I have always approached playing music with a lot of passion. Much of my professional life has been spent learning how to transform my approach toward playing so that I do it with more ease. I’ve also had to refine my playing, learning to play with good timing, technical control and knowledge of different musical styles.
Most often, I find my expression as a musician playing in live settings, either accompanying dance classes or playing in bands. I’m at my best when I get positive feedback from my colleagues or the people I’m playing for. I probably rely too on this interaction for motivation, and I’m learning to look past it. Instead, I try to stay within myself and focus on the stream of musical ideas that come to me as I play.
My ultimate mission is to create music that brings people closer to their souls and to open my heart so widely that my audience can connect to it. It’s not just about creating a moving experience for people, it’s about helping them to discover their own passion.
Opportunities. As a dance accompanist, I create music five days a week. Playing in bands, I perform almost every week. The avenue that I rarely explore is composing and recording my own music, but would there be an audience for it or a financial return? Who is my audience? Do I even need to think about that? Am I that naïve? I would certainly have to answer some questions as I embark on such an endeavor.
I’ll be exploring these questions and other aspects of playing music in upcoming posts.
Today I’m beginning a project where I post on this site each week.
Post no. 1 is a video of me playing a very slowly on the drum set. It’s not terribly exciting, but sometimes there’s beauty in simplicity.
It’s been a busy year so far. Classes at Point Park University, where I accompany dance, began on January 7. I entered into a program called “Training in Uncertainty.” And as usual, I’ve been playing gigs, teaching drum lessons (I added one new student so far this year) and playing for creative movement classes for kindergartners and first and second graders. I have also maintained some good habits this year, which include attending three to five CrossFit classes every week, daily drum practice and meditating as much as possible. Keep on truckin’.
Dr. Zoot’s performance for the Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BW9eH58GJU
There’s a one hour swing dance class at the beginning of the clip, so you’ll have to fast-forward to get to the performance.
I’m writing this post in response to a one-word prompt generated on the WordPress homepage. The word is “Bubble.”
Sometimes I feel that I live just on the edge of a bubble, maybe with part of me outside the bubble and part of me inside of it. What I mean by this is that sometimes I feel like I’m in touch with things that are going on in the world, in the news, in pop culture and in current thinking in general. But on the other hand, there are times when I feel completely out of the loop and in my own world.
To be in the know, or now, takes an incredible amount of time and energy. You have to scan the headlines each day, watch your favorite news service and hopefully discuss theses things as you interact with your partners, friends, colleagues and other random people you encounter on a daily basis. It’s actually very healthy to do because it make you engage – to inquire and respond – with others with the hopes that can offer different perspectives or help you reinforce how you feel about different topics.
It’s also good to self-reflect and look inside and explore your own feelings. By looking at your own experiences and beliefs you cab formulate stronger ideas and better respond to things.
Finally, regarding the word “bubble,” I have a good friend who is a professional bubbler. He used to do comedy juggling, but now most of his work is provided various types and quantities of bubbles for different kinds of activities.
The Zoot Quartet performs at Rumors Bar and Grill from 9 to 12.
I've working on the speed of my single strokes lately by doing the "Singles Pyramid" which I learned from #HueyYanPan via his Periscope broadcasts. I began playing at 86 b.p.m.s a week or so ago, now I'm up to 92 b.p.m.
My goal is 100! Thanks Huei!
Check out his Twitter posts @hueiyanpan.
I’m thinking what would drummers, or people who are interested in drumming like to see on my website.
I could put up performance videos like this one:Lecture Recital performance which is from a lecture recital on Dunumba I presented this past fall. Or, would they rather see educational demonstrations such as this video:Basic Strokes: 8s, 4s, doubles, singles and paradiddles. Or, I could put up my trasnscription of a djembe solo by Gbanworo Keïta from “Dounoumbe” on Percussions de Guinée vol.1.
I’m interested in your comments.
Thank you for reading.
Drummers from left to right: Keith Moone, Mito Camara, PJ Roduta, Dan Meunier and (me) Gordon Nunn.
Photo taken following my DMA lecture recital on November 16, 2016 in Bloch Recital Hall at West Virginia University: Dunumba in Three Contexts.