Hitting That High Note

You and I as musicians have a problem…..

If you have ever hit a sweet spot in music, where everything flows out of you like water, or if you have ever had an out of body experience while playing, If you have ever had a night that was so great you get off the kit and you glow….and people see you glowing…something in your eyes that sends a message perhaps from a different dimension or mental and physical state. Even if you have achieved this with extremely focused practicing…It’s a high that is difficult for us to explain. Let alone…FORGET. In fact you can NEVER forget it. Every once in a while you repeat that experience and it becomes something that embeds itself in the deepest core of your being.  “The Zone” as some people call it…leaves me a bit cold as a concept and word. It lacks the depth needed IMHO and doesn’t properly describe the mark it makes on the person going through the experience. I believe that some people go through this outside of music…Could be what buddhist monks and people that achieve altered states of consciousness through extremely disciplined forms of meditation do.

Now …it’s not my intention to make this sound arrogant. I detest separation of human beings in any way shape or form. My view is that no one is better then anyone else. And that we are all one collective connected hive of  “being” …in one way or another.  But there is something about music that causes this in the musician and to some extent, the listener. Once you experience it as a musician, it is something that never ever leaves you. An amazing experience. It changes you forever. It can even cause a complete change of consciousness or awareness eventually. Lets face it, drumming has been used in this way since the very beginning! In our ancient ancestors religious rituals, to create transcendental states of mind etc. So of course….the mind is affected to this day by drumming and music.

The question is …What do we do with it? 

Witnessing a thing of beauty, like watching an extremely talented player…is something that hits you at gut level. You feel it deeply and it moves you profoundly. Every Tony Williams concert I went to …did this to me. I left each night with a feeling that I had seen something very deep. Art! I had witness something striking! Not of the everyday world we flow in. What a feeling!! So what do we do with this? We channel it. In some ways it’s like a thread that gets shared on facebook (haha) But in an organic way, not digital. This is something that is very very important. To channel that experience organically and let it become a part of you. In fact, it’s almost as if you can hear the difference between cats that have never seen something like that live and those who have! It makes sense. Since the more players you see the more you are in touch with this feeling. And the better you are able to express it and manifest it.

The application can then be extended into other areas as well. Into your daily life. The implications of this might seem obvious to many but if I may…

The witnessing and understanding of  performances that are deeply moving helps you realize that there is much more to the world then what we perceive with our limited senses. In the quality of compassion, empathy, I believe there are many levels of awareness that need to be present. A child might have a predisposition to share…but I think the sharing that comes from a deeper place when there are multiple levels of understanding about it. Any action or sentiment related to increased depth and perception, the ability to put yourself in the place of others and the general actions that we can consider to be of the most “human” values can be augmented through music. Especially when the mind is trained to love great music.

Of course then there is channeling into the music itself. Now…I dont think you can be thinking of channeling it. UNLESS, you are an imitator of someone. And there are plenty of those. (Weckle clones, or Chambers Clones, even Tony clones  etc etc) To really “channel” these things must be fully absorbed and come from a place deep inside the subconscious mind. In that playing area where your hands seem to move by themselves and you are almost outside your body! Of course many years of practice and experience accompany the ability to play at this level. Without the necessary  skills drumming requires, it will be hard to just let go and not think.  All this might seem obvious to some with more playing experience, but not to those who are just now starting the journey into drumming. I feel that this is not talked about enough in general. Especially with younger drummers nowadays. It’s too much technique bla bla, this that and the other. And not enough of the beauty, the depth. Hitting that high note…you enter that zone…you feel outside of yourself…you connect with other energies, you gain insight…You are hooked on drumming, forever!

Welcome to those who are!

Phil M



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