E.g. there is a particular slap which I was not getting on the drum. Peter explained it to me as a whip-like motion of the hand on the skin, but also told me to envision this: "Imagine you are slapping your hand to catch a fly on the drum skin". That enabled me to get the slap and, with practice, I will really get it.
Yesterday he also made me close my eyes and every time he clapped his hand, I had to open them and there would be a new image before me. These images depicted either different moods or things. I had to spontaneously play what I was seeing before me. This was and interesting process. No time to think, just feel and respond.
Drumming really is like life. There are things I was learning in the class that I easily related back to life itself. Things like strength, purpose, follow-through, etc.
Basically, what I appreciated about this experience was not only its visual and creative approach, but the fact that it was not a matter of "This is how it is done, so do it this way." There was no formality and rigidity. I was given a structure and allowed to play and self-express within that structure. Once you know the proper techniques, the rest is up to you, the individual ... to just be you and express through the drum in whatever way you feel moved to. I now really understand how a drum can talk. It will take deep connection and practice.
Peter also told me that for all his years of drumming and instruction, I am by far the best learner he has ever come across and that I must keep at it. :)
Next week there'll be one more class where he'll teach me some traditional rhythms like Bele, stickfighting, Orisha, etc. After that I will seek other drummers and jam with them. Everyone will have their own way and their own 'tricks of the trade' to pass on.