I am, on my very best days, a mediocre drummer.
I was drawn to the drums (and really it was the drumset, nothing so high-minded as 'percussion') in my last year of high school. I had been late to recognizing how very important music was (and is) to me, and for some reason, the spatial layout and the physical nature of the instrument spoke to me in ways that made me believe here was an instrument I could play. Unlike, say, guitar, which mystifies me.
I was bold enough (stupid enough) to take on a music minor, and my college was at that time flexible in its requirements (in that the college didn't really have any) so it would allow me--someone with zero musical background--to become proficient at voice (ha) and piano (bad but better than voice), as well as allow me to play percussion in the some of the university ensembles and bands.
Make no mistake: For the most part, I sucked.
But more than any other time in my college life, those few years or so of intensive musical instruction, constant practicing and occasional performing were my absolute favorite academic years. I was most definitely outside my comfort zone; I really had no idea what I was doing, but for the most part, my instructor and fellow musicians were respectful and accommodating, even encouraging. I learned so much, way more than I deserved. And really, there is very little in life better than sharing the stage with other musicians and feeling that...lift; when you lock in together, when you synchronize and harmonize, there are very few sensations as wondrous as the individual parts falling away before the emergence of a transcendent, swinging/grooving/rocking whole.
I took a creative risk, and after years of diligent practice and somewhat rigorous training, I rose to the level of...passable. Decent. Mediocre.
I reflect back on that younger version of myself--the one with the courage to do something as foolhardy as embark on a music minor when I had no musical training--and I wonder where that person has gone. It's not that I lack courage, per se, but my days are now spent performing tasks that I already know how to perform. Whether by design or happenstance, most of my activities are activities I already know how to do (save for parenting, which is an activity none of us knows how to do).
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been on this whole mindfulness kick; it's driven by many factors, but the predominant inspiration is the knowledge that life is moving exceedingly faster, and I am getting exceedingly older, and if I don't stop myself--don't stop my mind from its constant spinning--and focus on where I am and what I am doing (thank you, Yoda), all the aspects of existence that I need to be paying attention to--the blissful and the painful--are going to wash by me, and my life will be one that has passed, yes, but it will not be one that was lived.
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Fail again. Fail better." Right?
So, sing. Yes, yes, even you.