Your Bass Drum: Listening for What’s Important
For most of us, music is an inspiration. Ask us where we feel closest to God or most centered and so often music is at the top of our list. Music takes us somewhere else. It puts us physically and emotionally in moments of the past, gives us hope for the future, and causes us to be present like few other things can. But saying it’s just music is slightly lazy. I’m a guitarist, but that’s not what centers me in music. If you ask me to deconstruct what it is about music that really is my foundation, it’s the bass drum. I fully understand that it takes every voice, guitar, and keyboard to make it all work together but it’s that drum that centers me. I had a chance to hear my coauthor, JD Landers play drums and hear him express how free and centered he feels when he plays. Our conversation reminded me of one of my favorite drummers, J.P. Denham. When I had a chance to play with him in a band and to adjust the mix in my ears, I would always turn up JP There’s something about the sound of a bass drum that provides the foundation for everything else I hear. While I follow guitars, my heart lands in the hollows of the big empty space called the bass drum. But more than that, when I used to watch J.P. play while sitting in an audience, it was the combination of my natural draw toward the drums and the moments of watching him express his gift and his nearness to God that always brought me closer to something important.
We just realized in writing this that JD and J.P. have something more in common than just letters for first names that include J, they each gave me a gift. When I heard JD play, he mentioned that he plays for himself, and I told him that when he played he gave me something that centers me, and I told him about my buddy JP. It wasn’t just any drum, it was JD playing the drums.
What’s your bass drum? If you took a moment to separate the guitars, voices, keyboards, brass, strings and drums, what is the individual expression of sound that centers you? Who are the people that give you a gift through that piece of a larger composition? We are all driven forward by something. And for some of us, it’s the whole band. But, for the deconstructing few of us, there is something specific that helps us see ourselves better, makes us aware of how our passions are gifts to others, and ultimately brings us closer to the Creator of the melody, the harmony, the rhythm, and the bass drum.
– Rob McKenna & JD Landers