Yesterday I told you we’d talk about what to do when castanets frustration hits. Because it will.
Below are some ideas:
1. Don’t worry that you’re not producing the right (or any) sound.
This is part of the castanets learning process.
The movements are AWKWARD. Please give your sweet fingers some time to assimilate new movements they’re not used to making.
Sometimes remembering you’re not alone helps a lot. (You're not alone!)
2. Keep trying.
When I would tell Mercedes I can’t do it, she would always say the same thing,
Amazingly, this did not drive me crazy.
I guess because she is Mercedes, and she always said it with a smile, (a she knows something I don’t know, reassuring, and semi-kanieving all at the same time kind of smile) so I would just keep trying and allow it to be fun.
Also, hearing her say that gave me permission to get it wrong.
3. Take breaks and STRETCH.
You’ll be using some muscles you likely don’t often use, so definitely stretch your arm and hand muscles.
One of my favorites that you can do even during a break without needing to remove your castanets is this:
STRETCH: Put your arm out in front of you, letting your hand fall, and press on the back of the hand with the opposite one. Then gently pull your fingers toward your body with the opposite hand. You should feel the stretch in the palm of your hand and the forearm. Next, point your fingers toward the ceiling. Using the oppostie hand gently press them and the palm of your hand toward your body. You should feel the stretch in your lower forearm.
4. Learn the sounds, and say them
If you’re doing an exercise, say the sounds you make while you play them on your castanets.
This will help to remind your fingers of what they need to do.
If you’re doing steps while playing, and it’s feeling overwhelming, continue to move your feet and arms but take a break from playing and say the sounds instead. This will help to get it into your body. When you’re ready, start playing again.
Stay tuned next time when I share five important technique tips along with some of my own castanets confessions.
In the meantime, watch this short BBC documentary about a castanets craftsman in Spain. I think you'll find it interesting.
What do you do to avoid castanet frustration? What do you do when it comes up? What is your favorite thing about playing castanets? Let me know below in the comments.