Occupation: Professional Drummer w/ •ITO•; Yoga Alliance Certified E-RYT 500 and YACEP, Ashtanga Yoga Instructor and Yoga Anatomy Teacher; Trager International Certified Psychophysical Integration Instructor and Practitioner
Instagram: @ yoga4drummers
Facebook: @ yoga4drummers; @pangea-yoga; @Michael Lear
1. How Did You Get Your Start In The Art of Drumming?
A mother’s love or fear or both perhaps. I started with guitar at age 10. My energy level was too high for the Mel Bay method to take hold and I opted for Kung Fu. My brother took up the guitar and still plays professionally to this day. Kung Fu was cool but motorcycles were even better. When I eventually asked my mom for a larger one, she said, “Honey, why don’t you play drums?” Three years later, I sold my old motorcycle to get a better drum set, one of TAMA’s first - 1979. The rest is history.
2. What Three Traits Define You?
3. How Do You Define Success?
Success is being able to flow with the challenges of life while having a set-point of self-empowered happiness and being able to share that happiness with others, to lend what support to others that I can along the way. It’s finding personal alignment, resonance, and harmony-- one’s true-north, which drives authentic choices, maintains personal integrity and facilitates personal actualization. Having fulfillment in life means finding it anew each day with gratitude for what is, as it is in that moment and then continuing to learn, adapt, and grow even more from there.
4. How Does Health Play a Role in Your Success?
Good health has afforded me the energy and stamina to follow through on my motivations with clarity, enthusiasm, flexibility, and focus. A drummer communicates his feeling state when he plays. With focus and enthusiasm, the drummer brings his audience along to feel the boost, the vitality, the energy, the joy. We can’t give what we don’t have. I can’t give you a pink elephant if I don’t have one. I can’t share high-vibes, happiness, joy, peace, and harmony unless I possess them.
Aches, pains, and exhaustion are limiting, distracting and often disabling. I’m so grateful for my good health that helping others to achieve and maintain good health became a profession for me. Good self-care practices followed routinely become self-perpetuating and they deliver rewards year after year. Think Mango Tree - once planted and nurtured, it keeps giving you sweet fruit over its lifetime without the need for 24/7 care required at the start.
5. What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?
Perhaps just being a good human, son, brother, community member, earthling. I’d love to have been part of the evolution of drummer self-care as being the single most important activity they (or anyone) could undertake. A drummer is likely the most potent of community members anywhere, able to convey and encourage kindness, joy, peace, exhilaration and so much more. To communicate these feelings, we have to cultivate them within ourselves first, as with mindfulness and self-care activities.
The self-gratitude, self-compassion and, deep personal understanding developed through such practices as yoga and meditation is well understood and scientifically validated. Coupled with the similar neurological effects and benefits of drumming itself, a well cared for drummer becomes a resonant force of nature that can share so much with others.
Drummers lead. That’s what drummers do. In a leadership lecture I heard recently, the speaker said, and I wholeheartedly agreed, that leadership ‘boils down to two tenets. It’s not about you and it’s only about you. To be a leader at whatever level you choose, you must learn how to serve, but without being self-sacrificing. So it’s not about you and using the position for personal gain. On the other hand, leading by example is the most powerful way to guide others. As we excel not just professionally, but also personally, emotionally, with over-all wellness and such, we serve as a model to inspire others.’ If just 5% of the present drumming community were to take on the commitment of self-care, that would raise the bar for everyone.
6. If You Had One Message To Give to Others, What Would it Be?
‘Let time ripen it.’ This was Buddha’s counsel to aspiring monks who wanted to achieve enlightenment quickly. Like straw fires, they would burn brightly but would be soon burned out. To temper their drive so that they would achieve lasting success, Buddha advised them to ‘let time ripen it’. Tend to the crop of your dreams with commitment, continuity of practice, self-gratitude for showing up each day, trusting the process, and let nature take its course.