Drum Practice Samples – June 16th

I dunno whether there is any real point in sharing these…other than to have handy snippets for myself to log POTENTIAL progress. We’ll see…

The sample snippets are: me playing along to The Traveling Wilburys’ Handle With Care, some general practice incorporating hi hat pedal play and drum fills, and playing along to Make It Wit Chu by Queens Of The Stone Age – my crash plays are not inline with where the song’s crashes are. I was just trying to give myself ample practice. My cymbal playing and timing is diabolical…but there you go. I’m four months in…what do I expect?

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Drum Practice – June 16th, 2019

Back to a full two hour session this week.

Weather wise, it was pissing it down when I left the house this morning. Then it stopped for a bit. Pissed down again. Then eventually stopped for good. Mercifully didn’t get too wet. Who’d believe it’s the middle of June, eh? Blow me!

Another small mercy. No train complications or anything. My 11.21 train was running and on time.

This week I took my over-ear cheap pair of Sennheisers with me. YES! Cheaper Sennheiser headphones do exist and they work just as well as the ones you’d pay hundreds for – I would think – I’ve never DARED invest more than £50 on a pair of ‘phones. I didn’t pay this much for these Sennheisers. Only about £20 and I’ve had them several years.

So, took the over-ear cans so I didn’t have to use the amp to play my mix of tracks that I practice playing along to at home. I had been missing the opportunity to play with them on the actual kit. Just hadn’t been very successful with setting up the play along at the rehearsal room right. ANYWAY, this week – fab! I needed the over-ears to get the ratio of hearing the tracks playing but also hearing myself playing in time (or at least TRYING to play in time) right. Got the sound levels right right off the bat and started playing along once I had the kit set as near as possible to my liking without wasting too much time on that. Must have been a kid in before me, as the snare was nearly on the bloody floor it was down so low. Lol. Snare was waaaay down, but the hi hat was higher than normal. Go figure *shrugs*

I just…got on with things this week. Just got on with business, like. When I am playing along to songs, I don’t do fills or crashes, because usually the fills and crushes and things are on the backbeat or on a separate time signature to the rest of the song. That I am now finding a bit frustrating. I want to start getting coaching on how I start to do that. I feel I really, REALLY need a lesson right now. Now, I THINK the Kelly Jones tour takes a small break for about 10 days or so after tonight’s London gig and Cherisse said to me she might be able to squeeze a lesson in…but it might not happen. So…I may be another month off having another lesson, which will just…kill me. Lol.

I think if she doesn’t do any tutoring until mid July, I might have to book a 90 intensive session just to feel like I am getting back on track properly.

In the mean time, next week is booked and ready to go, but looking ahead…July could be a bit iffy for practice. My Race For Life 10km event is on July 7th. I’ll be far too knackered after that to think about a practice session. I may think about altering it to the Saturday that week and maybe shortening it to just an hour. We’ll see. The other weekend in July that will affect things is the weekend of the Trevor Horn gig. I’ll be leaving for Glasgow at about 5am on the Saturday (July 27th) morning and won’t be back in London until 6.30am on Monday – so that knocks out any chance of anything for that weekend. UNLESS! I find a place in Glasgow I can practice in! Oooh…there’s a thought! We shall think on with that one!

I’m halfway through playing back practice. It doesn’t sound too bad. But I am just craving for some incremental advancements in tuition right now. But I felt fairly good this week. That’s the crux of it.

P.S. I meant to say. I walked 11km today. I was absolutely KNACKERED when I got home. When I was listening to my recording of my practice…I fell asleep! Lol. Maybe I am getting some musicality to my playing? Lol. I wish!

Here’s my drum practice mix I play to…

Giving Yourself A Break While Fighting The Black Dog

This evening I played the recording of Saturday’s practice back. And, okay, yep. I do think I am probably being incredibly hard on myself.

But… I need to be don’t I? Otherwise how the fuck am I ever going to get any better? Yes?

But… I am so thankful I took the advice of Emily Dolan Davies (click on her name to be taken to her fab website A Drummer’s Guide To) – otherwise I’d believe week after week that I am playing far worse than I am. It ebbs and flows, obviously. On Saturday I was SUPER down on myself. Just felt completely fucked up.

But I really wasn’t as bad as I thought.
YES! I still had my moments. I really did struggle with my hi hat timing and rhythm this week…but…I need to learn to give myself a break.

What makes it harder is when, at the point you are having your kit practice, not only are you questioning why you continue to do it, but you are questioning the much grander thought and perplexity of the existence of the entire human race.

Actually, this week was odd. For once I didn’t actually find myself questioning why I was there practicing. I suppose I felt I had much bigger fish to fry this week. What would be the point of me questioning why I was at drumming practice when I was more preoccupied with pondering why I am even here on the planet at all! Why we’re all here.

I feel the only why to fight the black dog is to suppress his bark. Engage a metaphorical mute button. Put earplugs in to drown him out. When he looks his most vicious…just smile at him. It’s hard. You have to just snap the brain (and this is just my own personal way around it…and thankfully it works most of the time – if it ever fails, I am going to be in BIIIIG trouble!) into that mindset. No matter how delusional it may feel. And it does to me. 100%! I feel I am absolutely deluding myself to put it at the back of my mind and smile and carry on.

The other way that also works is..acceptance. There is no rhyme and reason to us being here. We just…are. So…for whatever way you live your life…however way you live through it…just do it. And just…strive to be the best version of you that you can be.

So…no more about THAT “black dog”…let’s have THIS Black Dog instead!

