Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

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teeah Offline
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Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:09 am



What do you guys practice on when you don't have access to a board?
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cg0865 Offline
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Re:

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:38 pm



That's a great question. First of all let me congratulate you for actually being someone who wants to practice mallets at home. So many people think that they can't do anything if they don't have a marimba right in front of them which is not true! I assume you are just practicing 4 mallets in which case I would select a choice piece of carpet and hack away.

The main thing you want to remember is you whatever surface you are practicing on should be similar to the surface you're playing on. However since the main thing you are trying to do is just work on technique, just pick a surface that is not too hard or too soft. I would say a nice piece of carpet which is what I prefer. Sound absorbance is nice but not a requirement If you get back to whatever board you are using and find that you are extremely thrown off, would choose a new surface. Other than that just put on some of your favorite music and chop out!

Happy Practicing! :D

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hurt-a Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:56 pm



kitchen countertop works well, or a regular drumpad
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funnyan Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:20 pm



Personally, I find most drum pads too small and with much more rebound than a mallet instrument, so I don't use them for practicing mallets. Generally, I just use a bed that is at about the height at which I play marimba on. For one, it's quite similar to playing on a mallet instrument with little rebound, if any, and two, I can have pillows or some other item underneath the bed's blanket to act as the elevated keys. It emulates a marimba fairly well for my purposes, if I intend on doing more than just technique (if I'm only working on technique, I just bother with getting a surface with no rebound). If I'm trying to just clean rhythms, I go on a harder surface, such as the previous countertop suggestion, and maybe add cloth over the table to dampen the sound a bit and take away from the potential rebound (this provides clarity for each note I play, ensuring that I'm spot-on with my runs and so on, while, again, providing a good emulation of a mallet instrument's surface).


flamfivez Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:50 pm



My percussion ensamble practices on a thin carpeted floor with a thin clean blanket and there's not much of a difference when we transfer to a board. Besides the fact that your standing and actually playing notes but that's what we do
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funnyan Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:42 am



In my opinion, practicing on a surface that allows you to practice while standing is ideal: it ensures your arms are at the same distance from a practice surface to an actual mallet instrument, which, honestly, makes a world of difference.


joe356 Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:57 pm



A word about practicing technique or rhythm on the floor. D not try to play with your hands out in front of you. Sit with your legs crossed, and turn your upper body so that your hands are on either side of your knees. If you try to reach over your legs to play, you'll be reinforcing some pretty strange habits. You want to make sure that your hands are as close to the position they would be over a board at all times.

I would not try to learn notes away from a board. There are a ton of things you can do without incorporating that one element. Just like a tenor player can get a lot done with a single pad, so can you. You can reinforce dynamics, learn stickings (particularly for 4 mallets), check rhythmic accuracy, etc. practicing away from a board is actually something I make my students do. Wen you're not caught up in playing the right notes, you start to really learn about your hands, and how much control you have over the technique.


funnyan Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:31 pm



This is an interesting topic to me. Haha. Agree with joe about turning the upper body when working out technique, if one absolutely must be sitting. Though, I do have to say that, while I don't go out of my way to learn music without an instrument (I use a piano for this), I do try to emulate the movement of exercises if I were to play on an actual marimba (this includes playing raised keys). From what I've seen over the years, when I meet up with others after a long period of all of us not practicing on an actual mallet instrument, I seem to maintain the most note accuracy compared to them, and I would say that our playing abilities are quite equal, so I don't think it's just that.


DanielPedroza Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:02 am



When I was first learning four-mallet grip, I took an old towel, laid it down on a marimba, and traced the keys in permanent marker. I would go home and set the towel on a kitchen countertop and practice intervals on that, and in my experience, there was hardly any trouble with the feel and transferring it to a board. In short, I'd recommend a towel on a countertop.
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NGPercussion Offline
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Re: Best practice surfaces for practicing mallets?

Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:57 pm



Interesting. Did you have any trouble with having to respread the towel back out after playing on it for awhile?
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