When I booked my first drum lesson I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been given the name of a local guy who was prepared to offer discounts to staff where I worked. We emailed and arranged our first lesson. I was expecting a long haired, possibly bearded, cool twenty-something who would think I was a sad, frumpy old woman desperately trying to recapture her youth. Of course that is exactly who I am and what I am doing, but I don’t want some bloody pony-tailed-whipper-snapper commenting on it.
As it turned out, I need not have worried. My teacher must be in his sixties. White-haired and gentlemanly in a suit, he was not at all what I was expecting. It was a freezing cold morning and I was shivering as Charlie (not his real name) led me down an endless cast iron spiral staircase in the the basement of the music department. The percussion cellar had that odd dead feel that sound-proofed rooms have. It was stuffed full of bits of drum kits, glockenspiels and cymbals. Looking around I felt a little thrill. I hadn’t been in an environment like this for years, it reminded me of the weeks we spent in a recording studio over twenty years ago.
Within five minutes of sitting down behind the drum kit I felt a rush of euphoria. I bloody LOVED it! Charlie gave me some sheet music and I couldn’t believe how quickly I could play something that sounded like real music. Fifteen minutes in I put my sticks down and said to Charlie, ‘Oh My God I’m a natural at this! Don’t you think? I am amazing, considering I have never sat behind a drum kit before?’
He didn’t share my conviction that I was a reincarnation of Keith Moon. He looked a bit nervous at my wild-eyed enthusiasm and gave a gentle smile and a tiny nod. After running through a few different rhythm patterns, which I felt like I nailed, Charlie got out his iPad and played some music. He asked me to continue with the pattern, but now keeping in time with the music. Fucking disaster. All my smug happiness leaked away; as soon as the music started to play my brain frazzled and my body lost all coordination. I was awful! How embarrassing! I’m going to have to work on that – It’s all very well playing alone in a room but I’ve got to be able to play with other people.
We wrapped up pretty soon after that. Charlie must have sensed my chagrin because he gave me a cheery pat on the back as I left and reminded me to do the practice lessons he had set me. Off I went to buy some drumsticks and arrange a music room to practise in. So this video is a record of how bad I am at the moment. I hope to improve! I’ve asked my brother to get me an electric drum kit for Christmas.
Watch this space!