Introduction to Technical Practise
Technical practise is one of the most important elements of progressing quickly as a bodhran player. It is certainly great fun to play along with CDs and in a session and such play is absolutely necessary to develop your playing however it does not provide for a focused and determined acquisition of drumming skills.
The effect of following a technical practise regime is to develop the range of motions and actions that you will be using as part of your playing tool kit and to enable you to play smoothly and with control over all aspects of your playing. The majority of the exercise material presented in this section is designed to provide you the opportunity to develop familiarity at unfamiliar motions. The exercises are not prescriptive rhythms although they may appear in your playing where appropriate.
Bodojo strongly advocates the use of a metronome for these kinds of practise routines. Many in the traditional world fear the metronome, however the point is not to have you play like a robot, but instead to be able to reference your playing speed to a point that is outside of your control. In a group or session situation, that speed and its variation will often be dictated by the lead melody player of that set and more particularly the foot of that person which will usually be tapping the metronome pulse.
You should focus on identifying areas of your play that require attention and seek to focus on those rather than playing anything that you have already mastered unless for warming up. A metronome should be set at a point where you can comfortably execute an exercise a number of times without error, only then should you raise the speed to the point where you are challenged. Work at the challenged pace for a few minutes, drop the speed back to your comfortable pace and alternate between the two. You should find that your speed and accuracy will increase day by day.
Try to develop variations on the exercises and combining exercises to develop different areas of your rhythmic vocabulary. It is useful also to work through the exercises and emphasising or accenting in various places. Play an exercise alongside a piece of music and work on placing the accents in the exercise to fit with the music accents. Any and all variations that require you to focus on and understand what you are doing are good.