Re: Heel Toe
here is what Jojo Mayer says about heel-toe technique:
''In regards to your questions about the "reverse stroke", Heel Toe,"push pull" or "watheverthef'#$%k" -Foot technique i would point out the following:
I like light, low mass pedals like the old flexi flyer or the old camco or gretsch floating action pedals ( all of 'em out of manufacturing) .In any case,I use very minimal spring tension on my pedal. The spring is real loose, so the beater almost falls back to me after impact (as opposed to snap back at me). Personally,I preferre longer footboards (tama iron cobra, Sonor phonic, the new Pearl pedal's good too), but you can do the technique on any pedal if executed the right way. I also HATE toe stops and i remove'em if neccessary. They reduce the aera of my foot's action.I need every inch of my footboard.
The basic idea is to generate the first "down"- stroke launched from your heel up position, generated from your knee, not your toes (important!).Followed by a 2nd " up"- stroke, generated by the calf. So your leg goes :
up-down, up-down,(bam-bam, bam-bam..).
It LOOKS's like a heel toe action but really it is kne (heel) -toe. That's the secret !
Experience the best way for you to push yourself. If you get cramps or pains, You obviously push yourself too hard or you did'nt observe the mechanics of your technique carefull enough.Therefore you have to "compensate" for the lack of agility, balance or training in a particular part of your body action, wich will result in "overemployed" muscular action hence cramps. I pay lot's of attention to the way i feel when i play. Dont' squeeze. If you "squeeze" when you practise, you will "squeeze" when you perform. Be patient let it grow naturally...experiment,observe yourself, use your immagination, relax, relax, RELAX, be patient! It took me a long time to cultivate and master this technique, and as im trying to improve it's still a work in progress to this day..
Learning a new technique is like growing a rare tropical plant. It requires sensitivity and all the above more than just hours of mindless shedding...
To conclude : wathever you do with your feet, allways be aware of were your balance and center is. Try to stay balanced and relaxed, it's important to every aspect of your playing and it starts with the way you sit and your pedal work. It's easy to loose center when getting into that kinda' right foot stuff!