3.10.2009

floating thoughts

Since learning to play the drums oh-not-so-long-ago it's been interesting to listen to music differently. Especially considering the number of years I have clocked into that past time. Prior to my first lesson, part of my homework was to create a CD filled with songs I want to learn- even if they seemed complicated. I was asked what kind of drummer I want to be.

This process was not as easy as it sounded. I immediately pulled the current rotation within the 6 disc changer from the car. And found that the drum parts were incredibly boring to me in many of my favorite songs. I had Weezer in the mix I created, a total bore behind the drum kit. Songs I loved to listen to were no fun to play and many I started to learn and decode caused me to lose interest in practicing. I still battle with defining what kind of drummer I want to be, as in drumming style and the kind of songs I enjoy playing.

I was also told I should find a drumming hero, someone to look up to and admire and sink my creative teeth into while learning. Both items I have put on hold while my mind spins with numerous potential options only to find my inability to commit to one choice for hero or style preference.

The most interesting change in my process of learning a new instrument was the experience of attending a live musical performance. A concert. Or 'show' as we called them back in the day. I have not attended many in the past few years, however, each time I am struck by how isolated the drums are to my ears. How I have trained my ears to block out the rest of the sounds somehow and my adrenaline and desire to play my own kit grows to an almost unresistable urge. I have to restrain myself from running onto the stage and pulling the drummer off his throne and taking over. Not because I am better or even know how to play their gig, but because I am reminded of how much I enjoy it above and beyond anything else I had known about the pleasure of music.

Once I overcome the desire to hijack the performing drummer, I then imagine myself in a little box behind him (or her) watching every drum stroke and studying the way they make different sounds with those two sticks. It might be a disruption to the audience, seeing some crazy girl sitting in a box trying to hide behind the band, but it would be okay because I would bring my invisibility cloak so no one would see me, afterall.

My favorite part is hearing a song I know well change slightly in the drum parts live. I heard a band once live where I recognized the exact spot in the song where the drummer messed up one single beat and while it was happening I knew would become trashed. Instantly, the other band members lost track and the song became a wreck. It was like I had a cheat sheet, which was something that after years of listening to live music, it never occured to me how simple it would be for one little beat to throw off the rest of the band nor recognize how it went wrong.
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