Wow, I am thrilled! So much good advice. This should be posted in the technique section:
e2c wrote:About holding the sticks loosely: yep, you want your thumb and fingers to act as a pivot for the sitcks, no matter whether you're using a Mali-style dunun stick or a straight (Guinea) stick. It's made all the difference in the world for me, as not only is it easier on the wrists and hands, but it takes advantage of what set players call natural rebound - the way the sticks bounce back from the drumheads.
rachelnguyen wrote:Good comment about the pivot for the sticks. That is exactly what I am trying to develop. It almost forces you to relax your hands and (more importantly) your arms and shoulders. Sometimes when I am practicing, I hit the sweet spot and feel all the tension release. I have yet to be able to sustain that for very long, though.
e2c wrote:Also, those super-light weight Mali konkoni sticks are (imo) much easier to work with re. a looser grip. I like straight dun sticks, too (different sticks for different sounds), but I think I have more of a tendency to tense my wrists and arms when using them. The lightweight sticks allow a player to maintain a very loose grip for a longer period of time, imo - and if you look at vids of experienced konkoni players, they all seem to have very relaxed wrists and forearms.
Garvin wrote:Stick technique is something that almost never gets any attention among WA drummers. I came to this music as a drumset player and was always appalled to see the stiff arms that folks would approach the dundun with. I think its great just to get that little tidbit about relaxing the hands and wrists. Gravity does a lot of the playing for you, and you really want to use as little of the "arm" as possible. Obviously the rebound is different on duns than on a regular drumset, but you should pay attention to the natural rebound of whatever dundun you are playing.
rachelnguyen wrote: My arms just can't move fast enough, but my relaxed hands and wrists CAN.)
Michel wrote:What suits me most is the konkoni or the jelidunun. And our teacher Moussé is always trying to convince us that using your wrists quite loose is the best technique. Let the stick bounce and use little as possible force, use the natural movement of the stick, just a little pressure at the right moment is enough to make a good hit. And what helps me sometimes is switching the stick from between my thumb and my index finger to between my index finger and the middle finger. Which I saw mostly Burkina dununfola (and balafola!) do.
davidognomo wrote:About wrist technique, on the dununset, I think it's very similar to the wrist technique of snare, drumset and a lot of vertical drums played with stick. at least that's the tchnique I incorporated. You turn the inside of your wrists down, instead of facing each other. That's what I learned from a classical percussionist who played drumset and marimba. It works for me. You use the boucing back of the stick, its weight, you learn to listen to the bounce.
When it comes to play just one dunum, layed horizontally, it's a different thing.
I think all of this advice is helpful. And I have the same problem with the horizontal layed drums played high speed -- my upper arms and shoulders burn like hell after only 15 seconds! On stage this is hell. You do and can not warm up, and the African drummers I used to play with love to start really fast, at least double time in comparison with the hours of practise as a band. I tried to use a konkoni stick lately and the loose wrist technique you approach in playing the konkoni, but it did not work, the angle is different on the dununba. I wonder if Daniel (afoba) has some good advice for this, since he specialised on the horizontially layed duns (how did your concert/workshop in Berlin went, anyway?).
e2c, I wonder if stretching works, though. In the last couple of years I have heard that scientists could not find evidence of stretching having any positive effect on the prevention of injuries in sports, especially applied before
the phyical excercises. In fact, stretching could cause injuries themselves if not done properly.