Drum Lessons: Becoming Present In The Body

I'd like to discuss the all-too-common phenomenon known as "not being in one's body". This presents a real problem for people learning how to drum. If they are too much in their heads, they lose track of what their bodies are doing. That means that when I say, "Hit the djembe with your strong hand" or even "Put your right hand on the drum," they can't do it. I can see by their eyes that my words have not gotten through. (Us hippies called this being "spaced"). They are lost somewhere in their minds and because of it, they are always "prowling around" the rhythms rather than letting themselves become the vessels for the rhythms.

If this is an uncomfortable place to be, the good news is that you can learn to FOCUS, to become present in your body, and to learn, in time, to trust the body to play the rhythm. This frees your mind for other purposes, like singing while playing drums.

I suspect that this kind of discipline spills over into other areas of our lives, but I'll save that for another day.