Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lesson #41 (Jazz #6 1/22/12): Eurhythmics & Bowing

OMG - such a FUN and HILARIOUS lesson!!! :D

We went over rhythm using (Dalcroze's) Eurhythmics, which uses concepts of rhythm and structure with physical movement. I had to look that one up because I had never heard of that before until this lesson. It was a surprise when after we went over some bowing technique and was ready to do jazz he asked me to stand up to stomp out the rhythm we were playing and clap to the beat, some of which were syncopated.

When I'm not on the dance floor, I'm  fairly klutzy and uncoordinated! My husband says its because I'm so focused on the dance floor that once I stop dancing, I stop paying attention which is why I'm constantly bumping and tripping over things!
Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and somewhat embarassing to find I couldn't stomp out a beat while clapping on the OFF-beat! As soon as I had to think about clapping on the off beat (one and two AND three and four), I would lose my stomping. I couldn't help but laugh how bad I was! HILARIOUS! :).
Even more ironic, I dance Lindy Hop and the basic move (a swingout) is an eight count step which is syncopated: step, step, TRIple step - step, step TRIple step so I should have gotten this really easily!

From what I read the clapping and stomping is supposed to give me physical awareness and experience of music through kinesthetics. Clayton explained that in jazz its really important to feel the rhythm, and that if I don't have a very strong sense of rhythm (which I thought I did, but apparently not), than it won't make people want to groove to the beat or get up and dance. He also mentioned that when playing jazz gigs, a lot of times they'll hire a player who has better rhythm than someone who has a lot of "chops," i.e. someone who has a lot of technique, but no rhythm.

I looked up Eurhythmics on YouTube and found an interesting video. We didn't do any of the different body movements in the video, just stomping and clapping, but it was really fun! It was like a cello/dance/light exercise/rhythm lesson all rolled up into one!

Grasshopper Exercise
  • I wasn't quite getting this exercise so he gave me some suggestions: 
    • Make sure my fingers are light and not gripping the bow tightly 
    • Think of the bow as being "balanced," and not necessary  
    • Move my awareness to my pinky - at the frog, I should feel more of the tips of my pinky and at the tip of the bow I should feel more of my pinky's pad (more surface area)

We quickly went over the different  bowing again because I got confused as to what bow did what.
  • Detache
    • Moves from the elbow. We first tried resting my elbow on a chair while I played the cello and then Clayton held my elbow up while I played. It felt like everything below the elbow was moving and the rest was stationary. Clayton described it like a karate chop. 
  • Martele
    • Stop bow
    • Like a detache, but more accented start (faster start)
  • Martele with U shape 
    • Sound should go from light to heavy
  • Stacatto 
    • Off the string = U shape 
  • Legato 
    • Legato is not a specific bow stroke, its more like a characteristic. i.e the sound is more connected  

This was a very fun lesson! :)

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