Friday, August 27, 2004
1 Drummer, 2 Drummers, 3 Drummers MORE?
Determining how many drummers can play in a dance class can be a difficult issue. Some people prefer that beginners do not play and only the advanced drummers can play. They set an upper limit of djembe players, say 3 or 4 maximum. This can work at the expense of trampling on the ambitions and desires of the novice drummers.
My teacher once told me that he can play with a large group of drummers at all mixed levels. He can have 4 or 5 beginners playing accompaniment and 1 advanced student playing accompaniment. He said that he would only pay attention to the clean accompaniment, even if he had only one. He would play with that accompaniment and completely ignore the quieter out of synch accompaniments of the beginners. He said that way the beginners get the chance to have the experience drumming with the advance students which can inspire them in their studies. He told me that a master needs to have this skill – selective hearing. All he needs is one good accompaniment and the ability to tune out the rest. Like in Zen Buddhism, the Buddha can be in a peaceful state of meditation in the middle of downtown Manhattan. It is important for the djembe player to transcend and not be bothered by “the small stuff”.