As a drummer / percussionist the mastery of time is more important than even the instrument itself. My instructor would place a metronome in front of me and ask me to clap my hands to the beep. If he could hear any part of the beep through my clap, I failed.
The expectation was that I must mask every beep entirely at any tempo – indefinitely and seemingly without effort. The truism is that if the instructor could not hear the beep, then neither could I. True mastery of time means that the metronome must become irrelevant.
I struggled with this challenge for an incredible amount of hours over many many months practicing this seemingly simple exercise. One day, my instructor said “it’s not about knowing where the beep is, it is about creating the space where the beep is not”. In other words: understand the space between the beeps – the emptiness, the void, the silence – and let that become the basis of your musical expression.
From then on – I could nail the beep.
When we listen to music, we derive value from the transformation of one beat to the next and the transformation of one bar to the next, one phrase to the next, and one section to the next, etc. Value is what gets created between our actions – but without actions, there is nothing to contain that value.
Social currencies resemble this dynamic in many ways. While money marks the metronome’s beep, the creative expression happens somewhere between the money – the emptiness, the void, the silence. Let this become the basis of human economic expression, not the beep itself. Value is what gets created between our actions – let’s capture it there. The true mastery of time means that the metronome must become irrelevant.