Posts Tagged ‘rhythmic energy’

The Elusive “Pocket”

May 12, 2013

There is this term used in music called the “pocket” or the “groove” and I can only describe it as this musical place where your one usually simple rhythmic part fits in perfectly with the other perfectly simple parts.

Consider an automobile engine for a moment. Each of the 8 cylinders fire only once, but in perfect succession, creating a powerful energy that can move a car! If one of those cylinders fires in the wrong place, the engine loses energy and doesn’t function as well.

In a band, a powerful rhythmic energy can be obtained by, contrary to a beginner’s first instincts, playing less rather than more. The trick here is to find out just which notes are really the important ones to play, and then play them in just the right place, with perfect timing. As each person finds their perfect part, the combined effect is a full, powerful sound.

But what the real obstacle often is, is the player’s willingness to forego the notion that playing more means you are a better player. I consider a good player to be one that plays the right notes at the right time, not a bunch of notes all the time.

Consider another example:
Have you ever noticed someone who talks constantly about themselves and their achievements to the point that no one else seems to get a chance to join the discussion? They talk so much that they leave little room for anyone to contribute to the conversation.

Now see if you recall anyone who tends to wait patiently for the just the right opportunity to say the perfect, simple statement. That statement is often so insightful that it encourages others to share their thoughts on the subject, too.

Finding that elusive pocket means being confident in your abilities to the point that you don’t feel the need to show off or dominate the musical conversation, but rather finding that simple yet profound statement to contribute. And it’s a group thing – you find and create your part with the others’ in mind.

This is a hard concept to explain in words, but I can only tell you that when you have truly experienced this, you won’t forget it. Playing becomes effortless and magical.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have you ever experiences anything like this?