Since we moved to Woodchurch, a fantastic village in Kent, we have spent quite a bit of time in our local pub The Six Bells where we have made wonderful friends. It serves great beer, has a wonderful atmosphere and frequent live music. I realised then how much I love the sound of the drums and became a dab hand at playing along with some wooden spoons (you can guess how well that went down!!).
A couple of years ago I got a huge surprise as Chris unexpectedly bought me a second hand drum set from a friend in the village, thank you Ollie, for my birthday and I spent six months following an online you tube teacher (JustLisa) which gave me some very basic rudiments. Unfortunately I could not read music, knew none of the technical lingo and as I have never played an instrument before I basically got stuck. So for my birthday last year Chris bought me a years drum lessons and I set my 50@50 challenge. In my dreams I wanted to play along to Stereophonics Dakota.
The first hurdle I had to overcome was that of reading music. Having never played an instrument before I found this very hard. Even though Ed, my tutor, was impressed with my improvised way of recording music which I then had to learn at home I soon realised I would not be able to progress very far. So I purchased Rock School Drums Grade 1, practiced very hard outside my fortnightly half hour lessons and finally (also with the aid of Chris’ Grade 1 music theory) it sank in.
Over the past year I have learnt rudimentary sticking, rock grooves, fills, syncopation, paradiddles, how to open the hi-hat, the six degrees of separation, triplets, accents, flams and other fun things. YET all along the one thing I could not do was just play along to any song..be free to just play. I became embarrassed and very self conscious and would resist doing this at all costs.
I worked really hard though and completed my task being able to play both the Kaiser Roll and Bend and Snap….both being musical pieces in my Rock Book, but Dakota still eluded me…..
Until my last lesson!!! I spent the afternoon with friends sitting in the sun drinking a glass…or three…of prosecco and come lesson time I was on fine form. Ed, bless him, had planned a fun lesson and we had a few warm ups which unbeknown to me were key beats from Dakota….he then cued the music and we were away playing freestyle accompanying the Stereophonics. They went wrong a couple of times, but I helped them through 😉, and had a great time doing it. I am so grateful to Ed for thrusting this upon me as I would never have done it otherwise..a great teacher who made each lesson interesting and enjoyable. In return I was his model pupil who did their homework and bought in cake….a fair trade in my book.
It is now gardening season so the drum sticks are away but come Autumn I will be back drumming away and enjoying the sensation of making music ( of sorts ). Whilst I never wish to be part of a band or play in public, I do particularly enjoy the sense of coordination it gives me, the awe I feel every time a child sits at my drums and freely expresses themselves with none of the inhibitions that I possess, the physical release it gives me to play really loud and angry or gently and rhythmic but mostly the pleasure in the knowledge……you can still teach this old dog new tricks!!!