Coordination VS Independence

Weedie BRAIMAH on dununs
I believe choice of words can do a lot to clarify what a student should look for. That's why I think educational material talking about "independence" is bringing unnecessary confusion or even worse: unreachable expectations. Independence is a myth that we, musicians, try to make the listener believe in. Students don't need this. Independence is a state of no relationship between different entities. On the contrary coordination is the ability to execute different actions linked by a specific goal. We have only one brain so it's somehow more limited than two separate parts coordinating themselves but there are some tricks that allow the musician to play several parts at once giving the illusion of independence.

Very briefly the idea is to alternate techniques, for example :
  • Improvised lines while the other hand plays simple patterns (beats are fine).
  • Poly rhythmic patterns you already know.
  • Mono rhythmic solo lines.

This is what Weedie BRAIMAH does on dununs in the above video : when he plays variations with the right hand he mostly plays the beats or so with the left. When he leads with the left hand the right doesn't play or is part of the same lick. Those techniques are mixed with the use of coordinated patterns he blends smoothly one after another. The illusion of independence is particularly effective because his sound projection and gesture are adequate, he can lead with right and left hands, he makes changes in almost every measures and knows when and how to free himself and make us smile with brillant mono rhythmic licks - which can't be played better BTW. The mix of techniques is very accomplished here. 

So the independence myth is down. The bad new is that you have to practice hard and long to approach this level of coordination mastery.
Congratulations Weedie!
Poly rhythmic Pattern
Poly rhythmic Pattern & Mono Rhythmic Lick
Notes which are part of the same mono rhythmic lick are in red when played on the opposite dunun.
Poly rhythmic Pattern & Mono Rhythmic Variation
Lead comes alternatively from right and left hands.

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