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  #1  
Old 08-25-2013, 10:33 PM
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Default Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Hello all!
I tend to move a lot, and get restless waiting in line, on the bus, stuff like that. I do what I call 'useful fidgeting', which is pretty much fidgeting with purpose. I tap dance, but there's not too much I can do with that in public and remain low key (ta daaaaaa!)

Since I've started to drum I've been able to subtly practice some coordination stuff. My favourite useful fidget is to practice foot ostentatos while i am sitting or standing, which I can do with nobody noticing.

I'm curious to hear if others fit in sneaky practice to pass the time while they're out and about. I'm working on a post for my blog about this, and would love some other ideas to share (before I quote anyone from here I'll be sure to PM to get permission first).

So, does anyone do the same? What do you do?
:) Leanne
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

My default fidget is the paradiddle. For me, they're the most fun to play around with because you can make them as easy or as hard as you like, simply by varying the placement of accents

Other than that, it's whichever bit of whichever song I'm struggling with at the time.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I too am fidgety if I have nothing to do with my hands. I will drum on my chest while waiting in line, the cart if shopping, my desk at school before class starts, whatever I can put my hands on. I drum on my dogs and wife (they both love it, the wife says it is really relaxing and feels better than a back massage), the handlebars while riding my bike, there is no limit to what can be drummed on. If I don't have activity for my hands to do, they are either in my pockets or drumming on something.

My feet are the same way. If I am sitting in a chair, my feet are usually running patterns. It is really hard to not do this while at school.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

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Originally Posted by MrInsanePolack View Post
It is really hard to not do this while at school.
Good point. I've said it before: if I were teaching a class in which somebody was drumming, I would morph seamlessly into my tigress avatar and rip them to shreds.

Leanne, re tap dance - I used to dance flamenco. I understand exactly where you're coming from!
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

A great use of fidget time...use that time to work on 4 way coordination. Like for instance 3 against 4 stuff, split up between your limbs any way you like. It should be something you can't do yet. Simply tapping a finger and flexing your big toes...doesn't look obvious, but you can get over some major coordination hurdles while you are waiting for the bridge to open.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Larry - I've never heard of 3 against 4 before, so I looked it up (i especailly liked this YouTube video : http://youtu.be/wQWQUc8CCa0 ) and it has completely blown my mind! Now there's a challenge to combat even the most boring situations.

It's a bit beyond me right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go try to get my head around it. I like a challenge!
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Hey since you have all that energy to burn, why not try and organize it, right? To be able to play poly rhythm, first you have to be able to think in poly rhythm. If you can't sing it, you can't play it. You don't need anything to learn to tap out poly rhythms with your fingers and toes, except the desire to do so.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

An alternative is to be in the moment rather than looking for distraction. That's the state you're in when you play.

Try really paying attention to your reality - the people around you, who all have stories - can you guess them? What about the design aesthetics of things around you? Contemporary? Retro? A particular period or style? How about the smell of the air? How about your breathing? The meditational in-the-moment stuff - noticing what your body is doing, where you are relaxed or tense etc?

I say this because I'm ADHD and ultra fidgety and I'm trying to train myself to be more mindful of the moment - more in touch with reality as it is right now, rather than past or future. I'm just a beginner doing this stuff, but I feel like this approach has potential for holistic improvements that will include drumming.

It's just one other option - nothing wrong with playing diddles or polyrhythms if it doesn't impinge on others in the queue.
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  #9  
Old 08-26-2013, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I'm a chronic foot tapper. If there is no music to tap to I make my own.
I nearly got turned off a bus once because the tapping was distracting the driver. Single stroke roll, putting the accents in odd places.

Also I am a finger tapper, knife, fork and spoon tapper in fact darn near anything tapper. I nearly drove my wife nuts sometimes.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I'm wary of 'fidgeting' in public for fear of annoying others.

