In the beginning, it’s all up for grabs. If you want to observe yourself and your shortcomings, speed bumps, mental limitations, and trigger points, try learning something new.
I’ve always wanted to play drums. When I was in 5th grade, I played cello to get a start with an instrument in the hopes of playing drums in 6th grade. It was a no go. My parents didn’t have the money for drums and my aunt had a flute. So, flute it was. Damn!
Nonetheless, playing an instrument was better than not playing one, so I did. I excelled only to please my Dad who loved the flute. I was able to do well enough, but I didn’t really enjoy it. The flute isn’t really a bad-ass instrument at all, in fact, it was okay at best for me. I wanted to be a drummer.
In 10th grade, to my Dad’s disappointment, I quit playing after going to district finals and doing well. It wasn’t in my heart and I was strong-minded enough to do what I wanted, not just please my parents(leave it to a teenager to figure out what mattered). I traded music for sports, with my extra time, and didn’t look back. It was too late to play drums for me.
Or was it?
I took a drum lesson recently. I’m learning from a skilled musician who I admire on the stage, and it makes it even more fun. In the 40+ minutes he taught me, I explained how I’d tried learning once before and it hadn’t worked. You see, I want to play, I don’t want to become a professional drummer. I want to bang on a drum set and make music, with no agenda other than enjoying every minute of it.
There’s no grading scale, no specific outcome or end game; I want to bang on the drums all day. And he gets it. On the first pass, he had me sitting at the kit, and though it wasn’t much, I was hitting a snare, the bass drum, and the high hat. Meanwhile, he grabbed a bass guitar and made it sound like music. I can’t describe what it was like or how much joy it evoked in me.
Learning is about the possibility and igniting your passion. More to come…