I know a young man who has passion.
Passion in how he learns, the quantity of knowledge he has, his joy in sharing his gift with the world.
This young man is a drummer who was born with rhythm coursing through his veins and always a steady heartbeat, barely able to contain his drumming fingers…always at the dinner table, frequently on a drum set.
I know this drummer. I gave birth to him.
‘Passionate’ is the perfect description of his enthusiasm of all things percussion. As a barely two year old trying to configure a drum set using a coffee can, tape, paper plates & a barbecue skewer, frustration mounting as the high-hat cymbals wouldn’t open & close like he saw in a Beatles video.
Shortly after, a December holiday brought an entire drum set–and at his birthday party only 3 weeks later he shared his drumming passion with the world. Ok…maybe to most of his first grade class and all the neighbors.
What I admired about his performance was he didn’t know if he was a great drummer or an ok drummer. He just wanted to play. And he played along with the Beatles music and he started the party.
So this passion continues and gets deeper (as does his song selection) over the years to include all genres of music. It’s a pleasure to watch the evolution of his style and skill as he proceeds through each phase. I am grateful that heavy-metal was relatively short lived and that jazz is in the heavy rotation.
When I see passion in a young person, it’s not forced. It’s an inner drive, strength, motivation. An athlete on the practice field before the team, the artist who has filled every page of the sketchbook before the semester begins, the mountain climber who has studied the map well before the hike. The drummer who is on the stage for every performance that involves music: the pit musical, the symphonic & orchestra concerts, the student showcase, marching band & jazz bands. And then playing through his selections for hours at a time on his set in the basement. Without applause. Drumming is the blood that keeps him alive.
Where does it come from? I’d like to take a little credit – for the 9 months I carried him I taught step aerobics to a perfect 8 count…
…but that doesn’t explain why, on one of the coldest days in winter, he packed up his set (breaking down drums, stands, cymbals, amps), loaded the pieces into his car – unloaded them at school, set up the drum set, rocked the stage for his Tri-M (music honor society) recital, then took the whole kit apart, in the car, home & back into the basement. It was well below zero degrees F. I know because I was ‘helping’ him get it packed into his car at the school, when everyone else was gone. The janitor was already cleaning the hallway outside the room. There was no applause, just frostbite. Frostbite and passion.
The great Roger Waters talks about “character building” experiences. Those are moments that you can look back on and say “Man, that was tough, but I am glad I went through them.”
It’s interesting – he does the ‘take down/set up/play/take down/set up’ routine all the time usually alone. As a ‘roadie’, I think I was more in the way than of any real assistance. He’s built a ton of character so far…at age 18!