit bones of the drummer. I’ll be going into more detail on directing or direction in the section on it.

I’d like to start with the height of the stool without going into the quality of the movement of the drummer’s legs for a moment. I’d like you to raise the stool high enough, so that it isn’t a strain on the torso to be fully upright when the pedal is up, which of course means the front of the foot is up. It is the pedal that brings the front of the foot up, and you have to let the calve muscle (gastrocnemius and soleus) lengthen for the front of the foot to be lifted without slowing down the pedal mechanism. It is the calve that plays the pedal.

Now, place the foot on the pedal with the pedal up. What happened when you did this? Did you tense in your whole body and either lean backward or forward when you placed the foot on the pedal up? Do this with the other foot. Did you do something different in each leg and your torso to place each foot in playing position? If you did, try it again, but attempt not to lean backward or forward, still one leg at a time. What happened? Did you tense in your whole body to keep from leaning?

This would be the typical way many musicians attempt to master a new technique. They try to accomplish what they want by using more muscle. They use this extra muscle to block what they don’t want to happen. In the drummer’s case, it would be using too much muscle to hold the torso fully upright, as the pedal raises the front of the foot.

In the Alexander Technique we teach the drummer to use less muscle and to balance the torso upward by directing. Allow the hip joint to be free as the whole leg is raised, as you ride the pedal up. Releasing the calve lets the pedal do the work of raising the foot. If the leg and the shin release, then the leg releases between playing the bass drum, rather than works to get the foot up.

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