Boy On Film

I upgraded one of my art apps a few days ago. The previous Prip piece was done incorporating one of the new settings now available to me. Of course I start off a new piece tonight thinking I’d use more of the new things available to me.

Nope! Much like the muse I doggedly work with…I stuck to all the settings and options I had available to me for free.

I’m an old stick-in-the-mud! Lol

I cannot wait to get my own space for painting and drumming. My own little art studio. I’ll probably freeze to death, as I envisage this thing being a glorified shed down the back of a garden somewhere in the southside of Glasgow. Soundproofed, of course – to protect peoples’ ears from the drumming and the wails of frustration as I paint away.

I am definitely from the Howard Hodgkin philosophy of art (ie: art is pain and there’s nothing enjoyable about it). It sets off my depression BIG TIME – painting…but there’s a compulsion too. And I miss it.

And I will continue the digital art. Always. It’ll be a counterbalance. The digital art *IS* joy, and therapy. It is the thing I love. Esp. when I am working on Mr Muse. How can it not be? LOOK AT HIM! Like I need more excuses. Lol

Drumming Practice – May 26th

I don’t know if this will be a weekly thing or what. I’m not sure I’ll be brave enough to share much.

I think I’ve been doing this a month now. Well, I’ve had four sessions now. Two hours each time. With varying levels of “success”. It’s still early days, of course. I’ve only had three lessons with Cherisse, spaced about three weeks apart and it’s been about 5 weeks since my last lesson.

Today felt kinda good. I’m accepting I am shit. It’s just how it is. How can I be anything else? I had my first lesson with Cherisse in March. I mean…not quite three months in with a total of three hours of lessons and eight hours of kit practice.

I’ll give it time. But I really don’t sense any natural ability in myself. I feel like I have atrocious rhythm and my hi hat playing is just awful! But today, I came up with my own little rhythm to practice. Below is a little sample of it.

Oh, I do wish I could turn back the clock…

Why Does No One Get It?

The drumming thing and what happened yesterday. It has nothing to do with my ability to PLAY but my ability to LEARN!

Telling me “it’s early days”. I KNOW THIS! I am NOT expecting to be Cherisse after three fucking lessons!

But…what WOULD help immensely is a kit set up to my level of comfort. Being able to practice on kits is invaluable but also feels like folly right now, given where I am at financially. I am spending £16 a week having two hours of practice each week. I walk 6 miles each time too…walking to the local train station, and then walking to the rehearsal studio…and back again.

I am dedicating time, money and effort to this thing! I wish I could do more.

Every week there is some kind of set back…crappy uncomfortable drum set ups…cancelled trains that make me late and eat into my practice time…yet MORE crappy drum set ups!

How do I explain it? I dunno. You’ve been asked to run a marathon, but all you have is trainers that are both left feet. I dunno. That’s a crappy analogy.

I’ll watch videos so I can set the kit to how I want it…but no matter what…it’ll eat into valuable learning time. And it alters my mood and it just makes me feel instantly on the back foot.

Another is…CCTV. There’s a CCTV camera in every room. I can’t tell you how much that makes me self-conscious…to know there could be someone watching how crap I am going. I try to put it to the back of my mind…but the reality is is I am a 48 year old woman going into a rehearsal studio on my own and it makes me feel like an idiot.

On weekends the music complex is really busy and that also adds to the self-conscious idiotic feeling. Seeing young-uns come in and just…it’s deflating.

Nothing comes naturally to me. I feel DIRECTIONLESS. I don’t feel like I can “just experiment” and “bash away”. I feel daft! There’s a reason why people have lessons and tutors…FOR GUIDANCE AND STRUCTURE. If I thought I could teach myself?! Great. Not a problem! But at this age? That is highly unlikely. I cannot see it happening.

I’ve booked another two hour slot for Sunday. It’s too easy to give up, I guess. So let’s just keep on squandering money and deluding ourselves this will end up going somewhere, shall we?

Every great drummer started somewhere, right? But most of them started out VERY young. Perhaps one day I’ll hold some kind of ridiculous niche of knocking people out with my drumming prowess by them discovering that I didn’t start learning until I was 48. Pffft. Yeah, I’m not convinced either.

At the end of the day there is a distinction between WANTING to be great, and having the aptitude to BECOME great. I suppose I just have to give it time…time to convince myself that it’s too early to judge now. Is it? *shrugs*

I am so scared that two years down the line what I will see for my effort is, well, nothing. A badge that says “well, at least she wasn’t a quitter”.

Disheartened “Drummer”

I got two hours practice on real kits today. I went to the rehearsal studios where I have my lessons with Cherisse, booked a room for an hour…the first hour was free. When I got there I decided to see if there was another room to book for an hour afterwards. I could have the drum room so I grabbed it.

I was in two different rooms. I didn’t much like the kit in the first room. I was having problems with it. It just didn’t feel comfortable and sounded not right. I persevered but…meh.

The room wasn’t completely soundproofed either, and I could hear quite a competent drummer playing in the room behind me. Not good! I mean…it just added to me feeling disheartened. NOT because I am under some illusion that I should sound like them! But, I want to sound them. BETTER than them…and that is waaaay off right now.

The other room, though much smaller, felt better. (It had a lovely aroma of garlic to it when I first arrived!) The kit was better, felt better, sounded better…though one of the toms was off the rack for some reason.

I doggedly stayed with it…but yeah. I felt I took a step backwards today. But I’m sure there will be days like that. I just felt a bit directionless today, even though I had certain things to practice with/on and stuff.

Anyway. I shall head back there on Saturday and see how I go.