Play Your Drum in 2017

z2eocqbm-jpg-largeHonestly, New Year’s Resolutions have rarely been effective for me. In similar fashion, although the “one word” concept has been effective for some…for me, not so much. I have always tried to tune into what is bringing me positive energy. What is it that when I’m doing it, it doesn’t feel like work. That activity or project that I can’t wait to clear away all of the must-do items on my list so I can finally get to THIS. That’s what I look for and try to follow. The wonderful intersection of something you love doing, you are amazing at, and that makes a powerful impact on the world. I call it your drum.

I rarely put excerpts from Teach Like a Pirate out publicly, but I’m making an exception for this. I last posted it in 2011 and it still rings true to me. No matter what you may be celebrating this holiday season, I wish you success and happiness. Go find your drum.

Play Your Drum

Little Drummer Boy has been my favorite Christmas Carol for as long as I can remember.  Of all of the holiday songs, I can honestly say it is the only one that truly moves me.  The idea of a young boy, too poor to afford a fitting gift for the “new born king,” attempting to honor him with what he does is a great lesson for all of us.  We spend too much time stressing out and concerning ourselves with what is absent in our lives, and not enough time focusing on what really matters.

The drummer boy may not be able to afford the expensive and fancy gifts, but he has something better; he can offer the gift of his unique strengths and talents. He has no material gift to offer but what he can do is play his drum like no one else is capable of playing it. And so he does.  The fact that his play is met by approval and acceptance from Mary and the animals is certainly of no surprise. After all, when one is engaged in pursuing one’s passion and offering the very personal gift of doing what he does best, the power is undeniable and clear to all.

Isn’t that what life is really all about?  We all have to find our own personal “drum” and then play it the best we can.  For me, I never feel more truly alive than when I’m standing in front of a class of students or a seminar room full of teachers.  That’s my drum I’m playing up there and I’m going to play the heck out of it.  The line, “I played my best for him,” is a call to arms and a challenge to meet.  Forget about all of things you can’t control and play your drum to the best of your abilities. Play with all of the passion, enthusiasm, and heart you can muster.  Nothing else really matters. You can offer no finer gift or higher honor to the world than to find out what your “drum” is and then play it for all it’s worth.

My best to you in 2017. May you find your drum and play the heck out of it!

I’m embedding 3 versions of the song for you. The first was made by Sean Quigley in 2011, a then 16 yr old  high school student from Winnipeg. I know my Canadian friends will especially enjoy the video (Thanks to Annick Rauch for sharing!). The second is a version by Jars of Clay (Thanks, John Berray). The last is an acapella version by the Pentatonix.

Let me know your favorite version in the comments or feel free to add a link to your favorite!



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

23 thoughts on “Play Your Drum in 2017

  1. An inspiring post with my kind of beat! Tuning into the beat of the positive as I play with Vince Guaraldi in his rendition entitled: “My Little Drum.” Happy Holidays! Thinking of my One Word and One Song for 2017!

    • Thanks, Sean! #CelebrateMonday is you playing your drum and inspiring others to play right along with you!

  2. Happy Holidays! My choice is Pentatonix! Your message is powerful not only for educators, but also for those challenged with finding and living out purposeful lives. Clouded by the idea of success and what it should look like, the notion of one’s passion and talents get smudged by living in the shadow for fear of acceptance. Giving your best YOU, each and every day, with the hope of making the day a bit better for someone than the day before, is the best each of us can do!
    Take care.

  3. This post brought me to tears! Thanks for playing your drum so passionately! You have helped me find mine and given me the courage to play! So grateful! Love all the renditions, but Pentatonix is my fav! Merry Christmas!

  4. Little Drummer Boy has always been my favorite Carol for the same reason. I have it on DVD but I try to catch it on TV when it’s on. I think this a great story for our kids. Thanks for sharing this. Have a nice holiday!

  5. I love the first video because of the snow on the drums as well as the different places that the video takes you. His looking into the camera while singing was a plus too. He had on shorts in the snow…that’s like the kids. 😊 I also love how he ended with just the snare.

    Jars of Clay always is a favorite but I’d prefer more visual on the video. They have a beautiful quality of sound.

    Pentatonix is my favorite. You can’t beat their unique blends of harmony and the fact that they make their own music with just their voices. They are dynamic! Thank you for sharing!

  6. I liked all versions, but my favorite was the Pentatonix. The fact that it was acapella but sounded as if there was a musical accompaniment and then the harmony….just wow!!

    I agree with your thoughts about finding and playing our own personal drum. I’ll definitely be paying more attention to my drumming.

    Thanks and happy drumming!!

  7. I enjoyed all the videos and your comments. Excellent reminder as we head into the new year! I hope all my students find their “drums”. Merry Christmas to all!

  8. What great talent! I really enjoyed listening and watching these videos. Glad they chose to share their gifts and so glad to have people in education to share theirs as well! What great joy our gifts can give! Happy holidays.

  9. I love Pentatonix, there voices are absolutely beautiful. The video of Sean Quigley is fun to watch those as I sit here in snow and ice with 15 degree weather.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    I am going to find my drum this year.

  10. When I was 4, my aunt who was with her Army husband stationed out of state, sent us The Little Drummer Boy album (vinyl!) for Christmas and that album, and song, have been among my best Christmas memories. I love the Pentatonix version. In fact, when I heard the end of it on the radio early in the season, I didn’t have time to ask “OK Google” to tell me what song was playing so I could learn the artist. So later, when I wasn’t driving, I did some searching and found it. Thanks for sharing, Dave. And although I am a few days late in responding, I appreciated your post very much.

  11. Excellent post, Captain Dave!!! I’ll ALWAYS play my best for my teacher candidates. 🙂 The vote on the video songs…my hubby likes the first one (Sean Quigley’s) and I LOVE Pentatonix! 🙂 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!!

  12. Thank you for sharing this post! I loved the different versions but I have to vote for the first one just because of the sheer joy and passion expressed while drumming! Musically, my favorite was Pentatonix although Sean shared a pretty great version too.

  13. Thanks for giving me some inspiration to think and find my drum. I do have to say that I love a good Acapella group too.

  14. The third one brought tears and goosebumps. Loved it! Even though the holidays are over it is nice to see this.

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