If I play, for example, holding the stick — where literally I do not let go of the stick — you’ll experience quite a lot of shock coming up through the arm.
And you feel really quite — believe it or not — detached from the instrument and from the stick, even though I’m actually holding the stick quite tightly. By holding it tightly, I feel strangely more detached. If I just simply let go and allow my hand, my arm, to be more of a support system, suddenly I have more dynamic with less effort. Much more. And I just feel, at last, one with the stick and one with the drum. And I’m doing far, far less.
The performer is in the worst possible position for the actual sound, because they’re hearing the contact of the stick on the drum, or the mallet on the bit of wood, or the bow on the string, etc., or the breath that’s creating the sound from wind and brass. They’re experiencing that rawness there. But yet they’re experiencing something so unbelievably pure, which is before the sound is actually happening. Please take note of the life of the sound after the actual initial strike, or breath, is being pulled. Just experience the whole journey of that sound.
– Dame Evelyn Glennie, How To Truly Listen, TED