Saturday, July 12, 2008


Do you find yourself feeling vulnerable when you play? I have found that learning to play drums puts me in an extremely vulnerable place. I think it is because opening yourself up to be willing to try something new, with it's attendant mistakes and screw ups, you have to be willing to fail. And when your heart is really in it, failing requires that you drop all your normal defenses.

Last week, I drove to Fall River for a class with Sidy and on the way home, I was on the verge of tears, for no reason at all.

Actually, the reason had much more to do with what was going on that week in the rest of my life. I had been visiting a sick friend. My kid was out of town. My brother got laid off. My plans to visit my parents fell through. All kinds of things were bubbling away under the surface and when you sit down to play, you open yourself up to all that shit and up it comes. So the whole week's worth of emotions just came pouring out on the car ride home.

The inescapable fact is this: Playing djembe takes courage. It isn't for wimps. Because if you actually care about what you are doing, it is going to be hard. And to be open to failure requires that we break down all our normal walls.

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