Yesterday was the first tuition I’ve had in two months. Gareth was great. Started me back right from scratch, really. We went right back to basics. We worked on stick grip, rudiments, grooves and fills.
I can’t really talk a lot about it…not really going into much detail. And it felt a lot to take in yesterday because I was so apprehensive about it, but really excited too. There was a lot to take in. Well, it felt a lot yesterday and because I’m so anxious about it all, not everything sinks in immediately.
I checked with Gareth that he wouldn’t mind me recording the lesson. He was fine with that. I won’t be sharing any of that, but I will still share a bit of my own practice here and there.
I’m really thankful that he’s okay with me recording because as it was with Cherisse, upon playback, things register better. My brain absorbs the information better and I always have it to reference it.
I’m about halfway through listening to yesterday’s lesson…and I just lost it. Gareth had me playing along to (rather ironically) No Woman No Cry…and I just started blubbing like a fool. I could just feel it and I could see him in the room with me, helping me keep to the beat, dancing around the room to it and it was just lovely thinking about it…and I just lost it, I feel like an idiot! (I’m crying all over again typing this out! I’m such an oversensitive idiot.)
I’ve just wanted this for so, so long. It was like the 8 year old me was in that room yesterday, learning.
As you get older…once you get to adulthood, you just think all this stuff is just too late. That it’s too late and you’ve missed your chance and it’s all gone. “Don’t bother now. It’s too late. You’re too old. You can’t afford it. And you’ll never learn. You’ll never pick it up. Your mind is young enough. You won’t be as much of a sponge.”
I still feel like that. The adult me says…”You’re 48! Why bother now? Where’s the money gonna come from? How will anything sink in?”
And then I was listening to the lesson and how it was all sinking in and just listening to the playing. Hearing myself play to Bob Marley…and it’s joyous and liberating and wonderful and that 8 year old is there inside saying “Wow. This is cool. I’m getting this. And my teacher is cool. And we’re having fun. And I’m learning and playing…”
And now my face is an absolute mess!
Such a silly cow.
So yesterday was wonderful. And I still want this. More than ever.
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!
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.
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. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Tried working on perspectives today. Tried to do a whole A3 sized image today. Over ambitious, really. Jim’s face itself is fairly good, I think. Tried a picture with him open lipped today. The teeth are…as with the mouth…something I need to work on! Noses are getting better. Definitely learning “less is more” when it comes to noses.
Body is out of proportion. Position of shoulders not right, and just a little large. Arms are ok-ish. His left arm is quite good (his arms are REALLY lean in this. Ooh, I do love a slim Jim! *shallow*). I SSOOO gave up on the hands! His hands are clasped together in the most akward “steeple and church” manner!
And the detail on the shirt is ssssooo not in proportion. Maybe it’s time consider going to an art class? Not sure. I don’t know just how much of this I can teach myself. To end up fantastic and be wholy self-taught would be awesome. But, we’ll see.
My confidence takes less and less of a battering now. It is what it is and it’s all a learning curve. And some days are better than others.
I won’t be beaten. I won’t give in. I’ll keep shooting for the moon!