The Art of Exaggeration
Updated: Oct 25, 2018
Before reading this blog, check out the video below:
Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Surf lesson
Whether your drum instructor is like Kunu from the above video or not, odds are they’ve tried different methods to get you to achieve a concept. Regardless if its surfing or music, one thing almost all teachers will ask their student to do if they’re struggling with a concept is to exaggerate the skill they are trying to achieve. Let’s bring additional awareness to what you’re doing by intentionally “overdoing” a concept.
Examples outside of drumming:
A golfer practicing the pause at the top of their swing
A basketball player only using their dominant hand while shooting free throws
A rock climber focusing on only 1 move during a route, using only upper body strength (no feet)
While none of these breakdowns would be used during actual competition, they can bring a great deal of awareness to the key fundamentals trying to be reinforced. By exaggerating, you can feel each extreme and learn how to gain control to execute the exact motion or behavior you’re trying to achieve.
In marching percussion, you may be asked by your instructor to exaggerate different concepts. These could include but aren't limited to the areas of timing, sound, technique and tempo:
Timing: If you’re playing a triplet diddle exercise and your the diddles are too tight, your instructor might ask you to slur the diddles. If you’re having issues with creating a consistent flam sounds your instructor may ask you to intentionally play them popped or very open. With a better understand of the variations, the player becomes more aware when they aren't playing with “correct” interpretation.
Sound: If you play with a very thin sound your instructor could ask you to play heavier with more natural arm weight behind each stroke. This will push more air out of the drum. When the player then eases up 10% to 15% they will be more likely to keep soft hands but produce a big sound.
Technique: If you’re having trouble rebounding the stick your instructor could ask you to remove all of your fingers except those on the fulcrum. This will give the feeling of extreme rebound to help the player understand what it feels like and that it’s possible to rebound with ease.
Tempo: If you’re rushing a musical passage your instructor could ask you to play it at 75% of the written tempo. This brings greater awareness to the exact sections that are being rushed so you can see what muscle groups need to be used to control those phrases.
All of these examples give the player additional perspective. When you understand and can execute the extremes, it gives you far more awareness and a higher chance of achieving the concept you’re trying to master. Isolate the issue, exaggerate it, make adjustments, and repeat.
These concepts are broken down by our expert team for each submitted IQ test. We would love to help you exaggerate
and fix your issues today.
Let’s drum smart.
Author: John McClean