Kesai Riddick October 17 at 3:20pm
Unity through Sound Vibration
My journey with the drum has been a long and arduous one. For years I struggled with the technique and battled my own inner demons and short comings. All these things were trappings of my own making. Fortunately I have a great guide and teacher in the form of Marvin Bugalu Smith who’s been with me through it all.
I’ve never been one of Marvin’s best students in fact I’ve probably given him more headaches than he’s deserved. Marvin’s way of teaching is all about giving and is compassionate based. I was taught to learn in a very academic and rigid way so when I met Marvin who was teaching from the heart my mind couldn’t comprehend it. I thought I was doing everything a good student was supposed to do. But I was thinking I was doing what a good student should do.
My mind has been a great aid to me but has been a huge hindrance when it came to drumming. I thought I could think my way into playing the drums but Marvin has shown me that isn’t necessarily so. For a long time Marvin and I were at odds with one another because I was thinking too much. I wasn’t feeling and using my emotional self which is what one needs when playing music and the drums.
Marvin was teaching me all these great and useful concepts but I was only able to partially benefit from them because I was viewing them from a very limited and closed viewpoint. Because I was so concerned with myself and what I was going to do with the drums I was missing out on the bigger and beautiful picture. I was suffering so much because my ego was telling me I was right and Marvin didn’t understand. Meanwhile the total opposite was true. I was suffering because I didn’t understand and I thought my little ego was the whole world.
After knocking into the mental and emotional Wall I made a determination to change my attitude about the drum and studying with Marvin. I put my ego out. When I say I put my ego out I mean I took the muck and garbage out of my mind. I wanted to play the drums badly and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me even my own bullshit. Instead of thinking I went with the motion/flow.
The biggest thing I’ve changed about myself is how much I give of myself. The universe has a natural give and take rhythm to it and when we go against that rhythm we fall into disarray. Unfortunately I’ve been very selfish with others around me. Because my ego was telling me I was being magnanimous I wasn’t able to see how selfish I was. This affected every aspect of my life. It affected my playing by making me sound stiff and lifeless when I played the drums. The music would suffer because I wasn’t adding any emotional content to it. I was so concerned with my drum solo that I was missing the whole reason for me being there in the first place: THE MUSIC.
Now when I play I consciously make an effort to support the other musicians and bring joy to the music and the audience. I love doing this because it keeps me in the moment and keeps me always working. I never get a chance to backslide at all. That’s the other thing I’ve changed about myself, I’m more in the moment. Being in the moment is not an easy thing to do because the mind loves to wonder. It’s either stuck in the past or fantasizing about the future. The mind has a difficult time being in the present. But the present is where the greatest work can be done.
So now when I sit down to play I play to do justice to the music. This allows for a far greater expression than I would have had had I been trying to play for my own self gratification. Even as I’m writing this I’m filling up with tears because this is what I’ve truly wanted to get to when I first set out to play the drums. But because I was letting my lesser self do all the driving I kept running in to the wall. I kept being at odds with Marvin because he was able to see right through this and was trying to help me see it too but I was so self involved that I was blind to it.
Now that I’ve reached this understanding I am bound and determined to stay here. If I slack for even one millisecond I’ll end up back where I was a few weeks ago. I will not let that happen at all. Playing the music effectively and on a high level takes patience, determination and a mind set that is always seeking ways to give more to the people and to the universe. With this new attitude I pledge to over come any obstacle I may have, real or imaginary.
Kesai Riddick drums
Ben New Some tenor sax
Mark Hagan bass
John Esposito piano