Friday, September 23, 2011

Woodshed: Developing my Drumming "Vocabulary"

As soon as we learn how to talk, we spend the rest of our lives doing it. As a species, talking is our primary form of communication. Sure, there's writing and non-verbal communication like body language or facial expressions, but we do our most specific and explicit communication through talking.

When you first start talking, it's not very intelligible. There are lots of monosyllables and nonsensical phrases. I should know because I'm in the midst of an almost two year old boy who is beginning to find his voice. Lots of "um"s and "qwijybo"s... Gibberish, basically.

But then, after a while, after you've been talking for a bit, actual words start to take shape. "Mama", "Da-dee", "Pa-pa", "up", "eeree" (really)... You begin to convey actual thoughts through these words. These words are the first part of your vocabulary. Then further down the line there are phrases, then sentences, then full paragraphs, then you start to tell actual stories.

When you think about it, people start telling stories the moment they start talking. It's just we don't have the control over language, the vocabulary that is necessary to be understood. It's not until several years of talking that we actually communicate these stories more effectively. And even then, it will be even more years until those stories are nuanced and subtle and communicate even more complicated thoughts. When we reach our teenage years, our language and vocabulary has evolved and we might even be able to hold someone's attention long enough to tell them a really good story... even if it's not as sophisticated as the story we'll tell as young adults and then even further into our wisdom gaining years...

What's my point...?

Well, I'm a veritable teenager... when it comes to drumming. I can tell a pretty good story, but it's not as refined as I'd like it to be. The story doesn't live up to the expectations that my idealistic and impressionable mind have set for myself. And it's because my vocabulary isn't up to par... I have much to learn before I can articulately speak while I'm sitting at a drumset. I've got some pretty impressive "words" to use, but there's plenty more to say and ever more eloquent ways to say it.

Wow. What a long winded way of saying that I'm woodshedding so I can increase my drum vocabulary...

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