Imagine yourself in a vast open space. Laid out before you there is an endless selection of percussion instruments. Snare drums, bass drums, bongo drums, conga drums, kettle drums, cymbals, triangles and gongs. Beyond this is a group of people with the means to bring about your every wish and your greatest ambition. All you need to do is make enough noise.
Maybe you should pick the giant drum? That’ll be loud, yes? Ok, but what if it’s hard to bang? Maybe you’ll run out of steam. No? Maybe try a small, colourful drum and really go to town. Hrm. That might not sound so good. Ok, ok, how about a classic jazz drum?! No, wait! No one likes jazz anymore. Stupid idea. Rock! Everyone likes rock! Let’s go with the rock drum. People are checking Snapchat. Some have been distracted by an augmented reality experience. How about the African drum? Uniqueness – check! Diversity – check! But can you pull off an ethnocentric vibe? You don’t want to come across as some sort of cultural appropriation type.
We’re losing them!
Ok, let’s think outside the box. Forget drums! Let’s create a sound no one has ever heard in the history of the world ever! Let’s give them the Hornucopian dronepipe! (An entirely 3D-printed instrument that includes a two-string piezoelectric violin, one-string piezoelectric monovioloncello and a small didgeridoo). This is genius!
How do you play the Hornucopian dronepipe? The crowd is thinning. You are watching YouTube tutorials on dronepipe fingerwork. Screw this! New idea! We’ve got hands and feet! Can you say bongos and bass drum together? No one has ever thought of this before!
This is it!
Make a call. No messing around. Kinda hard to keep a rhythm, but let’s go with it. Three people seem interested. It’s a start. Hard to keep time. Maybe we should quit the whole bass drum thing? No one seems to like it anyway. Getting late. The crowd is pretty small now.
You’ve just realized the bongo’s kinda suck.
Making a noise is non-negotiable, but when we become over-influenced, we risk becoming paralyzed by choice. It’s easy to get distracted by the scale of the crowd and the tools available to us, but in our search for perfection, we must weigh the consequences of silence. With this in mind, consistency is better than volume. Persistence beats uniqueness and authenticity trumps creativity. Play for yourself, play for love, and you’ll play forever. The ones who get it, will hear it.
Which drum should you pick? The one you want to bang. End of story.