Do you remember Rusted Root? Did you love them as much as I do? Do you dance every you hear the Enterprise commercial? I say yes to all.
One of the founders of the band, Jim Donovan, gives drumming workshops. But they aren't your typical "I'm a music teacher, what can you possibly teach me" drumming work shops.
They are for people. All People. And he teaches about the power of chanting and vibrations in the body. And you pause and meditate. And you learn how to lead a circle of drummers. And you don't need any musical knowledge. At all. And sometimes it even gets in the way.
I went to a workshop this weekend in Mt. Pleasant PA. It was about 14 psychotherapists of one kind or another. He is all about using entrainment and sound energy and percussion to change the energy of the waves of our psyche. Our brains latch on to patterns. Percussion creates patterns for our brain. If we can adjust the pattern with drumming, our wacky waves can become calm.
As a "music person" I had no fear coming to this workshop. I've been an average performer always. I understand that it takes practice to get better. I learned this weekend that adults have more fear than children when it comes to creating in those spaces. I've only ever been to music teacher workshops where everyone and their dramas are mostly ready to jump in at a moments notice. I learned so much about people watching him teach adults how to find the musician inside themselves. I learned so much about the things music teachers do to stifle these joys in children who turn into adults.
The method and training I have has always embraced student exploration and improvisation and I thought I was really "it." I'm teaching what they need and giving them chances to create. After this workshop I realized, not so much. Or at least certainly not as much as I profess to do so. When you're always fixing the sound, kids never let go of their fear and just be with the sound. The urge to strive for perfection has become much less.
I am in my 28th year of teaching. There aren't very music workshops that I can go to where most of the material and techniques are already known. This weekend, after the Sound Empowerment workshop, I feel like I got a new toy to play with.
If you ever get a chance to attend a session (click here for linkety), run, don't walk to see him and meet him and know him. It was AMAZING!