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Zero Mercury Drummer 03-15-2013 05:57 PM

Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Something a little different.
Last night before practice my bandmates and I had a great discussion about life and relationships. We were discussing the concept of love, and how that means letting go of your own self-identity and letting your ego disappear. Not easy.
While I was playing, I tried to let go of my ego entirely. I was definitely in the moment- not worrying about playing "correctly." Not getting mad at myself or anybody else. Just existing in that moment, and really enjoying the crap out of it. Pretty liberating.

So- have you had similar thoughts? Why do you do this? Fame? money? girls? (most of us don't get very much of these things from drumming)...is there a spiritual component to what we do, or does there need to be?

Drumolator 03-15-2013 06:03 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
I drum because it is part of who I am. I am way past the halfway point of my drumming years, so I am bit more driven to do it than I have been in the past. I play twice a week at church, so that is spiritual for sure. Peace and goodwill.

Zero Mercury Drummer 03-15-2013 06:10 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Drumolator (Post 1118807)
I drum because it is part of who I am. I am way past the halfway point of my drumming years, so I am bit more driven to do it than I have been in the past. I play twice a week at church, so that is spiritual for sure. Peace and goodwill.

That's a good point. You can always find drums in a church. They have been part of ritual ceremonies since someone first strapped an animal skin to a hollowed out log. Wonder what it is about the drum?
Here is a book I would recommend to anybody seeking info on this topic. It's a very obscure but incredible book called "The Drummer's Path."

uniongoon 03-15-2013 09:39 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
As in everything we do in life, including drumming, your mental frame of mind can either hold you back or it can inspire greatness. Having the ability to free your mind of things other than the task at hand is something we can all benefit from. Of course your playing would be better if the thought of your mortgage payment, the muscle you pulled that morning, or the discussion you had with your girlfriend about which priorty comes first, her or your career in drums. It is easy to say you will free your mind of distraction. Actually doing it is something I think would need to be practiced as much as learning to play.

dmacc 03-15-2013 10:34 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zero Mercury Drummer (Post 1118802)
....Why do you do this?...

Very interesting / deep thought provoking question that I'd bet could get answered in different ways depending on where you are it in life. For someone just starting out it could be for fun or the challenge, etc.... For someone like myself who's been doing it for 37 years it must be way more than that, although those two elements are part of it, but there must be more.

It's clearly not for fame, money or girls. I don't have fame, I get money from other sources (which I also enjoy doing) and I didn't meet my wife of 19 years while I was playing drums.

At this point the love and joy of it in tandem with the creativity that comes with it. I thrive on the challenge of continually working to hone my craft and play with the best players I can get to. I love to practice in my practice space shed and learn so the notion of a life long student fits my description as well.

Much more than this, music is extremely important to me. This includes listening to it as well as playing it. I spend many more hours per week listening to my CD's than I do watching tv or interacting with any other forms of media. When I listen, it's not as background either - I'm an active listener and find myself totally engaged into what's taking place. This probably hits me "spiritually" than playing. Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones and Billy Higgins nourishes my soul and I must have it. It's a terrible day when / if I don't.

davelan 03-15-2013 10:35 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
I drum as a means of connecting with the inner primal rhythms that resonate across the ages and beat within all our hearts and souls, uniting us as one beautiful, immortal entity.

Also, I like hitting things that don't hit back, it gets me out of the house now and again and I usually go for a beer with my mates after rehearsal.

Otto 03-15-2013 11:32 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
The beauty is astounding....once you are a part of it you are redefined...and it is as breathing in necessity and desire.

toddmc 03-16-2013 05:28 AM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by davelan (Post 1118879)
I drum as a means of connecting with the inner primal rhythms that resonate across the ages and beat within all our hearts and souls, uniting us as one beautiful, immortal entity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Otto (Post 1118898)
The beauty is astounding....once you are a part of it you are redefined...and it is as breathing in necessity and desire.

Well these get my vote for most profound posts ever : )
I think all drummers strive for those moments when everything else disappears and it's just you and the song. I believe it's something that either happens in the moment or it doesn't- it can't be forced.

mxo721 03-16-2013 06:10 AM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
I've tried to quit playing drums a few times these last 3 years...I can't do it. I think about every song I hear on the radio..."hmmmm, think I'll try to learn this one when i gets home today" yeah, it get in your blood....but at least it's a healthy habit.

EarthRocker 03-16-2013 06:30 AM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
As much love as I have for the instrument, it's never been about just me and the instrument. I play drums with the hope of supporting a band. I have no interest in just being a drummer - I want to be a part of a working band, a band where each member cares about their individual instrument and the desire to perfect their technique as much as I do.

