Notes From A Rainy Night: Reasons To Drum

Maybe it’s just because it’s the end of the year. With the weather turning cooler and the sky darkening earlier, we spend more time indoors staying warm, which brings opportunity to reflect. So I guess I feel kind of philosophical tonight, although to be honest, I also have to finish this damn column before tomorrow morning.

Yeah, I procrastinated. It’s been far too easy to be distracted lately. The mood in the media and on the street has been intense in recent months, even outright hostile, what with impending elections and national security issues. Like driving past a car crash, I have trouble looking away even though I don’t like what I see. We get so caught up in the mob mentality that it becomes easy to believe that there aren’t many good things going on, which, even if it were true, makes it that much more important to appreciate the good things that we have. So let’s just give it a shot, right now, because drummers have good reasons to feel thankful.

We know that drumming is uniquely satisfying, but why is that? Well, for one thing, it combines the cerebral with the physical, our intellect with instinct, which helps us feel in balance. It connects us with ancient traditions, which allows us to transcend the increasingly digitized terrain. Playing drums is a peak experience that challenges our bodies and minds, and leaves both in a state of maximum clarity long after we leave the stage.

You can come to drumming from many different angles. If you have a weekday job, it’s refreshing to get out from behind your desk and strap on your musician persona. There’s nothing like spending a few hours rocking on the weekend for a little extra cash, or trancing out at a drum circle to change the tempo of your life. And if you actually make a living simply by being a drummer — whether you teach drum students for 30 hours a week or tour with Metallica — you are living a blessed life, indeed.

We’re often typecast as the underdogs, but we know better. Drumming is a privilege, and while we’re at it, so is the opportunity to edit this drumming magazine for you. Maybe it’s impossible to form a drum circle big enough to tackle all the problems that leap out of newspaper headlines right now, but at least our art can keep us grounded.