My favorite thing to do in these cases is to transcribe something. I cool groove, a solo section from trading fours, etc. I find it better to do this on a bus, on a plane, in a car (now I'm hungry for green eggs and ham...) as I would prefer to use practice time to actually apply these things to my playing.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

When I pump gas, I always watch the first couple of bucks and count off the timing and look away, look back in 20 seconds or so and see if im on.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

There were years when I hardly played the drums but practiced via "fidgeting" on a daily basis while driving my car.

I've owned cars with automatic transmissions that have a nice place to rest your left foot that makes a pretty good substitute for the sound of a bass drum. I started messing around playing beats with my fingers on the steering wheel and learned to do all the bass drum patterns with my left foot.

I swear, I gained more from learning that specific coordination than I could have imagined. It proved really useful to me when applying it to the drum set. Besides making my left foot stronger, it increased my independence with my feet a great deal. Especially mastering left foot patterns for the hi-hat. Working three-way voicings against the ride cymbal pattern seemed pretty simple thanks to all those hours fidgeting in my car.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

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Originally Posted by The Old Hyde View Post
When I pump gas, I always watch the first couple of bucks and count off the timing and look away, look back in 20 seconds or so and see if im on.
I do this with the microwave. When it gets to "0", I try to open the door before the buzzer goes off but the clock shows back up. I've only had it happen like maybe a half dozen times out of thousands, but it still is good timing practice.
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  #14  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I can't imagine there are many drummers who DON'T do this.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:20 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I definitely do more than half the things mentioned in this thread, except dance. Never been a dancer.

When it comes to something being counted, I tend to do the same thing, but I have a tendency to grind my teeth a little bit instead of tapping. I think I developed this because when I was younger I would tap the cupboards or the fridge or w/e looking for something to eat, or tap on the counter waiting for something, or tap on my keyboard without pressing keys while thinking in class, and was always getting yelled at for being rude and impatient from siblings/teachers/parents/friends etc.

But like mentioned before, I have been learning to think about NOW and forget about everything else in the past/present. I have come to realize I am easily controlled by negative thoughts or thinking about the past/future. I realized this one day, and decided it is not good to be thinking about what your going to be doing when you get home while your driving, or about that argument you just had with your co worker, or whatever it is. It is much better to pay attention to the cars around you and where you are going (i never trust other drivers haha). I also stopped listening to music while I drive because it makes me fidgety and space out because I'm trying to analyze it haha. So instead I listen to the tires against the pavement, or the wind, or the engine, try to guess how fast I'm going or something without looking at the speedometer etc.

The only time I tap is if I'm for instance in a waiting room for the doctor or something where I have a good solid 10-15 minutes. And I'll sit somewhere where I can be fairly secluded and work through rudiments with my feet/hands, and try to not actually make any slapping noise. (similar to practicing rudiments as quietly as possible, which I do often...as well as full accents) So unless I have something set in stone to try and engrave deeper into my memory, and I truly have a moment to zone out on it, I try not to do it anymore.

The other thing, is just close your eyes, and picture yourself playing it. I can't remember if I read/heard/watched it, but I heard about a study where they took some olympic runners and hooked them up to a machine that measured muscle moments. They asked the runners to relax, and close there eyes, and picture themselves running and winning the race. What they discovered was that, the muscles that were being used in their vision would actually fire off signals, which helps engrave muscle memory. I remember also reading an article from ultimate guitar from a guitar teacher saying he used to just run through riffs in his head as practice sometimes before bed. I do this all the time with ANYTHING i'm working on. Also have read some book on Vince Gironda (look him up if you don't know him, he's known as the iron guru,before "guru" became overused. he trained people like Arnold Schwarzenegger. intelligent dude) But he was talking about making gains in bodybuilding, and how if you have no vision of it, you will never achieve it. Lots of different articles point to this same thing. I remember seeing some movie called "the secret" on netflix once that kind of spoke about this stuff. Just something to think about and play with.

