The Best Student: Rhythm

Hello friends! This week marks for several students (including this author) the return to classes. In my case, I'm in a two week long intensive class which will leave me very little time to blog. And so I've set up these auto-entries to explore what it looks like to bring your A game to your work in the classroom. This week is all about being the best student!

The video you see above is an example of the work of who I believe to be one of (if not the) greatest drummer of all time. When I was growing up and learning how to play the drums, Carter Beaufort is who I looked to as a hero. I would spend hours in the basement with CDs (remember those) blasting through my sound system while I tried to mimic what Carter was capable on the drums. Mimic was the best I could hope for in that situation. The man is blessed with talent that few possess. 

And yet for all the complex and impressive the drum solo above is, Carter Beaufort and I would both admit to the same thing. Underneath all the flash and hype and lights and speed and sound, lies a basic element. Simple rhythms are pieced together in rapid succession to create the work of art you see above. Again, don't get me wrong, this is impressive. I could spend years breaking down this one solo and never be able to play it exactly as it is presented here. But beneath it all is the blueprint of rhythm. 

I don't know about you, but when I'm focused in on being a student, I find I do the best when I get to be in a sort of rhythm about the disciplines of school. I do best when I study at particular times, in particular places, with particular surroundings. I do best when I get myself into a schedule, a repeating of days events in an ordered and disciplined way. I do best when my notes are all arranged them same way from class to class, so that it's easier to find what I'm looking for when I need it. In other words, I find myself a rhythm. 

I can only write about this (and most of the other topics you'll surely discover these next two weeks) because I know what it's like to operate on the outside of rhythm in an academic setting. I know what it's like to haphazardly fall through a study schedule. I know what it's like to let the pressing needs of important things in my life drown out the constant needs of my studies. I know what it's like to be disorganized, to not be able to find where I put that stupid note to save my soul! I know what it's like to live on the outside of rhythm academically. It is not pretty. 

As we're gearing up for another year at school, what is your rhythm? What are the building blocks for your academic success? Perhaps finding your rhythm means sitting down with a calendar, and defining when study hours are going to be and keeping them as if they're an appointment with a good friend. Perhaps finding your rhythm means cleaning out a study space in your world, a place that is reserved for learning and learning alone. It can even be as simple as a wardrobe. When I am closing in on finals, I only ever wear my National Youth Workers Convention hoodie from a few years back. I don't know why, but that hoodie only shows up when I'm deep in studies. Go figure. 

We have countless tools and technologies that can help us find our rhythm. But from one techno geek to another, please remember that these tools can help us find our rhythm, but they are not our rhythm in and of themselves. A metronome is a drummers best friend. But no one would ever start a drum solo by turning on the metronome and walking off the stage. You need to use the tool properly. 

And we also need to remember that in this particular post, we're talking about the means and not the ends. Finding rhythm for the sake of finding rhythm doesn't make you a talented student. Carter Beaufort could have come out and played all the rudiments (building blocks of rhythm for percussionists) he knows and it still would not have been a very interesting solo. No, rhythm is merely step one. Step two is finding your creativity...