Silencing the inner critic.
For most of us when we are drumming , practicing and playing we are playing to an imaginary critic. Often this critic is saying, “you are not good enough”. I have learned over the years to simply not pay attention to the critic or whatever negative images or feelings that may come up while playing. Or we can be playing against someone who was at or in a playing situation. Drop the competition and play for the love of it.
If a voice or thought or someone in your head is saying, “not good enough”, remember you are not alone! Remember that you are not playing to impress people and it is not even about good or bad. Often many of my drumming buddies will say, “he can’t play”, or “she can’t play”. I call this chopping the heads of others to make your own look good. Because everyone can play. Stay with the positive flow when you play, practice or perform.
Often in conversation with other drummers one of my drumming friends will say , “so and so is the best”, or, ” he or she is better then another person”. Drumming is a great place to loose and drop the dualities of good and bad judgements on each other. We are all in this together, we are all students, we are all learning no matter what level we are at or think we are at. It is so easy to criticize and to compare and compete.
Many of us have been doing it, drumming, playing and studying for many , many years. We all have an equal love for the dance, music and culture we embrace from other cultures. Let’s celebrate this cultural sharring together instead of judging each other harshly!
I have noticed in dance classes, performances, jam sessions and classes that very few people congadulate each other, thank each other or acknowledge each other in positive ways. Make it a point if you play lead to thank the other players that were holding it down for you.
When you are playing accompanyment or holding the part for someone else, find something positive to say to them about their playing.
When I played quinto (solo drum) with Conjunto Nacional of Cuba at the Saturday rumba in Havana, Cuba in 1985 my teacher made me turn around and go back and thank each player after the pice I played on finished. I simply did not think to do it as I was so caught up in myself! So ever since then, whenever I play I make sure I shake everyone’s hand in acknowledgement, even if they blew thier part!
Another great and important tip is to forget about the session as soon as it ends. I have noticed that the great African players I know do not talk about what went wrong during a class or a performance right after the show. They do not dwell on the negative. This is a very positive thing! It is over and done with and now in the past.