Sunday, October 4, 2009

Success and failure

Well, since my last entry was all about what was going to happen, I thought it only fair to tell you what actually happened.

Evening didn't start well... Quartet had a rehearsal slot an hour before the show, and just as I had feared, I it took way too much effort just keeping my right foot in contact with the bass-drum pedal. Much less actually playing worthwhile notes with it. Another compounding irritant is that my leg reacts very badly to pressure being applied to the ball of the foot. It doesn't exactly cause "pain" as such, but it's really, really, uncomfortable. Pressure on the heel is OK, but the ball of the foot is not. Of course, that's the part of my foot that's most involved when I need to play the piano (which is especially uncomfortable, because I push down on the pedal and the pedal pushes back), when I'm driving and especially when I'm stuck in traffic, and when I play the organ (I tend to play theater-organ style, with right foot on the volume pedal a lot of the time). Anyway, my foot wouldn't stay under control and attempting to use my foot on the bass-drum pedal was causing me horrible amounts of discomfort, and after the rehearsal I went into my office and had all I could do to not break down in tears.

Well, anyway, whatever annoyances my foot/leg went through in rehearsal also made it harder than usual to walk (for my convenience). Fast forward to the magic trick I was asked to do--which I'm glad to report went very well, even though walking around through the audience was made disturbingly difficult by my leg's displeasure, and everything happened that was supposed to happen and everyone seemed to like it. (And many people, including my students, told me afterwards how much they liked it, which was VERY nice to hear.)

Fast forward to the music. Very interesting experience, of course; some of it was some of the best jazz-combo set playing I've ever done, even though I spent at least half the time with three limbs on autopilot and most of my attention focused on the uncooperative right foot. If I hadn't been fighting my own limbs, I would have really enjoyed it. No, that's not correct... even with the malfunctioning foot, I enjoyed it. Even though it was also more than a little, well, horrible.

Now, obviously, if I were a set player, I know exactly how I'd have to modify the drum pedal to eliminate the "wandering foot" syndrome, and if it weren't for the massive discomfort of pressure on the ball of my foot, I could probably practice/physical therapy my way to functionality. But I'm not a set player. And the same thing that made my right foot "wander" while I was playing the set makes it "wander" when I'm playing the organ pedals, and I definitely can't apply the same engineering solution to that problem. I will confess, I'm on the edge of wondering whether that was the last time I'll ever play drum set, simply because it was a rather horrible experience, trying to make music with a barely-controllable foot.

I definitely "don't want The Disease to win," so I'm definitely not willing to say "It's over." Whatever "it" may be... playing drumset, in this case, I guess. But somehow, I'm not motivated to rebel against it and scream "It's definitely NOT!!! over!" because... well, to be truthful, I don't know why.

I may need to let this one cook a bit. But sometimes "make no decision" is the right decision. We'll see how that one works, for now.

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