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Lessons I learned from my African drumming class

December 22nd, 2011 | no comments

I was at my African drumming class today and boy did I have a blast as always.

The best part was I was quite aware of the voices in my head when I first learned that we would be going through the ‘basics’ again because we had a new student in class. At first I thought, oh no, what a waste of a class – I thought we were going to practice our solos and a rhythm we’d been working on for our performance night coming up.  As soon as I heard that voice come up I became aware that I just had a bit of resistance  – and perhaps I wasn’t opening up to what I could discover in that class if I dismissed it as a ‘waste of time’.

I wonder how often we do this when we’re learning a new skill or working on a project.  My class today taught me the importance of getting connected to the basics from time to time, even if it means taking stock mid way and making sure we understand the fundamentals.

Lesson 1: Getting connected to the basics from time to time keeps you on track and reminds you how far you’ve come – but it also shows you that you can keep adding new layers so when you hear something the second and third time, you make new connections which helps you master your craft.

Our African drumming teacher is from Ghana and I love his accent! I could listen to him all day and not tire of it – I swear I must’ve been African in another lifetime. So he says to the new student <<insert Ghanaian accent or Rafiki’s from the Lion King ;)>> , “Listen to your rhythm, – you listen to my one and you might start to enjoy it, but then you forget your own rhythm! You get distracted – that’s why you Must know your own rhythm or else you get confused.”

Wow – whoever thought you could get such wisdom attending a casual Monday night African drumming lesson!

Lessons to take away: When we don’t listen to our own inner voices, we start to forget our own music – and then we start to get distracted by looking at the rhythms and music outside ourselves. How often have you found yourself comparing yourself to others and thinking/believing that their lives are better than yours somehow..and that really distracts you, doesnt it?

You forget to appreciate your own gifts, your own life and the shiny things outside you- sway you – they might take you on another path – and before you know it – you’re out of tune with your own rhythm..  because you momentarily forgot to listen. Then when you attempt to get back to your rhythm you need to stop and listen again to the beat of your own drum.. to find your rhythm again. But once you do – all is well again : ) – and you know you’ve got it..and you realise that you need to stick to the rhythm of your own drum to make rhythms that ultimately rock!.

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