- Just start with one shaker before using two or starting to incorporate other shakers sounds
- Start with the two-handed technique: Pick up the egg and hold between two cupped hands. – your hands should interlock at 90 degree to each other. Use the middle of the palm of each hand (not the fingers) to trap the egg. Warm up first by creating the two hand shapes that will be necessary – open and closed. The open hand shape – keep pressure on the egg with both palms but now open the fingers until the hand has changed from a cup shape to completely flat. That hand shape is for your open note. Now the closed note – with the egg still trapped between your palms close your fingers back to a cupped shape. That’s it! Initially you will just try open notes so fingers straight again and start by holding your hands at chest height and against your chest. Throw your both hands forward and the shaker will create a sound. The first beat is when the sound strikes and your arms are extended. Try and play from your elbow – long forward and straight motion. Pull the hands back and repeat – keep the sound even by making your arm stoke (movement) the same length and duration – try relaxing a little as you play – don’t be too rigid. Try varying open and closed notes e.g. 3 closed, 1 open. The open note is then becoming the accent note.
- Single-handed technique. Pick up the egg and hold in your playing hand, Trap the egg between the ends of your middle finger and thumb along the shortest side of the egg. The egg should now be in the correct orientation for playing. This is also your open note position. Slide the egg into forward a little at the same time as wrapping your other fingers around the egg. This is your closed tone position. The trick now to revert back to the open note and to use your thumb to slide the egg back up onto the top part of your middle finger at the same time as opening your other fingers. Before playing both open and closed notes try practicing the slide transition just of the open to closed and closed to open hand shape. Your now ready to play.
- The shaking sound effect I use I call the ‘Shimmy’ and it’s all in the wrist action, whilst holding the egg in the open note hand shape I rotate my wrist from side to side through about a quarter-turn. I use this just for accents, or just prior to the first beat – see video clip.
And other bits…
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