There is a difference between performing from the heart and performing for a crowd.
I have known this for many years, but it’s funny how sometimes it becomes so obvious when two people are on the same stage.
The school I am working at recently had a couple who plays the drums come to do an assembly. They were a husband and wife duo.
The woman was in charge of speaking to the crowd and the man was more the audience connection.
There came a point in the presentation when they were getting ready to call some of the students forward to play the drums. Before they could do this, they had to let the students know what they would be able to do and definitely what not to do.
The woman was speaking to the kids, and at the same time, the man was acting out what she was saying. The difference was obvious at the point that she was giving a performance for the crowd, and doing a fine job, too.
When I began watching him I was struck by a whole different feeling.
He was basically doing the same things that she was doing, except he was using movements instead of words. Somehow the message was so much more engaging.
I assumed it was because I am, by nature, a more kinesthetic person so I was more interested, but it was something more than that.
There was a passion that just oozed out of every pore in his body.
He was in the moment and doing what he clearly loved to do. He was 100% present and absolutely in love with what he was doing.
While both were giving a great performance that was fun to watch and be a part of, there was a connection that was almost unbreakable with this man.
As I looked around, it became clear to me that others were captured by the same feeling. They were all locked on to him and some were even moving with him.
He loved his job, he loved playing the drums, he loved making connections with people.
It was very apparent. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him for the rest of the show.
While the woman was easily as good at playing the drums, she was performing to a crowd, but somehow that passion just didn’t come through. She was precise, and man did she make it look fun, but it was very technical in nature.
He, on the other hand, was a drum party on legs. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
When the performance was over, I had a few minutes before I was going to see my students. I just sat and watched as the performers cleaned and packed up.
There was such amazing care as he was putting his equipment away, while she stood with the principal and talked about the performance and the group of kids.
His love for his music shone through like the sun, even in the act of packing up.
Upon reflection, I realized what it was that caused me to be so wrapped up in his performance.
It was the fact that he was present for every beat of that show, he was connected to the humanity of the experience and he let his passion for his music be his guide the entire time.
You could almost see him breathe life into the drums, just breathe his very soul into what he was playing.
THAT was the difference.
That was what made him so inspiring to watch.
He was alive and every cell was fully awake and dedicated to the task at hand.
That energy just filled the whole room.
This whole experience got me thinking about how I interact with my surroundings on a daily basis. The old adage that says if you are doing what you love you will never work a day in your life came to mind (I am relatively sure this drummer man has not worked a single day since he started doing this job).
Sometimes seeing someone go about their daily life with so much fervor, doing what they were born to do and enjoying every single second makes you reach deep down for the passion inside of you too.
It makes you truly feel the desire to perform your work with everything in you, to be someone else’s inspiration to find the fire in their belly.
It causes you to look past the performance for the audience and just perform from the heart and touch the audiences’ souls instead.