Play Your Drum!

The “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 that it is the only one that truly moves me.  Always has…always will.  The idea of a young boy, too poor to afford a fitting gift for the “new born king”, attempting to honor him with that which he does have 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 that others have brought, but he has something better…he can offer the gift of his unique strengths and talents and that which makes him truly special.  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, because when one is engaged in pursuing one’s passion and offering the very personal gift of doing what one does best, the power is undeniable and clear to all.

Isn’t that what it’s 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 that you can’t control and make sure that you are playing your drum to the best of your abilities and with all of the passion, enthusiasm, and heart that you can muster.  Nothing else really matters.  There is no finer gift or higher honor that you can offer to the world than to find out what your “drum” is and then play it for all it’s worth.

Happy Holidays!

Dave Burgess

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

3 thoughts on “Play Your Drum!

  1. This really brought tears to my eyes Dave… I am so incredibly INCREDIBLY proud of the teacher you have become…. and to think it was all because of me. HA! IN MY DREAMS! YOU took everything good I- or any other teacher you have ever seen- and put it all together- added your own incredible strength and talents and have become a teacher that now sets the bar VERY high for others.
    As I read your words I can’t help but think of all of the students you and I shared who have little to give EXCEPT- they have ONE talent in something… and our job was to uncover that talent. Lots of our students came in hating the classroom because no one respected them because all they could do was “drum”.
    I am looking for a violin teacher for one of my granddaughters right now and in going online looking for music teachers I found Tim Staump. Do you remember him? Not much of an academic student, loud, ADHD times 10, could not cut it in many regular classes… but boy could he DRUM! So… 10+ years later… there is his website… married- running his OWN music studio… TEACHING DRUMMING!! Great pictures of kids smiling, drumming on trashcans- having the time of their lives.
    I was reading the paper the other day and they printed the list of the students who were athletes and top academic at their school. Every year I read the list and think .. who ARE these guys! You and I never had these students but the students we had… do we have some memories!
    It makes me sad that I will no longer be in the classroom- sadder than you can possibly imagine- but I am now working on what will be my next “drum”. I have 8 little grandkids who I will be drumming for like crazy. I have my mom with Alzheimers who I pull together all the strength I have to “drum” for her. I am “drumming” now for breast cancer. Just like the kids we have had… I am looking for my drum and will, as you say, DRUM LIKE CRAZY!
    Congratulations to you for all you have done and will be doing to help others find their drum!
    Much, much admiration!!

  2. Thanks for that comment, Melinda…you nailed it for sure. Too cool that your example of one of our students finding their drum actually is, literally, a drummer! You were, indeed, the perfect master teacher for me since you encouraged and allowed me to find my own voice in the classroom. I will always be grateful for your influence in my development as a teacher and, more importantly, as a person. You will be sorely missed at West Hills by all of us but especially the students who won’t get a chance to start their HS careers with you. I know it is the best decision for you, though, and that you have big things ahead. Play on!!

  3. truly touching Dave. i love that song too and love to play it on the piano. the piano is my “drum” as you say but i can also play the real drums. lol. i’ve played piano for 12 years now and it never lets me down. I want to wish you the merriest of Christmases this year. May the hearts you have warmed over your years of teaching and social interaction find their way back to you to in turn warm your heart right back.We love you Dave Burgess. In writing i can call you dave, but i will always address you in person as Mr. B. splittin wigs now and forever, Scott.

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