It isn't my goal to be someone like Thomas Lang, Jojo Mayer, or dare I say it? Buddy Rich. Drummers who play / played in bands, but were renowned as drummers. My goal is to be like Charlie Watts, Ringo Starr, John Bonham, or Keith Moon. Drummers who are parts of a band full of super original and talented musicians. I want my drumming to be a part of a unit that is recognized as a whole, so that, if against all odds, I do join a band that gets famous, it will be the band's legacy that I can call my own, rather than just some guy who played drums and hosted clinics (not that I think my techniques are anything anyone would want to learn), but just for the sake of making my point.

larryace 03-16-2013 07:12 AM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
There are so many needs that are filled playing drums. I think I could expound for quite a bit. I literally am fulfilled on so many levels, nothing, and I mean nothing comes close. Think of it. I think the highest need fulfilled is that I get to connect, just a little bit, with something larger than myself. Getting in the zone is one way to put it. Then there's the whole thing about being part of an organic team that literally depends on each other to work. Then there's the genuine enjoyment of the onlookers. Their undulating bodies and smiles are some of the best times there is. Music heals, at least temporarily, it's a much higher calling than a lot of people realize. It's something that is never ending. You can always feel things deeper. Music provides a safe place to totally surrender your ego and transcend yourself, and in the process, everyone in the room. There's really not much else that compares. When the whole room is of the same mind, on the same wavelength, that's the high I get. The more the music can flow right through you, the better it feels. I am getting better at surrendering. It's addicting. I love being in the zone for myself and my bandmates, but anyone witnessing it, knows something special is happening too. I can't describe the feeling I have after playing. It lifts me up for almost 2 days. It's far and away the greatest joy of my life. Loved ones excepted. The guys I play with make it easy though, I couldn't get there without them.

Angus Macinnes 03-16-2013 07:56 AM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
the inner primal rhythms are whty you find drums in church. me I play for the pure joy of it. I am at a point that it is all for the joy and I dont give a hoot about any critics. I do the best I can and keep the beat going.

davelan 03-16-2013 04:37 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Zoiks! Need to recalibrate my ironicometer...

Midnite Zephyr 03-16-2013 05:05 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
From a spiritual standpoint, I'd say drumming lifts my spirit and lets it soar in a world that would otherwise crush it and suck the life out of me.

Sorry for being morose, but this world really kicks my a$$ day in and day out.

I like the endorphin rush too. I always feel better after a good session. But for me, drumming is not half as enjoyable if I don't like the people I jam with. That has happened a couple times. I don't get a chance to sit alone with my drums and my thoughts. So for me it's all about the music and possibly finding a spiritual connection with the song through the rhythm. That's when a person plays convincingly and people can feel the vibe in the audience. It's much like a singer who can "own" it and sing a song like they wrote it.

Mad About Drums 03-16-2013 05:15 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 1119017)
Music heals, at least temporarily, it's a much higher calling than a lot of people realize. It's something that is never ending. You can always feel things deeper. Music provides a safe place to totally surrender your ego and transcend yourself, and in the process, everyone in the room. There's really not much else that compares.

This ^^^...

Music is highly spiritual, music in many many forms affects me, as a human being, much more than the drumming thing itself, I was heavily into music before I took up drumming, music is the reason which gave me the desire to take upon my beloved instrument, as I was always attracted by the primal force that drums and rhythms provide in music.

I don't know if my relationship with the instruments is spiritual, that's quite a deep and profound feeling to behold when you play behind the kit, at best it's an emotional feeling in which you transcribe your emotions throughout the instrument as a reaction/complement to what other musicians are playing, the end result, however, can be of spiritual value.

GRUNTERSDAD 03-16-2013 05:26 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
"Last night before practice my _________ and I had a great discussion about life and relationships. We were discussing the concept of love, and how that means letting go of your own self-identity and letting your ego disappear. Not easy.
While I was _______, I tried to let go of my ego entirely. I was definitely in the moment- not worrying about________ "correctly." Not getting mad at myself or anybody else. Just existing in that moment, and really enjoying the crap out of it. Pretty liberating."


I have taken out some key words of your OP and one can plug in almost any activity or life situation. I think as one gets older, this is the situation in life. It's called sharing, prioritizing, and being part of the whole and not just the one.

iwantmemoney 03-17-2013 12:19 AM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zero Mercury Drummer (Post 1118802)
Something a little different.
Last night before practice my bandmates and I had a great discussion about life and relationships. We were discussing the concept of love, and how that means letting go of your own self-identity and letting your ego disappear. Not easy.
While I was playing, I tried to let go of my ego entirely. I was definitely in the moment- not worrying about playing "correctly." Not getting mad at myself or anybody else. Just existing in that moment, and really enjoying the crap out of it. Pretty liberating.

So- have you had similar thoughts? Why do you do this? Fame? money? girls? (most of us don't get very much of these things from drumming)...is there a spiritual component to what we do, or does there need to be?

Thumbs up on this and real good posts. I can't say it any better. So will just touch another aspect...

Think about this 'existing in the moment' and add the pressure of recording or performing(particularly recording)...it's like skiing down a mountain-falling down isn't an option! The buzz from those times, and all the other good music buzzes can be transferred to other aspects of life, in the sense that we should be content even if we're doing something we don't like doing. In the Buddhist sense, it wouldn't matter if you shovel poop. Tho if we actually had to, it would be good to have had the reference of something that we truly loved 100% in our memory data banks!

