Over the years I’ve taught myself a number of wonderful skills. I’m proud to have taught myself just about everything I do today for a living and for leisure. I build, repair and upgrade computers like crazy. I design websites. I do a fair amount of graphic manipulation. I play and sometimes modify games. The one thing I taught myself many many years ago has always brought me pleasure. That is until this past year, when I realized I learned it all wrong.
When I was in Junior High (they call it Middle School here, yuck), I was a bit of a troublemaker. Nothing serious. One time I got detention for flushing crackers down the toilet. I’m not sure what rule or law I violated there. Last I checked, crackers breakdown easier than wads of toilet paper. I can’t even recall why I did it. That’s just how lame it was. On my part and on the part of those who turned me in. As well as those authority figures who set punishment upon me for it. Dumb as it may seem, I was in a brand new school building with state of the art sound proof walls in a new music room. Which they never seem to lock the doors on the inner halls after school. So when I got detention, while waiting for my parents to pick me up, I would um… hang out in there 😉
This was the beginning of my self education on how to play the drums. I didn’t have a set of my own at the time. Despite my parents having tried many times for me to take up the guitar, this was more to my liking.
Like many drummers, pretty much any surface is a drum. Right down to the steering wheel of my car. Even got a little crazy sometimes and drove with my knee and used real drum sticks. I don’t recommend doing this kids. It’s as bad as driving while texting or holding the phone with your face and not being able to look about! That and you tend to break a few rear-view mirrors in the process… Now I just use my fingers so I can drive competently. Please, use your phone hands free while in the car or better yet not at all. It can wait!
OK, back to my story.
After a few months of on and off detention, I got pretty decent at playing the drums. Basic beats and fills. So I wanted to start a band. To show my friends I could really play, I used a drum kit at local music store here in town when they were on main street. The Music Haus. (yeah, we have this Alpine theme here in Gayrock, err lord) I even dragged my mom to the store to show her I could play. This led to my getting a drum kit of my own finally. Through a friend of the family at the time. It was a light metallic blue Slingerland drum kit. More of a jazz kit, but I didn’t mind at all 🙂
I practiced and played. Even started a band finally. Though as with most High School bands, they fall apart just as fast as they start. I don’t know why but before school was over, I decided I wanted to get married and start a family. So I played less. Then eventually sold my drums. After my first divorce I tried to make a band again. Didn’t even own a set of drums, just played a kit a friend had. That ended quickly. When I shipped off to the Navy, I started playing the drums again on a borrowed kit. That too didn’t last. Though for all the years on and off I always had the dream of playing just one concert. Nothing fancy, just for friends and family if anything.
Having come back to Michigan, I got to watch my kids perform. Allen on the drums and Adam singing. They are amazing. Truly they are. Not just a proud parent. Watch them yourself! Because of that, my love of the drums was rekindled. So I broke down and bought a set. I’d go hang out with Allen and jam on his kit at the church and watch him play. He’s a far better drummer than I’ll ever be. Especially since I didn’t notice and no one ever told me, that I play the drums wrong. To a non-musician, you’d likely never notice I don’t do it right. You would just think I’m so-so at doing it. May even think I have some talent for it. Maybe I do. But… I have the most basic of things learned wrong. I also have no independence of my right arm and leg. So I must start completely over and learn the basics.
As of this past weekend, I couldn’t take looking at my drums in pieces in this tiny room I live in. I managed to rearrange and find a smidgen of space. I can barely move in here, but dammit, I’m gonna learn! I am gonna make my dream come true. I may never be as good as Allen and I’ll never sing like Adam. I’m gonna give it my all this time.