Just lately I had a Deja’ Vu experience during drumming class. I witnessed another percussion student that was making progress in their drumming assume they now knew what they were doing more than they actually did. I happened to be sitting nearby and overheard some comments made about who was on the beat and who wasn’t which weren’t particularly correct. I found myself starting to resent this, but stopped when I realized what I was doing.
I reflected back on how many times I have made this very mistake: Probably hundreds in 12 years. It’s very easy to believe that just because you are finally getting something, like the feel of a rhythm you’ve been grinding on for months, you are suddenly an expert on everything. I used to assume I knew more than I did on a regular basis, only to get my comeuppance every time I started to get comfortable in my supposed drumming superiority. More often than not, I’d be proved wrong quickly.
It’s taken me years to learn to practice NOT making the assumption I know better and NOT focusing on judging what others are doing, leaving that job to the master teacher. I’ve had to learn to be truly humble, because doing anything else always backfires and causes a whole lot of bullshit I no longer want to put myself through. This doesn’t mean I’m not aware of some of other people’s mistakes here and there , but the real trick is being aware of and working on my own. I don’t like being corrected or told how to drum by people I feel are unqualified to teach , so I try to not do the same to other drummers unless they ask for my advice.
I don’t envy the master drumming teachers’ jobs of having to tolerate our ignorance, inexperience, lack of practice and skill at all. I’m now more patient and forgiving only because being anything else wastes way too much energy and doesn’t change things or other peoples’ behavior the least bit. I also don’t pretend to know anything unless I really do know it well, and that keeps me from putting my foot into my mouth 9 times out of 10.
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