Beats and Rhythms for God’s Glory

Posted: November 5, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

I love rhythms and beats. I always have. When I was little, I used to beg my parents for a drum set, even though I was already taking piano lessons. Piano was nice, melodies are great, but I couldn’t resist this percussional longing (yes, I made up the word “percussional”).

One Christmas, I received a small djembe, but this small hand drum didn’t satisfy me. I simply couldn’t do enough with it. A few pitches, some various rhythms, but nothing on a scale that kept my attention. That same Christmas, my parents bought us kids a new keyboard, the kind that had about 100 different styles you could use, such as banjo, flute, or…drum kit. I begin to pick out the keys for the bass drum, snare, hi-hats, and crash. The essentials. For extended periods of time I would concoct patterns and beats, and thoroughly enjoyed myself for awhile.

I quickly grew disinterested, however, due to the fact that these sounds were not only limited, but they were unrealistic. I wasn’t actually hitting anything, and I felt artificial pressing the keys. Then, finally, Darren Mangrum offered to let me have his old drum set, free of charge. Ecstatic, I took it home, ordered some parts online so I could actually play it, and I was on my way to actually drumming! Starting out, I struggled to coordinate my foot with my hands, but as I continued I gradually gained the skills to improvise, to use some creativity. I would play for hours (much to the dismay of my family), attempting different things like adding a snare hit on the downbeat, rolling the stick head instead of popping it, etc. This medium for “percussional” expression finally allowed me to experiment with an endless supply of uses for each piece of the kit. I was no longer restricted to a few pitches or a few keys, but could try new techniques, forms, and styles.

I’m still experimenting, and whenever I hear a new or complex beat in a song, my mind locks in and I lose touch with reality for those few minutes. One recent example is a new song from the Psalms CD from Sovereign grace called You Will Never Change. It’s a fun drum beat and an overall great song. A profound sense of happiness overcomes me whenever I can play the drums or absorb the sounds of a skilled percussionist. Sometimes when I hear traditional songs like hymns, I hear a beat and style that could complement them. As you can imagine, I can be easily distracted during corporate worship. I focus more, at times, on what the drums are doing than the lyrical content, and often must intentionally pull my mind back to the words. When I’m sitting at a red light with my turn signal on, the tempo of the blinker turns into a metronome, and the steering wheel beckons me for a beat to match. I must oblige, again much to the chagrin of any passengers.

How good of God to bless me with the pleasure of drums. Amazingly enough, I can worship God even without playing worship music on drums by simply acknowledging His goodness in creating music as I play. But I have the added privilege of being part of a youth band at church that comes together to combine talents for the purpose of leading others to worship. I get to play drums as my bandmates play guitar and sing God’s praises, and we all share the experience of God’s greatness. What a joy!

What are your simple, unique pleasures?

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Comments
  1. Sarah says:

    So you’re having a “how many big words can I use in one post” kinda day? 😉

  2. Laurie says:

    Yep, I can relate to “beats beckoning to be matched” as in turn signals. Also water dripping, rhythmic thudding sounds of a washing machine, clocks ticking etc.. My blind friend wrote sort of kid’s jingle song inspired by a busy signal on the phone! As you said, we must oblige!
    My grandson, Henry was crackin me up the other evening because he was using his plastic toy tub as a drum and seriously getting into the beat in his head!
    In our small town three percussionists would get together for some community events as a “trash can band”. Wow! Good stuff there.
    I know I’m going on and on. (I’m on a roll…)
    We were watching an older Newsboys concert on video awhile back (I think Step Up To The Microphone) and it was so fun to watch Peter Furler and Duncan Phillips on the revolving drum set.) You’ve maybe seen it and can again it on YouTube if interested.
    I have enjoyed your blog and linked here from your Mom’s blog which I linked from somewhere else…
    Praise God for the gift of music!
    Laurie

  3. Stephen says:

    Haha, little Henry sounds like me. I was doing dishes a couple days ago, and got going with a couple spoons, the sink, and the dish tub inside the sink as a bass. I got distracted for about 10 minutes.

    That Newsboys video was cool, by the way.

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