I think vision is INSANELY important. So i often will just lay back close my eyes and picture myself sitting behind the drumset and playing a particular groove. try to grasp the motions you go through, as well as the feeling you get playing it, what grip technique is required etc etc.
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  #16  
Old 09-16-2013, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Good morning everyone.
Just put up the post. Thanks so much for your input!
http://wp.me/p3OSqd-6Q
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I've mainly practiced heel toe technique in public. Standing and sitting down. Especially to from and on the tube. It can be practiced relatively soft. I usually count in my head and play 8th notes heel up then switch to 16th notes and use heel toe. Helped me a lot.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leanneislearningtodrum View Post
Hello all!
I tend to move a lot, and get restless waiting in line, on the bus, stuff like that. I do what I call 'useful fidgeting', which is pretty much fidgeting with purpose. I tap dance, but there's not too much I can do with that in public and remain low key (ta daaaaaa!)

Since I've started to drum I've been able to subtly practice some coordination stuff. My favourite useful fidget is to practice foot ostentatos while i am sitting or standing, which I can do with nobody noticing.

I'm curious to hear if others fit in sneaky practice to pass the time while they're out and about. I'm working on a post for my blog about this, and would love some other ideas to share (before I quote anyone from here I'll be sure to PM to get permission first).

So, does anyone do the same? What do you do?
:) Leanne
Yeah, I can't help it. Most of it is in my head, but if I am at a store with a shopping cart, then that's when I do it. I mean, the handle becomes a drum. My walking is a groove, so I might play along on the handle, improvising different things.

Like The Old Hyde, I will play along to the gas pump. Except, I haven't used it yet to test my meter.

Also, I am like DustinB: I do a lot of "mental practice", and it helps quite a bit. I don't have 24/7 access to my drums. I only get to see my drums when the band practices or when we have a gig, and we only practice 1-3 times per month, and we gig like once every 2-3 months. When we practice, we only go for about 2 hours, maybe 3 (which I do hate). The only thing I can play on at home is my practice pad, which I keep on a snare stand. I have an office chair which can get almost as high as my stool is (this office chair doesn't go very high), and so I can kind of pretend I'm at my drumset. However, that has resulted in me preferring to just do mental practice and air drumming. By air drumming, I mean with imaginary sticks. It helps keep some of my drumming muscles developed instead of allowing them to get weaker.

Envisioning is critical though. This hit me big time when I was watching one of my favorite drummers playing (either Dave Weckl or Mike Mangini), and I actually tried very hard to imagine that it was me playing. I think. Either that or maybe I envisioned what it would be like if I were playing that same stuff I was seeing and hearing as though I practiced it and got good at it. Either way, I envisioned what it might be like to be able to play that exact same stuff, to have my body doing that with the same ease and it helped me a little bit by giving me a little bit of an insight into what it might take to pull it off.

So yeah, I do a combination of air drumming, drumming on my body, or on a shopping cart, as well as mental practice where I'm doing it all in my head.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leanneislearningtodrum View Post
Larry - I've never heard of 3 against 4 before, so I looked it up (i especailly liked this YouTube video : http://youtu.be/wQWQUc8CCa0 ) and it has completely blown my mind! Now there's a challenge to combat even the most boring situations.

It's a bit beyond me right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go try to get my head around it. I like a challenge!
Yeah! I'm working on a 3-4 foot ostinato while playing a paradididdlediddle with the hands. Loads of fun!
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leanneislearningtodrum View Post
Hello all!
I tend to move a lot, and get restless waiting in line, on the bus, stuff like that. I do what I call 'useful fidgeting', which is pretty much fidgeting with purpose. I tap dance, but there's not too much I can do with that in public and remain low key (ta daaaaaa!)

Since I've started to drum I've been able to subtly practice some coordination stuff. My favourite useful fidget is to practice foot ostentatos while i am sitting or standing, which I can do with nobody noticing.

