By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
9.29.15: Global – (Lifestyle): As a journalist, I’m usually the one asking questions. But at the barbershop recently, I was in the hot seat, and it wasn’t my literary works that was inquired upon.
“When you first sat down at the drumset, did you think about what to play, or did you follow your heart?,” asked a barber whose tracked my career as both a professional drummer and media entrepreneur.
It was a question regarding my musical endeavors that had never once been posed to me. I responded: “I played what I saw,” referring to my mimicking of the drummer who sat center stage at the Uptown Theater, when it was used a place of worship.
“Then you followed your heart, it came naturally,” he said.
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He was right, I had never taken a formal drum lesson, yet after watching someone do it, and then having a moment to recreate it, I found something I was passionate about.
My first pair of drumsticks was homemade: two hand-grips full of spaghetti noodles. My first drumset was equally as homely: pots, pans and containers turned upside down.
I played for hours, and when I wasn’t drumming, I was drawing pictures of drums, mostly the one that I saw at the Uptown Theater, with a Remo front bass drum head.
When I went to school, my pencils substituted as drumsticks, though the teachers weren’t as appreciative of my musical abilities as my mother.
My drumming on the desk was often seen as a distraction, and now, as a young adult, I can agree that it was, though I’d argue it was as entertaining as it was distracting.
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I found my solace in my music classes or at home, where my pots and pans were soon replaced with a jet black, 5 piece cosmic percussion drumset.
Throughout my life, my gift(s) was nurtured, and that resulted in me having a host of amazing opportunities, including auditioning for P. Diddy’s ‘Making His Band’ show and winning the 2008 Guitar Center Drum Off Store Championship.
But it was until my employment at Guitar Center (2005-2007) that I realized not everyone was as luckily as I. Many parents, when I ran the $2 million drum department, would come in browsing, but often say they didn’t want all the noise at home and the child could wait until he/she was 18 to get it themselves.
It was, and is, the wrong attitude to have towards children’s interests. Children whose interests and hobbies are cultivated often become adults who are cultured, artistic and unique.
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I once taught in Philadelphia schools and, again, encountered parents that were hesitant to indulge their kids desire to be musicians, because the noise wasn’t worth the reward.
As someone who was granted, in multiple venues, the opportunity to make as much noise as possible, I encourage parents to push their kids to be creative and noisy, but in moderation, as all things should be. Here’s an idea: you can designate a day at home to be creative with your kids, whether it’s drumming, singing, drawing or telling funny stories.
For me, drumming came naturally, but in the larger frame, creativity came natural, as it does for all human-beings.
Creativity, like curiosity, are inherent to personhood, and it can either grow along with us in life, or be cut off at the root by parents’ unwillingness to nurture it. The depth of an adult’s creativity is an often a result of the breadth of freedom they had as children to explore themselves and their gifts.
Don’t rob your child or loved one of the opportunity to be joyful, noisy and creative. And if you don’t want to spring for the drumset, at least allow the spaghetti drumsticks and pot and pans every now and again.
* Tune into 900amWURD or 900amWURD.com every Friday evening at 6:30pm to hear me relive #TheWeekThatWas*
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
About Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
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