Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Adaptive Anticipation or What comes next?

Adaptive Anticipation -- This is my own somewhat overblown term for controlling the sticks in a manner that anticipates subsequent strokes. It also refers to using the time between strokes to move the sticks to where they need to be. So while it's important to know how to make a certain stroke, a certain sound, it's equally important to know what sort of stroke comes next.

Let’s look at the infamous Moeller stroke. It consists of a 'down stroke' and an 'up stroke'. The down stroke is a full-length stroke executed with power, but with no rebound -- the stick tip remains close to the head. This is not a very useful position if you want to make another full-volume stroke, but it's ideal for a tap. Part two of the Moeller is to tap the stick and then lift it back up in preparation for another fuller stroke. Each type of stroke gets ready for what is to follow: The up stroke is a consequence of the down stroke just as the down stroke prepares for the up stroke.

Now let's look at paradiddles. If we play an accented first stroke, we add impetus. If we then keep the stick close to the head, it prepares us for the diddle, which is difficult to play with full strokes. The diddle also buys us lots of time for raising the other stick. This gives you a strong down stroke, followed by three lesser volume strokes, and plenty of time to get ready or the next figure.

So …
        R = Full down stroke while lifting the Left hand
        L = Half stroke
        RR = 2 Taps while lifting the Left hand
        L = Full down stroke while lifting the Right hand
        R= Half stroke
        LL = 2 Taps while lifting the Right hand

I like to use a billiard analogy. You can just whack the cue ball and hope for the best, but serious pool players put a lot of effort into controlling where the cue ball ends up. It's important to make the shot, but if you're not preparing for the next shot, your game will suffer. Same with your strokes.

I think in terms of down & up, slow & fast, accented & unaccented, and modify the end of my strokes appropriately. If I need to make two loud strokes in a row, then I'll use full strokes*. I'll make the stroke and let the stick rebound back to the top of the range. Then my stick is ready for the next stroke.

Down strokes prepare for lighter strokes; up strokes prepare for louder strokes, and free strokes prepare for another loud stroke. So get out some sticks and start lining up your next shot.

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