I'm curious to hear if others fit in sneaky practice to pass the time while they're out and about. I'm working on a post for my blog about this, and would love some other ideas to share (before I quote anyone from here I'll be sure to PM to get permission first).

So, does anyone do the same? What do you do?
:) Leanne
I talk about this the first day in all of my group classes!

What you are talking about is really a revolution is learning theory, that is accompanying a revolution in neuroscience. The new big idea is that body itself does quite a bit of thinking. Movement, in and of itself, seems to help thinking. For example, students given a math test on a clipboard and told to walk around the room while answering the questions score a full grade point higher. People asked to remember things remember BETTER when they are doodling unrelated things than when they are sitting still and being quiet.

There are many such examples. Movement is good for thinking. The trouble, as you brought up, and as another poster said, arises when your actions interfere with another student. Also, there is a social aspect - if you are fidgeting it conveys to the speaker that you don't care what they have to say, that you'd just rather be somewhere else. This more than anything is where the sit-still-and-be-quiet teaching philosophy comes from.

Unfortunately, learning suffers from it. I've developed my own suite of tricks to fidget secretly. I like to tap with my toes, tongue, fingers. As you said, it is a great way to work on stuff. Once in American History class, I was silently working on a guanguanco pattern that for some reason was giving me fits. I realized I was playing the pattern right and was so happy I *nearly* shouted "I GOT IT!!" out loud. Good thing I didn't. (I still got an A in the class, btw)


Interestingly, there is a new type of learning tool called "fidgets". http://www.therapyshoppe.com/categor...ion-toys-tools

These come from Special Ed, for kids with special needs. Many of them are designed to provide extra sensory stimulation, and that is another component to learning that applies here. People seem to need differing amounts of sensory stimulation... some need more while others need less in order to place them in the ideal zone for best learning.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leanneislearningtodrum View Post
Hello all!
I tend to move a lot, and get restless waiting in line, on the bus, stuff like that. I do what I call 'useful fidgeting', which is pretty much fidgeting with purpose. I tap dance, but there's not too much I can do with that in public and remain low key (ta daaaaaa!)

Since I've started to drum I've been able to subtly practice some coordination stuff. My favourite useful fidget is to practice foot ostentatos while i am sitting or standing, which I can do with nobody noticing.

I'm curious to hear if others fit in sneaky practice to pass the time while they're out and about. I'm working on a post for my blog about this, and would love some other ideas to share (before I quote anyone from here I'll be sure to PM to get permission first).

So, does anyone do the same? What do you do?
:) Leanne
I do this all the time. Driving, standing, walking, sitting. It kind of freaks people out subtly so I usually do minor twitching that no one can notice. Of course, there's zero feel, but it can develop coordination I think so it is valuable as far as that goes. I focus on polyrhtyms and odd times mostly when I do this. Since you have no feel and zero sound, you can really focus on the technical aspect of coordination, without the "distractions" of sticks and pedals and noise.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

I've always been a finger & toe tapper.. going back to high school where I would drive my teachers around the bend sometimes! BUt.. fidgeting can be good for you.. it relieves stress and studies have shown that a good fidgeter can burn roughly 300 calories a day - which might partially explain my lean physique - I haven't gained weight (other than muscle mass) over the past 30 years!

In any case the fidget I use is 'heels down' double kick exercises.. often in conjunction with my hands on knees. It's great because you can do it anywhere, like sitting at a desk.. I often play patterns, rudiments, and combinations of hands and feet. Great practice for double kick and hihat foot independence as well. Use your feet as hands (singles, doubles, paraddidles, double paradiddles, triplet patterns etc. etc.). Ray Luzier has some great examples of hand foot combinations ( I think I saw some videos on this site a long time ago). One cool one I remember was;

R-L-R-L-RF-LF-R-RF-LF ..

String that together in various ways.. it will keep you fidgeting for years! :)
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