In my past life as a historian I wrote seven history books, co-produced one documentary film, and penned a dozen or so articles for history magazines and periodicals. My favorite historical figure to study was, and still is, Thomas Jefferson. I possess many books on T.J. in my collection and I have made multiple trips to his beloved Monticello, a mere two hours away. I am fascinated by Jefferson’s renaissance-like approach to life that made him a man of many talents and occupations. One aspect of Jefferson’s life that transcended all of these roles was his love for music. Music was a staple in the Jefferson household whether it was at home in Virginia or abroad. A musician himself, Jefferson had a diverse taste in music and referred to it as “the passion of his soul.” He also instructed his daughter to “Never neglect your music. It will be a companion which will sweeten many hours of life to you.” To improve the state of music in America, Jefferson encouraged its practice, and music played an important role in the life of his family through the generations. Nowadays as a music educator writing books about drums I must concur with Jefferson, even more so than before, of the importance of music and the inherent benefits of it. Music does not only provide us with pleasure, it can also improve our comprehension skills. It is equal parts art and science and it enriches our lives as Mr. Jefferson so duly noted. I often look at the drums as not just an instrument, but also as a teaching tool and concur that we should never neglect our music.
Here’s some of the Jefferson-related pieces that I penned some time ago: