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FINGER CYMBAL AWARENESS MONTH 2018
What is it?
A few years back Danielle felt compelled to blog about the importance of playing cymbals mindfully and intentionally, especially when working with live musicians. This sparked what she thought was a nerdy catch phrase of “February Finger Cymbal Awareness Month.” A time for dancers to dedicate themselves to strengthening their technique and learning more about the contexts and applications of cymbal playing. Click here to read that blog post! Baksana as a whole has decided to take up the banner, and wave it proudly, as cymbal playing has become an essential and bonding element of the group. In February 2018 we have devised a plan to launch an interactive social media campaign to share our love of cymbals. All month long we will be hosting challenges, posting videos of some of our inspirations, offering some historical context, and sharing our process of personal practice as well as playing together. To join in the fun, follow our Instagram and/or Facebook page! Be sure to tag @baksanabellydance and #fingercymbalawarenessmonth in all your cymbal related posts this month so we, and the community at large, can find you and shower you with excitement and support! We’ll be archiving some of our key posts HERE for easy reference.
What are the challenges?
The “challenges” are for anyone, at any level…though they will often be challenging. Just do whatever parts you can! Somedays just putting on your cymbals and messing around in your own way will be all that comes of it, and that’s great! Sometimes we’ll be playing for prizes (like discounts on Baksana merchandise or classes) but often the reward is the joy in doing/learning something new and sharing in the celebration and support of others! Lets Play!
•“Try it Tuesdays” video posts : We will play a composition and challenge YOU to film yourself giving it a try! There are many ways to engage. Maybe you just sit and play it back, or maybe you play and dance the combo we demonstrate, OR maybe you play and dance with your own combo or an improvisation! You don’t need to be a fusion-y “Baksana style of dancer” fyi. We welcome all styles of dancers and celebrate diversity in “play-back” demonstrations. Heck, you don’t even have to be a dancer at all! We’d love to see how musicians interpret what we’re presenting as well.
•“Write it Wednesdays” photo posts : This is a two parter. A) We will play a composition and YOU write it out in notation style (see below), snap a photo, and post it back! B) Optional Also, YOU can write a composition of your own, send it to us, and we’ll draw one name from a hat each week and and play that composition for you! We’ll be available all month for mini-skype lessons (or full sessions) to those who are interested in learning Baksana’s notation, or if you already have a book and just need a little help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book a Skype!
• “Friends on Fridays” video/photo posts : It’s always better with company! Oooorrr it’s maybe a little bit scary to play zils around others and this would be a good excuse to “level up”? Either way, we encourage you to find some friends to play with, or a friend to play for. Maybe you are able to start a weekly meet up for the month, or Skype with another cymbal loving pal would be best for you. Maybe all you can manage is to play (gently) for your cat or pet goldfish…However you choose to spend cymbal time with others, share your fun with us and all your friends online!
• As mentioned, throughout the month we will also be posting some other material to help inspire everyone towards cymbal awareness. Things like warm-ups, interviews, mini-history/cultural context lessons, & other tips! If you also have something you’d like to share that does not directly relate to any of the “challenges” please share and tag us!
• We believe in “real life shares” so if all you’ve got is 5 mins in your kitchen in your jammies that’s great!!! No need for fancy studio settings or make-up… It’s all about practice and bringing cymbals into our everyday lives.
•We want you to know that we truly do hope to engage with many different styles of dancers and musicians… so help us spread the word! Finger cymbals are a unifying element across most all genres of belly dance. We love that, and always desire more understanding and communication between “camps.” There is so much to learn!
• You can contact us at anytime to offer feedback or ask questions. Also, if you want to follow along with cymbal awareness month but do not feel comfortable posting your stuff publicly then we would be delighted to get posts straight to our inbox and offer our support to you that way! email@example.com
Cymbal Notation Book!
Over the past 3+ years, Baksana directors Danielle Elizabeth and Paul Evansmith have been developing a language of written notation that can be used to accurately record finger cymbal patterns and compositions within the context of classic western music notation. Inspired by general percussion notation, we have assigned specific symbols to denote the various tones we use while playing, and on which hand we play them, while incorporating other preexisting formal notation vocabulary such as time signatures, tempo, volume etc. The book we have published is 100% hand made by us! Formatted, assembled and printed on 100% recycled paper by Paul himself. We hope you’ll enjoy learning and incorporating this new system into your dance/music creativity.
Below is an example video from an exercise on page 26 of the notation book. Feel free to write to us anytime with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org