Since deciding to become a drummer way back in 1987 I would read about teachers who I would love to study with, one was Chuck Silverman and another was Bosco d’ Oliveira. I was blessed to travel to Cuba with Chuck in 2009 on his study programme (mentioned below) and towards the end of last year (2011) I took part in two workshops that Bosco gave for members of the London School of Samba before he returned to Brazil. Both men encourage us to ask the question ‘Why are you playing what you are playing?’ The answers could range from ‘It fits’ or ‘It sounds good’ or ‘It feels good’ but why that pattern? Why does a Rumba clave from a certain part of Cuba contain those notes, why does a caixa pattern played by a samba school in Rio sound that way. Why are age-old bell patterns from West Africa just so…really, why? Are they spoken language translated into a rhythmic pattern? Are they influenced by the sounds of birds or charging animals? Do they mimic passing trains or car engines? Is it the sounds of pounding maize or coffee beans into powder or is something meta – physical? Certainly rhythmic patterns influence one another and some can even be found within others but in the first place, when those rhythms were first played on a log or a leg, why?
I have found that drumming throws up the questions and challenges that I need to face in other aspects of my life and so it brings me to this – why blog? Not what to write but why do it? Well partly it’s because it’s two years since E.E.T. Music began trading as a company and I would like to acknowledge that landmark. Writing a blog seems like a worthy thing to do and it is something I have wanted to do since I started the website in 2010 but why?
The answer – to give and to receive.
One of the greatest lessons to learn is that being open to receive is equally as important as being willing to give, otherwise there is an imbalance. I realise that although I am aware of the wisdom that this lesson has to offer, I am still some way short of applying it in certain areas of life – business being one of those areas.
A recent event serves only to illustrate this all too well.
I had a recent Saturday morning class cancelled which gave me an hour free so I pulled the car over and relaxed. I very rarely listen to the radio but whilst flicking through the channels I came upon BBC London Live and a request for people who had decided on a career change after their 40th birthday to phone in and share their experiences. I called in and told of how I decided I was going to be in Cuba learning drums and percussion on my 40th birthday, that my dream had come true and upon returning to the U.K. I committed myself to starting up my own company to use drumming as a tool for healing, education and well-being.
This was an opportunity to inspire others to follow their dreams and by calling in and sharing my story I had given something. However when I reviewed my few minutes of air time I realised I had not once mentioned the name of my company! I had a potential audience of millions and I had made it very difficult for any of them to contact me or find out more about my work, it could be said that I had failed to receive. I was glad to have acted and rung the station in the first place and I felt good that maybe somebody somewhere had been inspired by my story so in the areas of mental and spirituality I had received, but not in business*.
In the E.E.T Music blog I will share inspiring stories from the music sessions that I am so grateful to be able to be a part of, I will put out into the world my system of understanding polyrhythms that I discovered whilst obsessively studying West African bell patterns, I will write about my studies into the links between Palo symbology, Quantum Physics and healing and much, much more. I will however be honest enough with myself to say that I also intend to receive interest in my work and my music. I intend the business to grow as people become followers of the blog, visit the website and in so doing, raise the profile of E.E.T. Music around the world.
To some people this would be obvious but to me it is a big step, it means I value myself and I value my work and it means I have finally realised that by minimising myself I am not helping anyone, that can only come from maximizing myself. As I am constantly encouraging others to be all they can be and live an inspired life it also means that I am beginning to practise what I preach…Hallelujah!
*There are seven areas of life to empower: Social, business, mental, physical, financial, family and spiritual.