I’ve just taken my own advice and I feel slightly scared about it. Just by hitting the keys on this keyboard, it’s a scary experience for me. I’m about to express myself, something I feel I can do perfectly well on the drums, but not so much when it comes to the written word.
Allow me to give you a bit of background about me, if you will. Away from the We Are Troubadour drum throne (yes, it is that grand), and all the other things that go along with being in a band I currently have 3 other jobs. Well technically 2 others but I have 3 kids (currently aged 5, 4 and 18 months) so that’s like a full-time gig on its own. I am also a support worker for a young man with learning disabilities, a job that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up, and a drum teacher. The following thoughts were born in a lesson I gave just yesterday.
I’ve never been the greatest planner of things, I get an idea and think “I’ll have a crack at that”. Much like this blog post. I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to give 3 best man speeches in my life, 2 have already been delivered to mixed reviews – everyone’s a critic – and I have one coming up later this year which I am exceedingly excited for. Of course, I’m going to, and already have had, some thoughts about what I’m going to say but mostly its going to be off the cuff, very much like this post. Now I think about it, that very much ties in with the theme.
When I’m teaching, I sometimes find myself looking at a student and thinking I’m losing them a little. Its normally towards the end of the lesson when they’ve worked hard, started to really grasp the idea but not developed the ability to play it at a speed they feel is accomplished or with great fluidity. It is at these times when I try and remind them what playing music is all about, for me its self-expression and having fun. So, we’re at the point where he’s just about shutting down, becoming less receptive to all my pearls of wisdom (stop sniggering) and about ready to fling the sticks and pack in for the day, or possibly forever. It can seem like the end of the world sometimes. I’ve issued my student with a seemingly simple instruction – just play something. The look he shot me was a cross between confusion and terror and I can imagine the thought process he went through as he sat looking at the drums, knowing full well that he can play a great deal of musical ideas (Yes, drums are musical. No, I’m not joking) but not having the faintest idea of where to start. It is at this point that it falls on me to provide an example, I leap behind my kit with all the enthusiasm you’d expect from an overweight bloke pushing 40 (surprisingly nimble if I do say so myself) and I sit behind the kit and for a second, I go blank.
I’m one step short of shooting the student a look that’s a cross between confusion and terror. Then, with all the resourcefulness of someone who has made up 2 best man speeches on the spot I hit the snare drum. It was a flam of epic proportions (in my head) and I’m off. Soloing round the kit, channelling the improvisational skills of Gary Husband (must have been on the old dial up internet as if you’ve ever seen Gary play my attempt was not even in the same sport let alone ball park) but I was away expressing myself, doing what I love to do, not in the style that I normally do it (I’ve never been a big fan of soloing) but the beauty of music, and life, if you allow yourself, is you can do what you want. And as I finish, I look over and say the first thing that pops into my head.
The hardest thing to do is start, the rest is easy. So just start.