To be “deeply creative” go into the learning mode In the hand drum world there is a lot of talk and pride about expressing your own inner rhythm. Being creative. Doing your own thing. Soloing. Freestyle. And I am all for it. I acknowledge my inner rhythm and your inner rhythm. it is a beautiful thing. But in and of itself, by itself..with out training it the “inner rhythm” is highly overrated. Furthermore it’s not a replacement for the hundreds of thousand wonderful and beautiful variables, (maybe more?) and rhythms available to you. If you open up and see the light. Learning rhythms from others expands your creative potential immensely. Personaly, I got bored with my inner rhythm and my outer rhythm… so instead of being competitive with my friends, trying to play faster, louder or better..I decided to learn more rhythms. To expand, to try and grow and to speak. Go past my comfort zone. To be “deeply creative”. Or at least this is my goal. If you truly what to be creative, expressive and free I suggest opening up to the facts that drumming is a language and vocabulary that can..and must be learned. To be deeply creative, drop the need to be creative… and go into learning mode. Once you learn the art form from the ground up, the ins and outs, the “form” you can truly be creative! Give your self the time and space to learn more. I understand in this age of technology we scream to let our creative, natural energy soar! But stick with me here and i will show you a way to really allow it to happen. Drumming is a language. just like any other language. It is from an oral history. “If you can say it you can play it”. First we learn vowels, how to make sounds, we put the vowels into words or phrases, patterns, we put the phrases into sentences and we learn to speak in another language using complete sentences. If you do not follow these steps, you will never learn to speak a foreign language and you will be babbling. Learning to speak the language of drumming is the same! And therefore, a “form”. Once the form is there the foundation is laid, we can build on it. If it were a language like french or Italian you would learn the basics as i just described and then practice speaking with other people who are learning and even better with native speakers. You would learn simple sentences, then at some point when you were fluent you could really express your ideas creatively in that other language. The same is true on drums. You must leaner the form before you drop the form and try to be creative. But if we don’t’ have the form to start with we don’t have anything. You have to deepen your vocabulary if you really want to be creative. Sure some people can be creative with very few words. But that is difficult and masterful. They have learned a lot and then only choose the few words they need. When you study with a great teacher, they will show you patterns and rhythms, progressions that you would never think up on your own. They might be uncomfortable. But by learning them you expand your repertoire, you add “chops”, you burn in new pathways in your brain.You expand constantly and you add to your vocabulary. Personally, I have had to go into learning mode again. i am not focused on creative as I am studying more. Deeper. I am digging my foundation deeper then ever before. When I am done, I will have much more to say and express. But for now, its fine to drop the need to be creative so i can learn more. It’s hard to be humble. I know! But by surrendering to the fact about how much we don’t know,how much there is to learn we can then be open to recieving. I am working on a progression for the last 3 days that is so simple but so foreign to me that i have to keep practicing it over and over until i burn it in, i own it and it is there naturally. I am not punishing myself, I am reminding myself that it is different then I would ever come up with on my own. I play a lot and when you play a lot you notice that you can be repetitive. Learning new ideas from others helps you to break the repetitiveness and habits many of us are unaware we even have. You can think of learning drumming as a form, like the frame work of a house. You dig and put in a deep foundation in the ground with cement. The stronger the foundation (your basics, your drumming fundamental concepts and practices), the stronger your house will be on top of it. So we build the basement, a frame work and walls. Once that is all up in place, you have space to use, space to fill with your creative ideas. What you put inside of it is up to you. I am not a great student in class. I am very slow and easily thrown off. However, i have learned to use tools. I am very lucky that I have recording devices or it would be very difficult for me to learn. Find a way to learn that works for you, for the type of student you are. Don’t be hard on yourself, be patient and kind to yourself and you will learn. Once you have learned the concepts, fundamentals and patterns, once you can speak on the drum then you can party however you like inside the house, inside the space. The frame, the foundation makes the space useful. No frame=no space. The easiest thing is to believe the false notion that we “know enough” or “already have it”. That we don’t need to learn anything else. And when we start to learn or relearn it can be difficult. I have compassion for you. I understand. It can be hard and rough. Your brain can get strained and drained. Bent all different which ways with this stuff. I know, ’cause mine is! And i also know and want you to realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And in that light is a big pay off! You are never to old to learn, it’s never to late… and there is always something to learn. Always. I am in and take every beginners class as well as the advanced classes. If you want to be creative, learn the language. Then you can drop the form and blaze creatively forward.