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Monday, May 16, 2011

Volume

Playing drums has made up a half of my life so far and there's still no reason to stop playing. Whether or not I'm in a band, I must play, mainly to feed into my need to tap along to songs or air-drum. But it's come to my attention (only recently) about how hard I pound the stuffing out of drums and cymbals.

The Pull Tabs moved into a new rehearsal space recently. While working on new material during our first rehearsal in the space, I couldn't help noticing my snares kept slipping off of my snare drum. As in, my snare sound could turn into a tom-tom at any given moment. I had this problem before at our previous gig, but I wasn't so sure what the problem was. Turns out, the threading on my latch had worn away. So far away that I had to get the latch replaced.

One brief visit to Guitar Center got this taken care of (the clerk was kind enough to switch the new one on, free of charge). As I brought my snare back to the space, I decided to hear how the snare drum sounded. Moreover, I wanted to hear how the whole kit sounded. Sometimes drums can sound really out of whack and you never notice with earplugs in. My rack tom had been sounding a little off lately and I wondered if I had tuned my bass drum too tight.

After only a few minutes of lightly playing hip-hop beats, my ears heard something my parents and bandmates (former and present) know all too well: I play really, really loud. Even though I was playing only half the volume I usually play, I got the message.

I'm not going to back off from playing this loud, but it reminded me of how dynamics are incredibly important. When I think I'm playing lightly, I'm still playing loud. When I think I'm playing my heart out, I'm probably robbing someone (without earplugs in) of his or hers hearing for the next day or so.

So I will let this experience tell me: when it's time to be quiet, let's take it down a few more notches. Thus, when it's time to rock again, it's all-out loud. And it's good to play loud.

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