Category Archives: Drums

Wish vs. Do

Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you’re prepared to do.

–Percy Cerutty
A view from my afternoon walk

Yesterday I walked – twice.  I also made cards.  I ended the day feeling relaxed and peaceful (even with the political storm swirling around).  I walk or run in the morning almost everyday, but yesterday I went longer than normal and, later, when the beautiful November afternoon beckoned, I didn’t look at my extensive To-Do list; I went outside.  Before my afternoon walk, I spent a few hours working on greeting cards I wanted to send out.  A couple of hours slipped by as I experimented with my cutting machine, selected papers, found quotes, glued and taped, but they were restorative hours that were thoroughly enjoyable.

During the twelve months of this 366 Somedays, I will have tried twelve activities I’ve always thought I wanted in my life.  I’ve discovered some of these activities simply don’t call to my heart as I thought they would – speaking Italian, for example.  Sure, I’d love to speak Italian, but not enough to put in the time to learn it.  Unfortunately, the same may be true for learning to play drums.  I’m not ready to cross that one off my list, but I’m getting close.

Yesterday, as I practiced a little self-care, I realized I really love walking and running, especially when I do them outdoors.  I also really love making cards and playing with paper.  It dawned on me that a benefit of this 366 Somedays process is I’m homing in on activities I truly love and am prepared to pursue as well as discovering which activities are simply wishful and probably need to fall by the wayside.  I want to spend my time pursuing those activities that leave me with the relaxed, peaceful feeling I experienced last night.  That feeling shouldn’t be reserved for days when I have made a concerted effort at self-care.  That feeling should be the norm and getting there requires letting some activities go in order to focus on others.

Pat Your Head and Rub Your Belly

Remember the childhood game of trying to pat your head with one hand while the other hand rubs your belly?  Pat, rub, pat, rub.  It’s hard!  Our brains don’t want our hands doing two different motions at the same time.  Now, add in both feet tapping at different beats.  It’s enough to put your brain into total flubbed mode.  Well, that’s how I feel playing the drums.  I might as well sit there patting my head and rubbing my belly.  It’s so hard!  The good news is, concentrating on patting your head and rubbing your belly is actually a good brain exercise to increase communication between the hemispheres of the brain.  And, guess what!  Drumming works our brains in the same way – accessing both sides at the same time.  So, while I feel like a fool trying to coordinate my hand and foot movements, I’m actually giving my brain a good workout and, perhaps, someday my brain will be strong enough to coordinate the movements into something rhythmically pleasing and y’all can start calling me Ringo.

Naiveté Redux

Every true genius is bound to be naïve.  –Friedrich Schiller

My drumming education has begun!  The weekend I played at Ladies Rock Camp eight years ago, our drumming education was simply learning a couple of beats which could then be added to a song.  I’m not critical of the experience at all; there simply wasn’t time for more than very basic instruction.  I expected my drum education now to be similar – learn various beats and how to add them to the other music.  Wrong!

My first lesson was on how to set-up my drums to fit my body.  My husband had set them up for me when we moved last summer, but there were definitely adjustments to be made and I’m still not sure I have everything entirely right.  I’ll work on additional adjustments as I begin to play.  Then there was a lesson on how to tune the drums and how to hold the drumsticks.  Another lesson focused on reading musical notes for drums – what!!!???  I didn’t even know there was written music for drums!

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed – much like last month when I realized how naïve I was about what it takes to start a garden.  I’m going with Schiller’s quote, though, and believing it is okay to be a bit naïve.  I may not become a genius gardener or drummer, but I’m taking action and I’m learning.

I’m still learning.  –Michaelangelo at age 87

April is Drum Month

When I was about eight-years-old my parents surprised me with a used piano and the requisite piano lessons.  They didn’t have money to buy a piano – we were not wealthy people, we didn’t have room for the piano – it was crammed along the wall of our small dining room, and I didn’t want to play the piano – I wanted to play flute (my mom said I could take up the flute once I’d learned to play the piano).  I spent a couple years taking lessons from ancient Miss Harrison and doing everything in my power to avoid practicing, including redirecting my mom’s attention when we drove by the nearby piano store so it wouldn’t be a reminder to her to say, “Debra, have you practiced today?”

I never became at all good on the piano and I never got near a flute.  The flute part was okay, though, because as I grew up just a bit and started listening to the music of the 60s I realized what I really wanted to do, and what I might actually have some innate ability at, was to play the drums.

Flash forward a few decades and one Christmas I walked out in the garage to find a beautiful red drum set waiting for me, a gift from my husband.  It took a few more years for me to do anything with it.  At that point I enrolled in Ladies Rock Camp (there are four entries about my Rock Camp experience at my other blog, Debbie Does 50! – October 2008).  Since then (yes, since 2008) I haven’t done anything with my drums.  I walk past them daily redirecting my attention so I don’t ask myself if I’ve played today.  At one point, one of my kids put a sign just outside my office door saying, “Mom, have you played the drums today?”

Unlike the piano, I want to learn to play the drums.  From my brief experience playing at Ladies Rock Camp, I know I’ll enjoy it.  If nothing else, I think it will be a good stress reliever – I can pound out the tensions.  My drum set has been a huge, visible “Someday” – until now.  April is drum month!