Teenage Dream – Part 2L'Education Musicale
I must admit something. When I turned up to the Drummer Factory for the first time, part of me just wanted to prove to myself that there was little to my love for the drums. I thought “I’ll give this another shot and if I don’t enjoy it or if I’m really no good, I’ll put it all to bed.”
But fate threw the wrong teacher my way for that to happen. Enter Sass – an outstanding musician – a cross between Yoda, Jerry Seinfeld and Stewart Copeland (the drummer of the Police). The walls of his studio were covered in instruments – many which I still can’t name. I laid out all the reasons why I shouldn’t pursue drumming, felt terribly embarrassed at my lack of skills but before I knew it, I was playing again. Sass was just the teacher I needed. I couldn’t have been luckier. I wasn’t going to give up this time.
Sass reminded me that I wasn’t alone in placing the bar high and that I should always focus on enjoying myself, not so much on performance. He helped me focus and really be in the moment. Playing the drums became a moment of meditation for me. It was much more than a discipline. It was a flow, an escape, a healing place where I could really be myself. And it was thrilling, especially when Sass would pick an instrument and play along with me.
“Our relationship with music is very similar to our relationships with people. We can give it all, only to be let down. Or we can enjoy the love of music inside each moment, without any expectations of the future.”
– Sass Hoory
As a teenager, I learnt to play in a tiny booth. My teacher would walk in and give me a technical exercise, wander off into another booth, with people walking past and staring while I made the most embarrassing mistakes. We played without music. It wasn’t particularly engaging, to say the least. Fast forward to 2013, and the whole world of drumming had changed. Electronic drums were now very advanced and even a newbie could get a kick out of having a play.
It was time for a “gift-to-self”, an electronic kit. Can I just say – everyone should have one at home. It should come as a fitting in flats, along with oven and fridge. Electronic drums are a happiness machine. Ten minutes of yoga, ten minutes of meditation, ten minutes on the drums. Repeat once a day for a week and you’ll feel 10 years younger.
I plugged my headphones into the kit, played along to all the songs I’d been listening to over the years – I tried to play along, to be accurate. I made a ton of mistakes but nobody could hear, so I kept going. Drumming took on a whole new dimension. It was free – there was no judgement. I wasn’t bothering anyone. It was real, unencumbered “me” time and it felt like I was playing with other people from the comfort of home. Oh the joy, the release!
Suddenly, I became an explorer all over again. I was hungry for knowledge, for new things. Playing the drums was not just about playing rock or jazz. A huge variety of genres started to come to light, which I’d been carefully ignoring for years. Sass introduced me to lots of musicians I’d never heard of. His enthusiasm for other people’s work was infectious. I started googling my way into a whole new world. I got hooked on “Tower of Power” and funk was my new obsession.
I decided it was time to join a band, but whenever I looked at offers, I just didn’t seem to fit the bill…“3 young dads looking for another dad to play the drums – men only”… and then there were the breath-taking demos of drummers looking for bands and they made me feel tiny. Besides, I couldn’t figure out how I’d actually make time to find a band, let alone rehearse.
Months went by and then one day, I got an email. Sass asked if I’d be interested in auditioning for a singer-songwriter friend of his. If you’ve read my post “Winter Blues or Winter Cruise” you’ll know I was having a “yes” month, so I said “yes”.
I had no idea what I’d got myself into. More to come in a fortnight. Stay tuned!
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- Do you play an instrument?
- When do you feel you can express yourself most freely?
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