Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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I Write, I Drum

Today’s Daily Post prompt, Percussive, is right in my wheel house.


Ljgloyd 2017


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Back to Basics Across the Disciplines

Once or twice a month I gather with others at a local drum circle. This particular circle has a lot of djembe and conga players and most of them are experienced and talented percussionists. I am learning a lot from them.

However, I am an amateur darbuka player, and my initial study of drumming was with middle-eastern rhythms– which are enormously different from the Afro-Latin beats of the drum circle players. Furthermore, once a week I practice with a band (guitarists and vocalists) who play contemporary pop/folk. So you can see that I am exposed to an ecclectic variety of musical sounds. Unfortunately, this is resulting in me developing, in my opinion, a rather eccentric drumming style where I am not particulary good at any one of them.

To mitigate this, I have assigned to myself the task of going back to the fundamentals of middle-eastern drum patterns and practicing them until I am competent in them.

I think this return to the fundamentals is important in all creative disciplines. If you crochet, perfect that single chain stitch. If you cook, be a master at hard boiling eggs or making that bechemel sauce. If you write, dust off your dog-earred copy of Strunk and White and review the elements of style.

Before Picasso started painting like this,

he learned to paint like this:









ljg (c) 2017

In case you are interested, I am working on perfecting a maqsoum pattern:



Apprentice Learning

Recently, I shared with a co-worker that one of my interests is drumming.   The first thing she said was:  “That’s great.  You should take professional lessons.”

I was taken aback for a couple of reasons.  First, she just presumed I needed lessons, and second, that only a “professional” instructor in a formal setting was the only legitimate way to go.

I do concede that I need to learn more since I don’t come from a musical background.   But I prefer to learn by watching, listening, and doing.  I learn in an “apprentice-style” relationship with other drummers.   I hang out at drum circles and jam with better, more experienced drummers.   They know things and generously share that knowledge with me.  Sometimes I just shut up and listen to their rhythms and try to imitate them.  The ego of the “professional” teacher is not present in the drum circle; they are just a bunch of musicians having a good time,  and I am along for the ride.

We have learned this way for thousands of years.  I see no reason to change that.

A WordPress Daily Post prompt: Apprentice


Intuitive Community: Drum Circles

If you look at my About page, you will notice that I hang out at drum circles.   If you are unfamiliar with drum circles, they are informal gatherings typically in some outdoor space where people drum for fun.   Everyone of all ages is welcome.  No one needs to know how to play a drum.   The drumming is all improvisational and spontaneous.   There is usually a host, but she or he is there simply to make sure everyone is having fun. That person does not teach the drum.   You simply sit down and start to play.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you are doing or how to drum.    You are just there to make noise with a group.  There is no other purpose for the group.  The odd thing is, despite the various levels of drumming experience, most of the participants usually fall into a rhythm with each other.  Real music begins to happen, and that music is created as a group.   There is a mysterious unity that coalesces.   There is not much conversation and you might not ever learn the name of the other participants even though you see them every week.   There is a harmonious community spirit that manifests on a non-verbal, non-rational level.  An intuitive communication engages among the participants.

It’s the strangest darn thing you’ve ever experienced.

Here are some clips of my recent drum circle experiences: