Friday, May 11, 2007
A Drummers Dilemna
Some of you may not know that "in another life" I worked as a radio personality and semi-professional drummer. The short-lived smooth jazz station in Tallahassee was where I called home for the last semester of school back in '97 and for several months after graduation. Money was the main reason I left that job for greener pastures. But throughout my whole adult life, I've found ways to pursue my passion for drumming. Opportunities have dwindled since leaving the church music scene back in Tally, but the passion is still there.
Any time I am in a concert setting, at a music store or around other musicians, I get the urge to pick up a pair of sticks and bang on something. That was the case this past Thursday.
Indy's smooth jazz station, WYJZ, was hosting a listener appreciation party at a small music venue, featuring saxophonist Walter Beasley. He brought his whole band and for 90 minutes they rocked the Music Mill. Paying close attention to the drummer, I thought (as I often do), "I could be doing that!"
And it's true. While not the most technically-precise or fine-tuned musician, I do pretty well to hold my own with most contemporary forms of music. A self-taught drummer, I really prefer to play smooth jazz, R&B and gospel for their rhythm-centric groove and syncopation.
And its not just the magic of music or the thrill of performance that calls out to me in the shadows of the club, church or music hall. It is the whole atmosphere and the connectedness that joins musician and audience member. It is the power of creation at work, drawing people in on an emotional and physical level.
Even when I handled events for the radio station in days gone by, I sensed that I was part of the larger music scene. I was able to go out and enjoy good music while feeling a part of some larger community not bound by race, socio-economic status or religion. I miss that.
Thursday's concert was just another reminder of what I am missing. And while I've tried to fill that void with the occasional church appearance as guest drummer on a worship team, I yearn for more than just a four-song set on a Sunday morning.
I think it is important to seek creative outlets and to explore the things you are most passionate about. Sometimes life can get in the way of that pursuit, but it helps to be reminded that you make time for the things of most import to you. If you are passionate about something, if you have a creative spark inside you, why aren't you passionate in your pursuit of it? I find myself asking that question more and more.