31 August 2009

ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

william adolphe-bouguereau: mignon

11 August 2009

drumming, performing and concerts...

In my quest for good music and dancing through the years, I used to attend a lot of concerts. Always on the outlook for Peak and Shared Experiences, concerts were a source of endless entertainment for me.

But recently I noticed that something inside of me has changed. I no longer go to concerts. I'm not even tempted. What happened?

Well, I became a hand drummer, that's what happened.

From my very first drum circle, I was hooked. It was a process, but it didn't really take long: I now have three African-style drums, and I guess I can say in all honesty and almost without blushing: I am a drummer. I even practice. Sometimes.

But I realized the other day that there has been an interesting unintended consequence of my drumming: I now rarely, if ever, go to concerts. The flavor has gone out of it for me. Not in a bad way; I honestly don't miss them, and I still listen to enormous amounts of music of all genres. Finding and listening to good music is still one of my primary hobbies.

But what I have noticed is that hand drummers prefer to perform, rather than to stand around and listen. We'd rather play, even if no one else is around to hear us. We gather together, if only for each other, in large and small groups, and drum. Endlessly.

Drummers don't have to pay to go to concerts. We make the concerts happen. We create our own music. And we are not alone: our friends are hoopers and dancers and fire-spinners, and we all perform together, and for each other.

A lot of my friends are burners -we go to Burning Events, either local, regional or national (like Burning Man) - and the same energy is true at those events: we're all performers, artists, participants. There are no celebrities or rock stars. If there is a stage, we all take turns performing for each other. Audience and performers become one and the same. The line is blurred, and eventually erased.

And as far as drum circles are concerned: we never have to pay to get in. Drum circles are, for the most part, free. If you have to pay to play, something's wrong.

Once you cross that line, from being a member of an Audience to being one of the Performers, the Peak Experience is almost guaranteed. You might still go to a concert now and then (especially if it's your son's band :-), but you have been forever changed: now you ARE the band.

Try it sometime, you might like it. Who knows? Maybe this time next year, you will own three African drums...