As I sit here in Durand Coffee Shop, sipping on a Burundi pour-over, for the first time in Hamilton, (quite the beautiful tucked away nook, in a residential area) I recount the week I just had at the Power to Change conference with Will Walker and bunch of other solid dudes. As I am reflecting on this past week, I've had some time to digest and process a lot of good for the coming weeks and months.
It easy to get stuck, or caught up in what "you" think is your best. One of the guys I met this week, an excellent guitarist and a sweet dude to hang out with, reminded me, "If your the best player in the room, go find another room to play in." It just reminded me of the level I hold myself to. Not in an arrogant, prideful way of always wanting to be the best, but the drive to never be okay with where your at, or rather settle.
I am reminded of 1 Peter 2:9...
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
I don't know about you but for me that is a call to be different, a higher standard, a grander way of living. Not in the sense of the pomp and decadence that is so temporal, but in the sense of discipline and practice. When you think of the word royalty, you immediately can think of figures like the queen, or kings of past and present.
Why are they so memorable?
They live differently, they act differently, they think and process differently. They ascertain to a degree of excellence like they are setting the bar or the standard for the entire universe. They set the pace for a way of living. Not everyone likes or wants to be like it, but it is a standard nonetheless.
There's always that part of me that wants to do the opposite of what the standard is, just because I want to rebel, but that is also known as my flesh, which is a daily fight to master over it. But then there is the other part of me that loves discipline and quality.
This is the side I've tapped into this week drumming for Power To Change conference at Redeemer University in Hamilton...
...and I want to ride this side for as long as I can.
I am going to make this "gap year" in my life, one of growth in musicianship. Drumming, guitar, and sound, more specifically. I know from where I've been about three years ago, to today with my drumming I've improved, but that doesn't mean I've reached the top, and I don't ever think there is a top. Its just the limits you put on yourself, and maybe a bit of time. (If only our days were 48 hours long, haha).
MOMENT OF VULNERABILITY HERE:
I have allowed myself to be convinced that I am okay with where I'm at in my drumming skills.
Before this past week, I've hit a plateau of skill and excellence, and it took this week of playing with some guys that have "tasted and seen" better, to realize, I suck.
And its okay.
But its ultimately an encouragement to get better. To go back to practicing daily. To learn playing in new time signatures, to learn some basic notation, to finally break the bank and buy that amazing kit so everyday I want to play and I won't be able to get away from the kit until I've teared those muscles to the most that I can.
After playing with guys that have played with some big band names, I've realized the only way is up. The excellence only comes with practice, and humility.
Another couple little tips that I received over the week from another solid dude (these are free by the way, so you can thank me later ;) ) are:
- Be the kindest person in the room
- Always arrive on time for your gigs
No person will ever want you back for being cocky and arrogant in your playing, interactions, or character, and no person, band, duet, will ever want you back if you can never make their roll-call times. Period. You want to build trust, build a love for alarms and reminders that make sure you get to your venues on time.
These tips will aid in becoming a person that people can trust have you on their team, squad, meeting, band, board, you fill in the blank. These skills are super important for every aspect of your life.
You can apply them to any and every situation of you life. That's the beauty of musicianship, it not only prepares you for the music world, the band and gigs world, but it also prepares you for life.
So this "fiscal" year (September) and even now, I have resolved to grow in musicianship. To grow practically in skill of instrumentation, so with drums, getting faster, accurately. With guitar, finger-picking and scales, as well as learning "pedalogy", is what I call it with what different pedals do and alter, as well as beginning to find my "sound". And as for sound, everything possible. Consoles, patches, EQ'ing, setup, cables, mixing, recording, microphones, everything.
And I'll tell you why I'm doing it.
Do I want to sound better, and play better? Yes. But I want to prioritize my excellence for the Lord.
Ultimately, in striving for goodness and the best of what I can be, I am honouring the Lord with the time and resources He has blessed me with.
And as an umbrella over all of this, if I end sucking for the rest of my life, I will still be praising the One who gave me the chance to be where I'm at, and never regret a thing.
On that note:
...just wanted to give a little update on Jot & Tittle band.
We are still in the planning stages, writing stages, but I have reached the point where I just want to start putting things together. So both Anna and I will be in another meeting soon with our good friend of Epoch Tapes, Connory about finally beginning to record some stuff.
Also, a little secret sauce in the works, I might have the guitarist from Colony House, Scottie Mills, tracking some guitar stuff for our ep/album so...shhhhhhhhhhh ;)
If you've made it this far...leave a comment about what resolutions you have made maybe recently or in the beginning of the year and if you've stuck to them! Blessings.