This weekend, following my birthday and a week of rigorous chilling out in Dublin (full report to follow!) I was feeling relaxed and ready for my next potentialist adventure: a session with high-energy drumming team BassToneSlap, who’d pitched up in Covent Garden Piazza for to help London rediscover its inner beat.
At a time when many of us (an impressive 53% according to the recent research carried out by American Express and the Future Laboratory) are keen to put our energies into self-improvement, I’m far from being alone in my desire to add a few accomplishments to my existing skillset. And what could be more rewarding, life-affirming and fun than setting free any suppressed musical talent that might be lurking just beneath the surface?
Perhaps, I quietly hoped, BassToneSlap could be the catalyst I needed in kick-starting a musical eduction that like so many people I abandoned when I left school. The potentialist message is all about exploring these untapped and neglected areas of our lives to realise our full potential, and in some cases that can mean revisiting interests and activities that have lain dormant for years or even decades. Banging on a drum certainly fell into the latter camp for me! Here’s a video clip taken on the day to give you and idea how they roll:
I was pretty excited about meeting these guys, who I’d first seen on Dragon’s Den and whose enthusiasm and energy was infectious even through the TV screen. Unfortunately, the only rhythm I was able to detect en route to the session was the steady thump of torrential November rain hitting my umbrella — and I wondered how on earth the troupe was going to ‘drum up’ any morale at all in such drizzly conditions.
I needn’t have worried though: the sound of energetic drumming could be heard from as far off as the Tube station, and the friendly helpers on hand seemed to be doing a great job of encouraging those with nothing more life-changing on their minds than shopping to take some time out and embrace what would be an altogether more creative experience.
I was certainly eager to join them: drumming is one of those things I’d always fancied having a go at based on a secret hunch that I’d be rather good at it. I’ve always loved music and played the piano at school but I got hung up on all those pesky notes, envying those whose parents were rich or tolerant enough to buy them a drum kit, which I imagined would more or less play itself given an adequate sense of rhythm.
Happily, my unashamed confidence was well-founded on this occasion and I found that I took to drumming just as quickly and easily as I’d hoped, soon picking up the rhythm and loving the feeling of being immersed in such an absorbing task (that’s concentration on my face, not boredom!). A group of a dozen or so newbie drummers were given the chance to take part in each session with all ages in attendance, and it didn’t take long for a real sense of togetherness and team spirit to develop amongst this motley bunch of strangers.
But how does indulging in a spot of drumming fit into the business of enriching and investing in your future?
For me, the experience was rewarding in a number of ways that could certainly contribute to a more rounded future. For starters I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t appreciate music and the way it enriches our lives, so actually participating in a musical event is immediately rewarding. The drums are a good instrument to work with if you want to feel instantly satisfied because they are so easy to get to grips with – at least in part because there aren’t any notes to learn. And learning as part of a group with BassToneSlap takes away any performance anxiety you might have in a traditional music lesson — even if you do make a mistake you can easily blame the five-year-old bashing away on the tom-tom behind you!
Learning to drum is also a surprisingly fun and effective way to develop and improve our powers of concentration, which in an age of instant gratification is becoming a bit of a dying art. As a blogger I’m terrible at focusing on anything longer than a 140 character tweet, but when I’m forced to pay attention for long enough, the sense of relief is immense. Drumming is great for sharpening concentration because you need it to keep the rhythm going, and then to ensure you’re ready to react to whatever the lead drummer instructs you to do next.
Finally, another eminently employer-pleasing skill that can be honed through drumming is the ability to work as a team. There are a definite sense of camaraderie I’ve not felt through any other class or activity I’ve taken part in, and paying attention to what your neighbour’s doing is crucial. So would I put drumming on my CV? You bet I would…and if it didn’t help land me that dream job right away I’d at least be able to beat away the frustration!
If you’re feeling inspired to give it a try yourself, here’s a taster tutorial video from BassToneSlap!