From Disheartened To Determined: This Week’s Drumming Practice

I am booked in for two hours drumming practice from midday and I get to the train station a few minutes before 11am for the 11.21 train. Except…the 11.21 train is cancelled, and there is a train to London at 11am that would eventually get me there on time (a service going direct to St Pancras International. I’ll have to turn back on myself to get to Mill Hill but it would still get me there before midday). But I need to collect my tickets from the machine first. That takes a couple of minutes. The train has arrived in the meantime and is sitting on the platform. I try getting through the barrier with my ticket but it won’t let me though. I have to call for assistance and wait to be let through the barrier. Seconds tick by. By the time I am finally let through, the train doors close and even though it is still at the platform and stationary, I can’t get the doors to open.

I miss the train. I contemplate getting on the next train to St Pancras but toss up whether I’ll actually get there any earlier than waiting for the next all stops train after my cancelled one. I decide it’s best to wait for that one. I end up 30 mins late. Bum!

The rehearsal room is great. A good size. Nice and bright. A great kit set up. All good. Those things really made a difference compared to how it all felt last week.

I felt much better at the kit this week.

Towards the end of my session, I decided to film myself for a few mins. I don’t really know why. I watched it back when I got home and decided to share it on FB. An exercise in being a glutton for punishment, I guess. To thicken my skin. To say “Yes, I know I’m shit…but I WILL get better!” To show progression!

That’s it! In 6 months from now….a year from now…I can watch this clip back and say to myself “Remember when you were shit? Or when you felt shit? And you didn’t think you were going to get any better? Look at you here! You didn’t think you were going to be doing the things you are doing now back then. You’ve progressed. And you will continue to progress.”

I want this! I want to be able to play to a standard. Do I want to be able to join a band? Unless I get REALLY good…no, not especially. That’s all too late. But I want to be able to play good. It’ll take some time to get to that standard. A minimum of a couple of years. Possibly more at this age. I’m old!

“Aunt Fanny” (“personify your inner voice – make her an old, cantankerous aunt” a lovely fellow SM fan offering me support suggested to me this week) has been muffled some right now. (I chose Aunt Fanny, because that is what I resolve to give her of myself and my time – sweet Fanny Adams.)

I know I have a while to go, and Aunt Fanny will try and make her voice heard ALL THE TIME, but if she goes on too much, she will definitely be shown the door!

Anyways…here’s the clip. Enjoy!

Roll on next week!

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.

What Stirs The Soul And Practice Makes Perfect

I awake to the beginnings of Sons And Fascination playing in my ears this morning. I’m sure it was that strange percussive sound that did it. A LinnDrum? I’m sure it must be some kind of drum sample. I’d ask Brian, but you know…always worried I’m a pest (I can hear Jim shouting “you don’t care about whether you’re pestering ME!” – that is where you are wrong, Mr Kerr! I always care. Far too much, probably.)

It’s by the by and will now show me up to be the true pest I am once I share this. Full of typos, hence the stream of consciousness. Composed whilst thinking about how the song was making me feel being awoken by it this morning…here’s the result shared on the SMO FB visitor wall.

As a side note – and I am sure Cherisse won’t mind me mentioning it as it is only to do with my continued opportunities to practice drums until I get a kit – I can book a rehearsal room that I have my lessons in for an affordable cost and get an hour’s practice in!

To practice on an actual kit will make ssooooo much difference. And although it still doesn’t mean I can practice on an actual kit EVERY DAY, it will mean I can get an hour’s real practice in (on an actual kit) every Saturday or Sunday (weekends will work out the cheapest for me, with Saturdays being the most convenient).

It’s a few stops down the train line just before you get to the busier stops of London and means I can get a return train journey on the line for as little as £6 on the weekend (and during public holidays).

The place was offering a free hour of rehearsal space during May, on a Monday or Friday. So I looked into what’s available this bank holiday Monday and I can have a room for an hour for free. Nearly all the music rehearsal rooms have drum kits in them, so I can just go on in and practice! I am ssoooo excited about this!

Also, kind of gutted it means I won’t have any actual lessons with Cherisse for a while (Kelly Jones tour and all that). But I have homework and things to work on and practice with and I am dead, dead excited to learn.

So my first solo practice hour is costing me all of £6! How cool is that?
Here’s to many more hours behind the kit. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

The Value Of Recording Yourself

Cherisse’s best bud and fellow drummer extraordinaire, Emily Dolan Davies, shared a piece of advise several months back in a YouTube clip and I followed it last week and it is already proving invaluable.

I felt silly, yes! I felt silly for taking it along with me and I almost just left it in my handbag because I just thought I’d seem like a crazy thing but I am already SSOO glad I took it with me!

Right, so – Emily’s piece of advice – her biggest piece of advice for any drummer learning (or pros getting stuck on new techniques they wanted to learn but it wasn’t going in) … and she was adamant on it. Record yourself!

And she said she wished she had taken the advice earlier than she did, and wished that she had known of or thought of doing it when she started out.

Based on her saying that, I took a little Zoom recorder with me to my lesson with Cherisse on Wednesday. And as I say, I almost left it in my bag and said nothing. Too scared I’d sound a flake for wanting to record myself after one bloody lesson.

But already my circumstances are making this invaluable. I can hear myself getting the hang of things on playback. Yes! I’m appalling! My time-keeping is woeful but I know listening to it back that these are things that I can improve on with practice.

I can go over things from the lesson. Just listen to them over and have it sink in.

I have no kit, but I can hear beyond that what I need to practice on. It has given clarity and focus to the things I need to work on.

And I know I am only two lessons in and I know I will always be learning. But before I played back Wednesday’s lesson this afternoon, I would just be doubting myself.

I AM awful. My rhythm sucks! But I can hear it in myself that I pick things up fast. Well, I sound as if I do. Am I deluding myself? I hope not! Will I join a band in the future? Doubt it (but never say never)! But if someone down the line asks me “got any special talent?” I may just have enough bravado in a year or two to reply “yeah. I play drums.” I would love that.

And Cherisse is so fab and just SSOOOO encouraging. Honestly. She just makes me believe I can do this. It’s just so good. So, so good.

So, if you think it’s nuts. Don’t! Hearing myself back today, and hearing what I need to practice on until the next lesson, etc… I don’t feel like I’m some time-wasting dreamer. I can obtain some decent level of skill here. If I am willing to put the hours in. To practice (anyone around Luton willing to give me some time on a kit to practice on?).

I love it! I want this! Thank you so much, Emily, for this advise.

Drumming Lesson One – The First Of Many

It was fab. Just really fab. Cherisse is awesome and put me at ease and is just a fab teacher. I had the best time and I just want to do it more and more. I was drumming away to bits of Chelsea Girl, Back In Black by AC/DC and Queen’s We Will Rock You. It was just really brilliant. I’ve been smiling away all day.

Thank you so much for today, Cherisse. I really hope this will be just the first of many lessons.

If you are thinking of having lessons – I cannot recommend Cherisse highly enough! Check out her Instagram account for enquiry details.