It's All About the Silence
This first lesson in the 20 Secrets to Inspiring Dancers is all about Silence!
The most important way to trigger the urge to move in a dancing body, is NOT about hitting the drum, no matter how skilled you are. It's about NOT hitting the drum, with skill. It's about the space between the hits, where we trigger the natural impulse the fall, which triggers the impulse to move and dance and shake it.
For inspiring dancers, respecting the Silence in a beat is THE most important thing to know, practice, and show in your drumming.
As I explain in the video above, there is no contrast, order, or pulse when you are just hitting the drum in a fast roll and not leaving any space. I know a lot of drummers that do that when they get excited, thinking that will feed the energy. But it actually drains the room, totally. And you can watch it happen, every time. Drumming in a featureless roll, no matter how skilled it is, gives no sign where the pulse is, or when the downbeat is, so the dancers have nothing to align with! And if the dancers cannot line up with the drumming, they lose interest, and walk off the floor.
If you just leave out ONE of those hits in a fast roll, and keep it out, at the same place, over and over, it makes a huge difference in how your playing feels. It marks the spot, gives a point of reference, and something to line up with for the dancers.
In the video I explain more, about the Vedic perspective on drumming and silence, and how important it is to find the silence in a beat, respect it, and enhance it as much as possible.
One example of managing silence, and enhancing it, is the concept of microtiming, or feel, or swing in a beat. And we talk more about that in the lesson on Micro-timing.
Yeehah! Find the Silence in every rhythm!!
Screaming with Joy
I am a musician myself but wanted to learn drumming. When I watch Robert drum for dancers at Dance Church, Sufi, and parties, and see how everyone starts moving, shouting and screaming with joy, it's amazing. I realized I wanted to do that! I have been taking group lessons from Robert once a week for about 2 months now, and for someone that never touched a drum before, I am getting better fast. His knowledge goes way beyond the rhythms and sounds - he really understands the art and spirit of it, the psychology and physiology of dancers. I get a lot out of every lesson, and I intend to join his performance group.
~~ Kevin Dalfonso, Musician, Systems Tech, Encinitas, CA
Get the Room Rocking
I met Robert some years ago. When I learned about his prowess as a drummer and rocking the djembe, I invited him to join my rock band, Clarke After Darke. He was amazing. It didn't matter what the song was, he was always able to get the room rocking with his strong percussive beats. And he dueled with the kit-drummer, like a swashbuckling pirate and they laid down some fabulous solos. Besides, he is a really kind and gentle person. We were sad when he left for California. We love him to bits.
~~ Clarke Stevens, Entertainer, CPA, Phoenix, AZ
I've been casually drumming for many years but never formally, and never with african drumming. Then I saw Robert drumming at our local dance church. I was amazed how he could change rhythms effortlessly and "communicate" with the other drummers. Not only is he a great drummer, he is an extraordinary teacher. He is kind, patient and shows a true love for drumming and teaching. When he asked us at our first lesson what were our goals, he didn't snicker or laugh when I said "I just want to be as good as you" - now my goal is to have fun and be as good as I can be, and if that even approximates a quarter of Robert's talent I will be grateful.
~~ Paul Paez, Chiropractor, Encinitas, CA