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Posts Tagged ‘drum lessons’

In my own world, my day-to-day getting up and going to work and being an educator, I feel pretty confident.  Not overly confident (I hope) but enough to believe that I can do the work.  I try to put in the time, at the desk, in the classroom, reading and studying and keeping up on the research.  When I tell people that I am an educator, I believe it.

But I struggle with calling myself a drummer or a writer.  I am putting in the time, practicing those rhythms, writing words, reading the music book, watching other drummers, reading about writing, taking up writing challenges.  But I hesitate to say that I am . . .  I wonder what it will take to give me that confidence?  performance?  publication? 

Today I read a piece about doubt and it ended with asking a good question; if doubt is a seed, what doubts are being planting in my so that I can grow?

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a slice of practice

This used to be my dining room.  It is actually still the dining room but the table and chairs have been pushed aside to make room for the drums.  The drums were upstairs in the spare bedroom until we welcomed our daughter and son-in-law into our home while they job hunt.  So the drums came downstairs.  They are now very accessible.  And there is no reason to avoid practicing.  Last week I was really dragging my feet about practicing.  The patterns were complicated and required hands and feet to move in opposite directions.  And I was getting tired of the practice music – 16 and 24 bar pieces played over and over again.  I began to question this whole idea of learning to play the drums.  But there they were, taking up that space that used to be occupied by the table I brought home when my parents moved.  They would not be ignored.  So I sat down for short stints, 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there.  And you know that practice pays off.  I managed to do pretty well at lessons last night.  Of course now I have a new set of rhythms and this week I need to learn to open the hi-hat and crash cymbal.  I think having those drums right under my nose might be the best practice technique yet.

Read more Slice of Life stories at TwoWritingTeachers.

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back in the saddle

After a month off while I was nursing my injured elbow, I am back to drumming.  It has been hard to slow down the pace, practice for 15 minutes instead of 30, wear the elbow brace, pay attention to the pain.  But my lesson last night was great.   And it made me think again of the process of learning and the importance of the teacher-student relationship.  Learning something new, something so out of my day-to-day, is hard work.  And while I need my teacher to say good job, it must ring true.  I wonder how we can give children the praise and feedback they need to keep working at learning, even when it is hard?  I know when I go into the classrooms today, this question will be on my mind.

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I didn’t practice my drums in the afternoon.  I broke the routine.  My morning practice was a full thirty minutes but I have been putting in at least two practice times a day.  It was so lovely outside yesterday.  I went for an extra long run and then stopped to pick up some fruits and veggies for my weekend juice.  By the time I got home, I just wanted to sit.  I picked up a new library book.  Then there was dinner and before I knew it, I was back in my chair, knitting and watching a movie.  As I climbed the stairs I glanced down the hall to the darkened room where my drum sticks sat, unattended.  I know I need the practice.  I haven’t been at it long enough to skip out.  Maybe an extra practice today will put that niggling feeling to rest.

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Failure gets a bad rap.  At least that is what I am telling myself today.  When we are learning something new, failure can present the opportunity to try something different.   This is the lesson I learned last night.  For all the practicing I did last week, I ended up playing the rhythms as if I were seeing them for the first time.  My teacher was very gracious and encouraging.  But I felt a bit defeated – at least for a few hours.  And then I realized that I need to practice differently.  I need to mirror the pattern of his lesson plan – he plays two measures, I play two measures – trading measures he calls it.  That is a lot more starting and stopping than I have been doing but it forces me to really see and hear the beat.  So that is how I began practicing this morning.  And we will see if that leads to a bit more success next week.  Today is a new day.

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My day began like most.  Up at 4:20 am, a bit of reading, some breakfast, pack a lunch, check the power on my cell phone.  But then I did something that might not match the “Monday morning-getting ready for the work week” routine.  I headed down the hall to our new practice room to do a bit of drumming.  I have switched from my djembe to drum set lessons (or real drums as some call them) and have found myself needing to put in a lot of play time.  I have a book and a CD, some sheet music and a recording of a song.  I start with the basic rhythms, taking them slowly to begin and trying to switch up the tempo as it gets more comfortable.  I put on the CD and try to play along.  I just barely have enough time to run through the sheet  music one time but I know I will be back for another round of playing later in the day.  Every day, 30 minutes in the morning, thirty in the evening, an extra session or two on the weekends.  It is play.  It is work.  It takes every ounce of concentration I can muster.  And I am loving it!

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Day 19 – keeping up

It is tempting to shortcut – to just practice the rhythm, to play along with the song on the cd.  But I know that I need to learn to keep a steady beat and the only way to do that is to use the metronome.  So I started slow – a tempo that is easy enough, so I can count out the beat and see what I am doing.  It is interesting to add this extra element – the visible beat on the metronome, the notes on the page, the hand patterns printed under the measure.  It isn’t easy keeping up.

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