I have learned one thing this week: my ability to not go ballistic when working with small children is better than I had previously thought. That being said, I am tired. Very tired. I only really worked with the older kids, who in theory are better behaved. But still, they’re just kids. Somehow “Sit down and don’t talk” mean very different things to a 6-year-old and an 18-year-old.
For anyone not familiar with We Got the Beat, here’s some info. The basic rundown: We Got the Beat is a Fresno-based youth percussion performance group focused on getting young kids playing a wide variety of percussion instruments, from keyboards, to drum set, to Afro-Cuban and Brazilian instruments. Without a doubt, We Got the Beat was the foundation for me to be where I am today. Through the group and the connections I made, I met my first percussion teachers and got my first instruments.
Those connections only led to more opportunities. But ultimately, I have We Got the Beat to thank for my ear for and my enjoyment of music. Without the group, I wouldn’t have a love for Jazz, nor would I find marimba to be so fascinating.
I came to a profound realization, though, being at camp this particular year. I’ve become so wrapped up in my studies of minutia in performance, that I nearly forgot something We Got the Beat taught me, to enjoy playing. What I like most about We Got the Beat is that everyone who joins the group enjoys doing what they do. They have fun playing music, and get to see just how much fun is possible.
When it’s over for these kids, some never go on to do much with the technical aspects of playing that they learned. Some leave music altogether. Others of us branch out and find what we truly love about playing and pursue it deeper and deeper. Now that I’ve delved into a pretty deep hole for myself, it’s both comforting and exciting to remember where I started.