I'm playing a pretty simple drum part over some light rock and pop music in an small theater, for a piece in which the vocalists play an extremely prominent role and need to be heard very clearly; I'm trying to figure out ways I can play the drums with minimum sacrifices in terms of sound source choices.
Although I'm aware that low volume sticks exist (as do mutes and screens and tonnes of other volume-checking systems), I'm reluctant to make the investment. I presently have access to two kinds of brushes: Vic Firth Live Wires (which have small metal balls at the ends) and Standard WB Vic Firths. My plan is to partially reveal the brushes, i.e. pull back the outer shield to expose about 2-3 inches of the metal brushes, rather than splaying the wires out fully, and then play with them in a fashion similar to what I would do with normal sticks, although I end up holding them unusually close to the tip, which is conducive with my desire to play soft and chill.
I've tried doing this and it's rather effective: I need to make a few small adjustments to my playing style, but I think I generally have good technique which I've developed over quite a few years, so I'm not scared about the possibility of damaging my technique. It sometimes sounds bad when the wires strike the head at an angle, but it's otherwise a great strategy for lowering the volume.
My question is will this damage the brushes or my drumheads? I'm interested in using them (the brushes and the coated heads) for actual jazz later. My playing style does not involve heavy hitting and the songs themselves are not aggressive. I'm worried that if I play like this for a fair amount of time, the brushes somehow getting 'stretched' such that they're kind of floppy, which would make them a mess when I pull back the sheath completely to do actual brush techniques. Also, I wonder if this will somehow chip away the coating on my head; I haven't done it long enough to see if there're any long-term effects and I'd like a green signal before I go ahead and adopt the technique.