Zero Mercury Drummer 03-18-2013 05:56 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Some great responses here.

Someone close to me asked me why I HAVE to do this. I don't get paid, it's a ton of time and work involved. Equipment costs money, gas to gigs and practice cost money. It's hard on my body sometimes. I have to make sacrifices. There are many days when I just don't want to go to practice etc. (it's not the playing, it's the driving). But at this point it's an inner commitment that gets my butt out the door when really I just want to have a beer and watch TV.

I told her that I view music as an act of giving. It's sending energy into the Universe that says "hey, take a moment and listen to this." I played an awesome gig Saturday night and met a bunch of friends and jammed with them. Everybody was happy and in a good mood and supporting each other.

This gets at the larger function of music-- bringing people together in a positive way. In a world with so much hatred and animosity, I am really starting to realize the value of this!

larryace 03-18-2013 06:04 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
You said it brother. It's one of the good things left in life.

Dr_Watso 03-18-2013 07:18 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
I came here to have faith in the spiritual world, and play drums.

And I'm all outta faith.

Anon La Ply 03-18-2013 09:06 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
My reasons for playing are like an over-renovated house, that I'm no longer sure why I started playing, kept playing or re-started playing.

TBH drumming bugs me a lot of the time; I'm almost always frustrated with my clumsiness.

Gigs are a joke, being paid a fraction of what a McDonald's child worker gets, lousy loading zones if any, reprobate audiences, dodgy acoustics, equipment screwing up etc.

Bands are a rich source of irritation, like any medium or long term relationship but you also have to deal with muso egos - both overblown and hypersensitive. Not to mention when you have people with habits.

It's loud, screws up your ears and there's a lot of messing around and carrying things.

Ridiculous expense.

It's anti-social, with hours of tapping away ... subject to a mechanical instrument of oppression.

It takes up tons of space at home.

But ... there's the buzz and the zone.

It's fun and its goofiness appeals to my SOH.

It's stimulating mentally, physically and emotionally.

It's something I am capable of doing and become part of my identity.

Crazy musos.

It beats working or blobbing out with electronic entertainment at home and gets me out of the house.

_Leviathan_ 03-18-2013 09:49 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
One of the things that I love about live music is what I call the "infinite positive feedback loop". If you have an audience that digs what you do, they cheer, they get loud, they dance to what you do. This in turn gets the musicians on stage excited and want to give the crowd more of what they want. So the crowd gets more of what they want, and they give the musicians more of what they want! So it goes on and on, and this is how bands like Phish can play eight hour gigs and many bands can play for two plus hours- just by riding off this loop.

I saw a funk concert of a local band here on the weekend, and noticed this loop. There was a closed system of 100 people (including the audience and six musicians on stage) that were all producing a party of positive energy and vibes. Egos dissapear, and it is all about the greater vibe of everyone in the room. Frankly, it makes me want to quit my sludge/stoner rock band and just play in funk bands from now on.

StickIt 03-18-2013 10:10 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

I think as one gets older, this is the situation in life. It's called sharing, prioritizing, and being part of the whole and not just the one.
+1

When I can let go, it feels like the music and the atmosphere somehow tell me what to play, and it always sounds better than what I had planned on...The only negative I have found personally, is that, at that point, I am no longer making eye contact with anyone (eyes closed, or simply looking away)...but the musical connection with the crowd is stronger than ever, and I hope that makes up for it.

larryace 03-18-2013 11:23 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by _Leviathan_ (Post 1119861)
One of the things that I love about live music is what I call the "infinite positive feedback loop". If you have an audience that digs what you do, they cheer, they get loud, they dance to what you do. This in turn gets the musicians on stage excited and want to give the crowd more of what they want. So the crowd gets more of what they want, and they give the musicians more of what they want! So it goes on and on, and this is how bands like Phish can play eight hour gigs and many bands can play for two plus hours- just by riding off this loop.

I saw a funk concert of a local band here on the weekend, and noticed this loop. There was a closed system of 100 people (including the audience and six musicians on stage) that were all producing a party of positive energy and vibes. Egos dissapear, and it is all about the greater vibe of everyone in the room. Frankly, it makes me want to quit my sludge/stoner rock band and just play in funk bands from now on.

This is great. Yes when the groove clamps it's jaws down in a room....To me THAT's the reason I play drums. That oneness with everyone.

SquadLeader 03-19-2013 02:35 PM

Re: Drumming: the spiritual side
 
It's all about good friends and gigs for me. I think my guitarist friend Sean is probably more spiritual than I about things.

Two thirds of my co collaborators in our band are my best friends. The singer isn't quite yet but we get on...a lot.

We've got two rehearsals this week, tonight, tomorrow, followed by a gig on Thursday following which we're making a night of it and staying out in the real ale pub attached to the live music venue.

Can honestly say I've not looked forward to a week like this in a long time.

Drums is all about the friends, the creation of our original music which we take deep joy from, and showing people we don't know (and some that we do) how good our music is, and the gigs.

Hopefully when the music and the gigs have gone, the friendships will still be there.

:-)


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