Authentic Expression as Primary Intention

Enso – A popular expression in Zen painting, enso is a Japanese word signifying a circle. While the word has no single, fixed meaning, the expressive, brush ink circle symbolizes a moment when the mind is free enough to simply let the body create.


As drummers we are a subset of something much larger. What’s the next step up the ladder, well being a musician – musicians too, are of course part of something bigger – the larger class of performers. But ultimately we are all just human beings.

One of the core needs we all have as human beings is to express ourselves authentically – meaning expressing what is really inside of us with the outside world and not what we think other people expect of us. This is a very important point to remember so I’ll repeat it again:

Authentic self expression means expressing what is really inside of us with the outside world and not what we think other people expect of us!

Since the dawning of known history, we human beings have had the need to express ourselves at every stage of our development. All the way from the earliest cave paintings to status updates on social networks – they all serve the same purpose: to express what is within us and have it connect with other human beings in the outside world. And who is aware of this need more than performers?!

Think of all the great artists who have inspired you over the years. The thing they most likely have in common is that they were all able to share with you their unique take on something in an authentic manner. They expressed themselves authentically.

PIcasso at his home studio.

Now there are many ways to express ourselves – there is art, literature – even how we dress ourselves can be a means of expression. But drumming has a very unique place in our expressive development. Just think about it, even before there was language, you can easily imagine our ancestors banging a big bone on the ground to express to potential enemies that they were not welcome. And a little further along the line, the first shamans and medicine men discovered the potential of using repetitive rhythms on their drums to induce higher states of consciousness within themselves and other tribal members. This all goes back tens of thousands of years. What a long time that drumming has been a part of the human experience!

Shaman with drum.

So, learning authentic self expression through drumming is something that resonates within us all, not only on a very deep psychological level but also on a physiological level. The best part is, the insights you will gain from learning to express yourself authentically on drums, can easily be applied to many other fields as we shall see later.