homemade percussion home
(A staff, actually and a much smaller and thinner stick.)
A wooden staff and another shorter and thinner
dowel can be used to good effect, in conjunction with stamping the
feet and/or perhaps another player's staff or stick... Once again,
we saw STOMP do it first, but nonetheless, it works, its fun and
easy to teach, and it can fit with other junk solutions. We happened
to find cheap lengths of bamboo on clearance at Pier 1, so we are
using them, but any broomstick will work..We find that using a much
thinner dowel for the short stick, perhaps like a thin timbale stick
opr even thinner, gives more sound options. A hefty chopstick even
works. Stomp, in contrast, uses sawed off shorter lengths of broomstick,
roughly the same width as the staff, for which they use broomsticks.
. This is sturdier and works better when connecting to another person's
Jingles or other bells can be added to your staff, and using velcro,
you can make these jingles or shaker elements optional..however
even without jingles, the staff & stick can be quite an expressive
Playing Tips - You
can get pitches based on how and from what point you hold the staff.
one good way to get variety is to hold the staff about 2/3 to 3/4
of the way to the top then play above and below that hand. Other
tones are available as well. Playing the staff while it is in the
air or held very lightly from a nodal point gives a marked contrast
in sound to a normally or tightly held staff..:-].
Use care when working with a bamboo staff on concrete surfaces,
because you can quickly cause damage to your staff. we much prefer
a wood floor, and even bring a piece of plywood to put down when
working on concrete..A typical rhythm based on the universal 3+3+2..
We assume you are right handed, and will hold the staff in your
left hand with the smaller stick in your right. Right is the stick(red),
Left is thre staff on the floor (blue).
For more advanced students: Experiment with playing
cascara patterns with the stick as the staff plays either clave
or the blue part above, and so on. it's nice to play something like
the short 6/8 bell part with the right hand, for example, and switch
in the staff hand between clave and simple downbeats..if I ever
get my new sound card configured right, i shall post examples; thanks
for your patience; check back..
It will take patience to develop complete control over the sustain
of the staff, and the behavior of the jingles, if you decide to
use them, but this is part of what make the instrument expressive..even
without mastering these subtle facets, the sticks are still useful..
An article is forthcoming which will detail practice rhythms to
build up one's facility on this instrument, and to integrate it
with other inexpensive junk instruments..stay tuned