I have not posted about drumming in the last few months. This is because I have not been to my favorite drum circle in the last few months. When friends ask “How’s the drum circle? Still going?”, I’ve been telling them that I’ve been too busy, or had a commitment elsewhere, or the hot weather was not to my liking, and so on.
The truth is I stopped going mainly because I felt intimidated.
Some of the people who regularly attend the circle are professional musicians. Several of them specialize in Latin jazz or traditional African drum rhythms. I find these rhythms difficult to ease into. I just can’t nail those syncopated beats. I felt like I was messing up their drumming because I could not get this. I had convinced myself that I was not a good drummer.
During my hiatus from the drum circle, I continued to drum with some other musician friends who play and sing contemporary folk/pop/rock arrangements. I get enough affirmation from them to know that I’m not completely hopeless. Those arrangements are my style, it seems.
I returned to the drum circle today because I missed the people there. But I held back, finding the base beats and softly playing around them so as not to throw off the other drummers. Mostly I sat there and just enjoyed their playing.
The take away from this lesson is that I need to learn the nature of my own creative expression—what I enjoy, where my strengths reside— and be comfortable enough to not be intimidated by other Creatives who might be better in some respect. My creative genre is primarily writing. I need to know my style. I need to write in that style with no regard of what critics, both my inner and outer, think or say.
If someone doesn’t like my style of writing, so be it. I am going to keep on writing anyway. If my critics make a racket because they don’t like my writing, I’ll quietly persist nevertheless, hearing my voice in the din.