How I Define Calmness; How I Became Calm.

Calm, peaceful, and poised. Many of us struggle to remain relaxed in stressful situations. Our minds go in thousands of directions until we get to the point where we cannot stay calm, peaceful, and poised. To keep yourself calm, you must practice replacing negative thoughts with emotions geared towards creating positive outcomes. Simply, look for the silver lining. As a student at HIS, I have struggled to keep myself calm as a drummer for the jazz band,  the slow pace of progress has made me agitated at times. With the experience of me not being calm, I’ve developed a way to keep internal peace while maintaining high-paced growth.

It was a big day for me. A day that I was waiting for. It wasn't a day that I dreaded. It was a day that I worked so hard for. Performance. I was about to perform in front of the audience. As I sit in front of my instrument, I am mentally prepared for the performance. I know that I am ready. As the performance goes, I played my role perfectly: hit all the beats, every audience was into the performance. There were no mistakes, all perfect.  But not everything goes the way people want. Just when the song moved towards the climax, I did exactly the thing I feared: I dropped my drumstick. This was one of the worst mistakes that I have ever made in a music-related performance. However, I stayed calm. I didn't throw the other stick towards the ground in frustration. But why was I so calm? You see, even though I feared this moment, I was prepared for it—I kept my spare stick on the bass drum in case I dropped one. So, after I dropped the stick I tried to keep the beat with my hand while I got hold of the spare. I must admit, that I did panic a little, but I tried to keep the beat going so I wouldn’t ruin the performance. When I  think about it now, I see a lot of growth in that small moment. I was able to keep calm during the performance and had a backup plan just in case... I was able to keep myself calm because I was prepared.

 Let me tell you the background of my story. My family members are talented. My brother plays the guitar and was a teacher assistant for Ms. Sugino, our school’s music teacher. So with my older brother’s influence, I started playing music as well—not the guitar, but the drums. Drums are the easiest to learn and the hardest to master. When I started playing drums, it was very easy. However, as I learned a harder song, it became more difficult than I thought it would be. Even now, there are times when I see my progress stagnate and it can be frustrating. In these moments, when progress feels impossible, I find myself struggling to keep calm as I usually do. And as I learn a harder piece, my progress slows, which is agitating. If I mess up the drum part, that means the beat of the music gets messed up. This leads to problems in performance. I know this, and I know how important the drum part is for the band. Fortunately, from my experience above, I was able to learn from my mistake because I was prepared, calm, peaceful, and poised. So as I practice an extra difficult piece, I bring my mind back to that key moment, remembering the positive results, and practice and practice to build my skills so that I will be capable of playing my key part competently in future performance, free from anxiety. 

I wasn’t the most successful in keeping calm, peaceful, poise. But as I took the time to think about calmness, I understood the meaning of calmness. I’ve started to prepare for an unpredicted? The event that will happen. Trying to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Like the drum stick. With this experience, I developed my meaning of “Calmness”. Calmness “paying attention to what is happening without worrying about yourself.” Now, let me ask you a question.

How do you define “calm”? And what will you do to stay composed?