The Sound of Noise and Silence

The Sound of Noise and Silence

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence – Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata” (Desired Things)

Creativity is birthed in the chaos of noise and the silence of meditation.

As a drummer, I love sounds. Four limbs working together in synchronous co-ordination to create a pattern whether it’s a beat, groove or fill.

I create by reading the chart and playing the pattern.

But sometimes I forget something. I forget about the spaces between the notes, the gaps and silences. It is as important to understand the correct notes to play as it is to understand the silences between the notes.

It doesn’t matter if the tempo is slow or fast; if the beat is simple or complex, the gaps and silences are just as important. I am conscious of the silent movement of my hands and feet before they create a sound.

Noise in Creative Production

I can create out of the noise and I can create out of the silence.

Noise is the default creative setting: white noise, background noise, conversational noise. However, it’s where ideas are birthed and generated. The noise in the to and fro of conversation and found in the noise of information I sift through in my tweet stream.

As a drummer, I love sounds. Out of the noise something musical is created.

Silence in Creative Production

As a creative person I also need silence. I sit behind my drum kit and visualise the movements of my hands and feet, imagining the sounds I create when I strike a drum or cymbal and the pattern I am creating. In a similar way the sportsperson visualises the perfect throw, pass, stroke, movement in silence.

For writers, musicians, artists, dancers, filmmakers, there is a need for silence.

Silence is not a state of nothingness.

Silence is a state of meditation and mastication of ideas.

Silence requires time.

Silence requires patience.

Silence requires meditative focus.

Silence cannot be rushed.

Silence allows the mind to become still.

Silence brings introspection, clarity and solutions.

Silence restores strength and refreshment.

Silence is engaging with the moment as it is now.

As a writer, I need moments of silence to think through plot or characterisation, themes or symbolism, dialogue or description. I need moments of silence to compost ideas, turning them over in my mind like a koan.

Out of the silence and stillness comes creativity.

Find your place amongst the noise and the silence.


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