This is our son Ezra’s first official drum. He is now 3 months. I sat him on my lap and he naturally put both his hands on it. His technique isn’t the greatest but it’ll improve with time and practice.
Naturally, he will gravitate toward the activities that his mom and I do. Drumming is a huge part of my life and it will be a part of his experience too. Will he be a musician or drummer? Part of me hopes not. If he does pursue this, I pray he will just enjoy it for what it is without attaching too many hopes and dreams to it.
Regardless, we won’t force into hockey either because my dreams of being a NHL all-star never manifested. Children happen for completely selfless reasons and it is a huge shame that parents get caught up in their own agendas for their kids. He will learn healthy boundaries but is he free in the sense that he has his purpose and path.
I will always honor that.
Right after sound check is done, there is a silent acknowledgement that fills the air.
The anticipation of eager ears occupying the concert hall seats.
Each of these 800 seats will be filled with the smiling faces of kids, each with a drum.
I swear that I can feel my drum smiling too.
“It’s time to stop thinking of the drum as just a musical instrument. Start thinking of it as a unifying tool for every family, a wellness tool for every retiree and an educational tool for every classroom”
- Remo Belli, CEO/Founder of Remo, Inc.
Drumming brings people together, dissolves boundaries and uplifts the spirit of both individual participant and the community as a whole. What an incredible blessing it is to share this gift with others.
It always amazes me that a simple group of hand drums and percussion can transform a group or family. This activity makes for a great bonding experience on any level. I have personally experienced this bonding and transformational experience many times. I walk into a room where hardly anyone knows the other people in the room. Strangers at first, yet just minutes into a drumming session, we are all smiling at one another in acknowledgement. The joy radiating from each participant knows intimately the joy radiating from all others. This unifies us. Now we’re friends speaking the same language; the language of rhythm. We all leave excited and refreshed.
I’m glad this is my work:)
I have always loved the drums. Apparently, I wasn’t able to nap when I was 6 months old unless my brother Mark was practicing drumming. It’s in my blood and anyone who is around me for more than five seconds can attest to the fact that I’m tapping or practicing on my knees/the table/a bank machine/to the metronome of my car turn signal. I’m sure this has to be annoying for the people in my life but I do not apologize.
Three things that drums have taught me in my life:
1. Do what you absolutely love because it will be an endless source of joy. If you don’t it will eventually turn into an endless source of pain and what ifs.
2. It is perfectly ok to take up lots of space. The more drums the better:)
3. Be loud but tasteful. Have a point.
Fun with friends 2011
Last year at the 2010 Winnipeg Folk Festival, my 7 year vision for a fire-breathing drum tower came to life.
I partnered with my cohort Joey who is a fire dancer and a welder. I gave him all of the extra drums that I had lying around and we worked tirelessly to make it happen. And by we, I mean he. I’m prone to thinking and adverse to working so I spent my time phoning the other people necessary to make this happen and sat through meeting after meeting. It all came together perfectly at the last minute.
Another friend was kind enough to loan us the propane system that his company uses at rock concerts and thus completed the vision for shooting 2 metre fire balls out of the top of the tower. I had it rigged to a foot switch so that I could play it like a drum and rhythmically time the blasts.
We did this for two reasons:
1. Why talk about cool stuff when you can just do cool stuff?
2. Folk fest was becoming boring (same thing every year) and the performance needed to be taken up a notch.
Our one goals was to blow people’s minds. As it turns out, that’s a pretty easy task to accomplish when everyone is high and drunk.
That was a proud moment for me. Every drum set should have fire shoot out of it in my opinion.
My mother informed me that the only reason that my brother Mark and I play drums is because of her love for Gene Krupa. Thanks mom! Thanks Gene!
One of my all time favorite Big Band songs is entitled ’Sing, Sing, Sing’. Click here to watch the video. Gene Krupa approached the Slingerland drum company circa 1950 and requested that they make drums using metal lug braces as opposed to rope. Traditionally, drum skins were fastened with rope and it was a pain the arse to change a skin. What he did was revolutionary and he is responsible for the drum set as we know it today. What better way to celebrate this factoid than to watch Gene and Buddy Rich’s classic drum battle. Click here.
I do not necessarily consider myself a drummer. Drumming is such a part of who I am and what I am about that it transcends the label. Or perhaps that’s just my bullshit way of over thinking everything. Without a doubt, the universe would implode if it were not for rhythm. Rhythm is the organizational element to music and life. I for one, would not want to live without it.
I am amazed at how influence and inspiration continue to do their thing in the world. I’m sure glad that my mom was into Gene Krupa and virtually forced her kids to become students of the drums.