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Re: injury prevention

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:42 am
by bubudi
i just revisited this thread and thought it would be very useful one day to collate some of this info into a set of short articles.

many of us have had our injuries (from the minor to the more serious) during the time we've been playing, and some of the more experienced drummers have had different kinds of injuries pop up at different stages of their playing careers.

e2c, earlier in the thread you mentioned that you tend to use frame drum techniques more (at least with the slap) because you found that it was not as hard on the wrists/fingers. i wonder if that's still true for you a couple of years down the track?

mikeleza, by 2nd slap do you mean the tonpalo (we've been referring to it here as a 3rd slap!). you mentioned changing your technique for that. could you share with us what you are doing different now and how that's coming along?

fiene bee, how are you going 6 months after the onset of your pain? any advances?

john, welcome back mate! how's the bamana ensemble going? must be coming into its 3rd or 4th year! and how is the therapy coming along? i think you're taking a good approach to relearn your technique and work on more effortless playing, but do make sure you warm up plenty with specific exercises for stretching and relaxing the wrist and for the whole body for that matter... and if you do find yourself in pain, taking a break for a day or two is good prevention. you don't want to be finding yourself answering that tongue in cheek zen koan you asked that man!

james also mentioned shoulder pain (in another thread) due to playing with a strap. that kind of thing usually happens because playing standing and strapped is more demanding, but often people don't practice with a strap, so they don't become conditioned to it, then find they quickly get tired during their performance. the pain can last several days. another reason (and this applies to just about all injuries) is insufficient warm up.

please feel free to chime in on your experiences, even if i haven't mentioned your name ;)

i found these warm up videos specifically for djembe.

enjoy!








also check out the dunun exercises and advice in the dunun technique thread.

be well!

Re: injury prevention

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:49 am
by e2c
What I meant is that I learned how to play slaps on frame drums 1st. The technique is slightly different on djembe, but not that much.

It's difficult to describe in words but very easy to demonstrate. And... it makes it easy to play slaps with very little effort. I think a lot of it has to do with having very relaxed, flexible wrists. (I know, i know... but when I see how hard a lot of people slam their drums to get tones and slaps - when that kind of physical effort is overkill - I tend to cringe a bit. Which doesn't mean that I never play hard - I do! I guess I just do it a bit differently than some of you folks.)

And I'm sure there are differences between how I play tones and slaps now to how I did it back in 2007, but an awful lot of it (for me) has been about adapting to a more or less horizontal plane as opposed to playing on the vertical (frame drums, darbouka). Also about learning to pace myself and keep my body as relaxed as possible, and developing stamina.

I think that when you are taught to use different parts of the hand (entire palm, individual fingers and fingertips, knuckles, etc.) that carries over into everything else that you play... in some ways, that's similar to many Indian classical and folkloric drumming techniques, though I've never learned to use the Indian "split hand" style. It's a whole different ballgame compared to the kind of "whole hand" playing that you see in most African and Latin/Afro-Latin percussion.

(No calluses yet, btw... ;))

Re: injury prevention

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:14 am
by e2c
One other thought (which I've posted about before, but it's relevant here):

What works for someone who's 6'3," has large hands/wrists and weights 200+ lbs. is not necessarily going to be the best approach for someone who is 5'4", fairly petite, with small hands and wrists. (I found this out the hard way after imitating the exact technique used by someone who was coaching me on duns - and who fits the above description.)

Everyone's bodies - and hands/wrists/arms - are different, and i have a feeling that a recognition of that might work to a lot of players' advantage in both the long and short run.

I'm still very much of the opinion that making a clear, clean sound (bass, slap or tone) is more about small nuances than it is about big gestures and lots of force... but that's just me.

Re: injury prevention

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:18 am
by michi
bubudi wrote:i just revisited this thread and thought it would be very useful one day to collate some of this info into a set of short articles.
Thanks for the collating effort and the videos!
james also mentioned shoulder pain (in another thread) due to playing with a strap. that kind of thing usually happens because playing standing and strapped is more demanding, but often people don't practice with a strap, so they don't become conditioned to it, then find they quickly get tired during their performance. the pain can last several days. another reason (and this applies to just about all injuries) is insufficient warm up.
After my first few long sessions standing up, my trapezius muscles were extremely tight. Somewhat like steel cables... :(

Playing standing up more often has reduced the problem for me; practice helps. Trapezius stretches are useful too.

Cheers,

Michi.

Re: injury prevention

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:47 am
by e2c
I think that anyone strapping a 20+ lb.object onto their shoulders needs to anticipate some discomfort - especially so when the object in question is hanging down like so much dead weight.

agreed with michi re. strengthening and stretches. but i'd think the best route to go - if possible - is becoming accustomed to this little by little: 5 mins. one day; then a "gap" day; then maybe try and see if you can up the 5 mins. to 7 the following day.... and so on.