• The Principle Of The Slingshot And How It Can Help You Grow

    in Goal Setting,Piano,Self-Improvement

    principle of the slingshot

    The slingshot is a do-it-yourself weapon made of a Y-shaped handle and elastic strip.

    I grew up knowing the slingshot as the catapult and I’m pretty sure that there are people out there who the slingshot is known to them as catapult.

    Even though the slingshot and catapult are different, yet the fact that they are used to launch objects (aka – “projectiles”) into space by the exertion of force makes them similar.

    Heck, British speakers of the English language know the slingshot as the hand catapult.

    There are still people out there who the slingshot cannot make it to their list of weapons. This is because they dismiss the slingshot as being a toy that kids play with or something that young vandals use in firing stones, nails, and steel balls.

    Irrespective of your perception of the slingshot, I am going to show you in this post, how you can grow by understanding and applying how it works (its physics) to your musicianship.

    Slingshot 101 – Basics and Physics of the Slingshot

    The slingshot is a Y-shaped handheld weapon that can attack an enemy from a distance the same way a crossbow does.

    Its stem is meant for the grip of the hand while elastic strips are fastened to the two upper arms. In the elastic strip is a leather pad where the projectile is attached.

    To use the slingshot is relatively easy. Here’s a breakdown of how it works…

      1. Attach the stone, nail, etc., to the leather pad in the elastic strip.
      2. Draw the leather pad backwards to any desired extent.
      3. Release the leather pad in the direction of your target.

    Out of all the three steps, I’m more interested in the second step – drawing of the leather pad backward.

    This is because it arouses questions like…

    “What is the significance of the drawing of the projectile in the leather pad backward?”

    No one has ever succeeded in propelling a stone using the slingshot who skipped the aspect of drawing the leather pad backward.

    The forward movement of the projectile is preceded by a backward movement. Heck, the more backward the stone is drawn, the more forward it will go.

    Therefore, we can say that the backward pull of the slingshot is directly proportional to its projection. This is apparently paradoxical. Why will going forward depend on going backward?

    At this point, someone is probably asking, “How is this related to music?”

    Alright, let’s get into the main business of this post – the application of the slingshot principle.

    Application of the Slingshot Principle to Musicians’ Growth

    Everyone is desirous of growth in life and we musicians are no exception.

    However, we get it all wrong when we want to improve our playing instantaneously by incorporating new concepts and advanced ideas, while in reality, that’s not the way things work most of the time.

    Whether you want to become a better musician, or you want to experience another dimension of your playing, you will certainly need to apply the principle of the slingshot which implies that you’ll have to go back, before you go forth.

    The Further Backward You Are Drawn Determines How Far You Will Go

    Never forget that the degree at which you’re drawn backward is directly proportional to the power that will propel you forward.

    “Can I show you what being drawn back will do for you?”

    Knowledge is pretty vast like traveling through an open space. There are always certain things that escaped your notice, or you’ve probably forgotten over the years that you learned them when you were getting started with music.

    I’m talking about basic concepts, essential rudiments and some key music theory you either skipped or have forgotten. If you are not drawn back to pick up these things, advancement and improvement moves from being difficult to impossible.

    It’s easy for people to assume that my early days in music were rosy. Contrary to what they think, I did not grow up in one of those big cities with big music institutes. I grew up in Aba, one of the commercial nerves of Nigeria and started music without proper introduction to the basics.

    If your story is similar to mine, then I’m sorry you’ll have to go backward. I have gone backward several times and here I am today.

    Heck, I can even tell you that one step backward can take you twenty steps forward. How many arm length intervals can a projectile go when drawn back by an arm’s length? Isn’t twenty arms length a moderate estimate?

    Don’t be in such a haste to go forward that you forget going backward. Remember that when going one step backward finally takes you twenty steps forward, then the going backward has paid off!.

    The slingshot principle is something that you can apply to your musicianship to take yourself to the next level.

    I really cannot say how much this principle has helped me because each time I want to grow, I simply go down to the basics, the rudiments, and I look at things that I’m already acquainted with again and they come out in a bolder relief.

    Final Words

    Dear musician,

    What is your target this year? How far do you want to go?

    You don’t pull back a slingshot that you want to fly for 100 meters slightly. Rather, you drag it backward with a commensurate displacement so that when you release it, it will fly and get to its target.

    The slingshot principle is something you can apply in various areas of life, not just music. Here’s the slingshot principle:

    The energy that will launch you forward is activated when you’re drawn back.

    If the slingshot principle can help the projectile go far, then I’m doubly sure that it can also help you go far.

    See you next time!

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Ogechukwu

    Remember when the Israelites who were dying from snakebites in the desert looked up at the golden serpent and lived? That is how you are in music. I think every dying musician should look up at Pokey and live. Lol! I am exaggerating a bit but honestly, you understand the problems of musicians very well and this post is as helpful as a golden serpent in the wilderness.


    2 J

    Ballet dancers begin every session by working at the bar and going through the fundamental positions. Athletes begin every practice by going through drills. Same thing in music.


    3 David Brakes

    Than you sir.


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