If we’re Facebook friends, you may have seen my series of #Lunchbreak grooves. I’m up to like 42 of them now, and it has been a fun and interesting project…
In the spirit of connecting my various paths of creativity, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about why I’m doing them, what I’ve learned so far, and the value that we can all get out of “projects” like this.
First, these videos are rough and short form, done through Instagram and shared to Facebook. Even that has its purpose – while I have some IG followers, I currently have a much larger network on Facebook, and drum stuff seems to be less diluted there… Or rather, it’s where I’m connected to more people I know and care about, and that’s part of the impact I’m trying to make.
You can find the whole dang list right here.
Okay so… #lunchbreak isn’t some play on words or anything of the sort. It’s legitimately my hour lunch break from LongerDays… And I’m fortunate that the office is only about a mile from my house. I go home, eat, and spend the remaining time I have playing drums.
I’ve been doing it for a while, and because of the 21st century’s propensity to document everything, I started recording them to post to Insta (hey, maybe I’m a slave to social media too).
After a few, I started sharing them to Facebook as well – where I normally keep things separate(ish) and avoid cross platform posting. Some folks responded positively – and I don’t just mean digitally. I’ve had a handful of friends and acquaintances tell me in person that they liked seeing them, and that because it potentially aligned with their lunch break – and subsequent phone scrolling – it was something cool that they looked forward to seeing.
Thus, a spark.
If people dig it, give them what they want… And I won’t pretend to deny any kind of ego stroke that comes at the heels of people saying they are interested and inspired by the videos…
But that’s enough backstory. The WHY is way more important than the HOW, and I’ve surely got some reasons beyond the casual positive comment from a friend.
For a long time, I’ve felt like a creative member of a band, with ideas for parts and arrangements, opinions about the feel or tempo of a given piece of music we’re working on…
But I haven’t ever felt like a very creative drummer. I’ve never performed a solo, don’t feel very confident in my fill ideas, and while I’ve come quite a ways in my last several years of diligent play and practice (and I’m proud of that), I still don’t feel like a terribly “creative” player.
So, in doing some documenting – especially after I’d made a dozen videos – a new challenge emerged, and it has been the most rewarding part of this journey so far.
I want the grooves to be different from one another, from all the rest on the list… And after a few “go to” patterns are exhausted, it becomes an exercise in and of itself to come up with something that I haven’t already played.
Sometimes that’s a gear change for different sound sources, or trying to find a feel I haven’t explored yet…
Sometimes it’s test driving patterns I’ve learned or coming up with new ones…
I’ve made a point to keep them musical. These are grooves not “chops,” even when they’re busy. I want them to have some shape…
However the process unfolds, it’s a mental exercise to come up something fresh each time, and that has meant stretching my creative legs. It’s not always totally novel, but some of the results have been pleasantly surprising to me – and that’s rad.
I get an hour for lunch. The drive or bike ride takes 5 or 10 minutes, eating takes a little bit of time, and some days there are other odds and ends I just have to tend to…
I don’t make one of these vids every single weekday, but I always think about it. Sometimes it’s a time thing, and others it’s because I don’t even go home for lunch…
When I do though, the pressure’s on. I have to come up with something moderately interesting (to me, at least), spend a few minutes getting comfortable with it – especially if it’s a new pattern or something relatively unfamiliar – snag some video, chop it down to Instagram appropriate length, and post it.
Most of the time, I’m running out the door back to the office as I’m hitting that share button…
But I kind of like that too. I can’t deliberate much… I can’t fuss over bad takes (okay, sometimes I do)… And I can’t even spend much time finding the “best” 60 seconds of a few minutes of video.
Play it, chop it, post it.
Even the format of Insta makes it interesting, with just a minute of video time available. Sometimes it feels too short to get an idea across. Other times, I kick myself for not even being able to play the same idea for ONE whole minute without some kind of variation or fill… Which has been educational in itself.
Repetition is a motherfucker. As drummers and musicians, we should know that in our bones. Do something over and over and over, and it starts to become natural… It starts to have a mind of its own or become an automatic part of the routine, whatever that routine may be.
I was already trying to squeeze in a little bit of drumming during lunch time… But now that I’m numbering the videos, because I put a damn hashtag on it… It’s an obligation to myself to try to put one out every chance I get.
It’s habit, and habits mean momentum.
Momentum in any creative pursuit is a powerful, powerful thing.
I don’t want to put myself on a high horse here. I’m not doing anything that can’t be done by anyone else through the mighty ingredients of time and effort. Hell, if you spend any time looking at drum videos on Instagram, mine are mostly chump change – a drop in the bucket, overshadowed by the musical mastery displayed on that platform every single day.
Still though, for the people around me… For the people on my Facebook friends list… For the people that have taken the time to give me positive feedback or say that it shows dedication to the craft…
That’s that good shit.
I’d be playing anyway. I’ve figured that out about myself – that I love this instrument, the sounds, the endless sense of pursuit that it gives me…
But not everybody has that. Whether they have a hobby they love, but don’t dedicate themselves to, or worse, are adrift in the limbo of “haven’t found their passion,” maybe by sharing mine, I can help them see that 15 minutes of lunch break is well worth it.
And it IS worth it… Before work, after work, during lunch, whatever slivers of time you may have. If I can show people that I love this drumming thing so much, I’d rather rush home to do it on my lunch break than watch YouTube or just sit and relax, then I can show them the value of pursuit, of passion.
Maybe I’m way off base, and putting too much value on my neurotic approach and ever-growing love for this instrument… Still though, part of the point is to show people that they CAN find the time to chase something they’re excited about, even if it’s just 10 minutes at a time.
If you get anything out of them, please let me know. Just as with the writings here (which I’m ultimately doing for myself): if anyone gets some insight, some inspiration, or even just a little bit of entertainment out of something I make, I am honored and humbled and all the more enthusiastic about doing more.
What can you fit into your lunch break?