Thursday, July 21, 2016

Big Finish

I don't ALWAYS dress like this to drum. Let's face it, a hoody is too hot for serious drumming.

"You're a drummer? You?" I know what you're thinking. Women my age don't start playing the drums at my age. Well, that's what people said when I took downhill skiing lessons at 47, too. What can I say? I'm a late bloomer.

Chuck and I both secretly shared a dream of playing the drums, but didn't realize we were both serious about it until we came across an inexpensive kit at a yard sale. We were like two little kids. Chuck was surprised I didn't want him to move the drums to the basement after we'd had them a week or two. 

"MOVE THEM? Why would we move them? I don't want to play in the basement, do you?" Yeah, that's how I feel about our drums.

My Mother's Day card from Dylan and Jamie made me so happy. My kids have been surprised at our interest in drumming, but surprisingly supportive.

Do the drums get played? Well, yes, they do.

April 26, 2016. The day of the yard sale purchase. Chuck gives CJ a chance to play.

Chuck and I often take turns after dinner. Chuck plays much more naturally than I. I don't want to mess up; he just has fun. We introduced our little grandson to them, and I let Violet use them when she comes to play. And Bridger showed us a few things when he came to visit.

"Tuning your drums certainly couldn't hurt," I think was how Bridger put it, after he played them. My drums and I can use all the help we can get, so we went in search of a drum key at the local music stores.

After Chuck's initial $15 purchase of the drums, and my buying a drum key for $7, we have now invested $22 in my current pastime. Not bad, as far as hobby expenses go. Much cheaper than photography, for sure, but a lot louder. 


When we got home, Bridger set to work at moving the drum kit to a more prominent place in the family room, and then he tuned the drums. 

Perhaps I should mention this is a First Act kit. It is a great set for a beginner like me, but it's something that might make real drummers chuckle. That's okay. I'm having fun, and that was the point. Besides, I didn't buy the silliest drum kit in the world...

Another thing worth mentioning is Bridger is not a drummer. He is a musician, though, who has played brass instruments, stringed instruments, and dabbled with his band's drums. He has a knack for anything to do with music, and he was willing to try to tune my drums and teach me what he knows.

He called me in to admire his work, handed me the sticks, and said, "I didn't tune your drums for nothing. Let's see what you've got."

I showed him the two rhythms I can still remember. It's weird. I can hold two patterns in my head. I've probably learned five, but as soon as I learned number three, number one left the premises of my brain. And when I learned number four, number two left, as well. Do you see the pattern here? This is why you should learn the instrument of your choice early. Don't wait until you're fifty-something to start checking off your bucket list. Memory is a tricky thing after middle age. 

We looked up a new rhythm on YouTube, and then Bridger broke it down for me.

"Kick. Kick. Snare. 1-2-3-4-5. BOOM-and." Well, when he says it like that, it makes sense. Sort of. It took me awhile, but I started to get it. 

Bridger is a natural music teacher. I was impressed with his patience, and his encouragement. He took the sum experience, and broke it down into manageable parts for me.

"You probably think this is pretty funny, that I want to play the drums," I said.

"Oh, it's HILARIOUS, but it's also really cool. I'm impressed," he told me.

I recorded Bridge's drumming nice and slow, so I can remember it when I start to forget. The forgetting is inevitable, I'm afraid. 

The highlight of my very short drumming career experience was when Bridger picked up his guitar and told me to start drumming. "But I don't know how to match what you'll play!" I complained.

"Just start drumming," he told me. "I'll match you." So I did. And what do you know? My boy started playing a song along with the rhythm, and we actually jammed together. I couldn't help but smile. I'd never had accompaniment before. It was amazing! (DISCLAIMER: My drumming wasn't amazing. The experience of playing with another human being was the amazing part.)

I told him I don't talk about my drumming much. I've only mentioned it in passing here, as something I kind of like to do. "Well, I think you should blog about it," Bridge said. So here you go, B!

This last video clip of Bridge gives me hope. He keeps reminding me the first rule of drumming is "There are no mistakes." (He might have made that up for me.) Here, you will see, the show goes on, even leading up to Chuck's rule, which is "Always end a set with a big finish." (Chuck might have made that up for himself; he just loves a big finish.)

Big Finish!

It may be peculiar for me to play the drums, but I'm thinking it's all part of my life's "big finish." I want to experience everything I've ever wanted to do, while I still can. Drumming has been part of my dream for so many years, and thanks to Chuck, I am living the dream. I'm glad I have him with me for my big finish.


  1. This is so cool. I am so happy you are doing things that interest you rather than what people our age should do! And by the way, you're not even close to my age! Drum away, friend!

  2. LOLOL! Cuuuuuuuute! ;-) (Both of you!)

    1. I miss y'all, too! Wish I were tagging along next week! Much love to Bridge as he gets ready for school!

  3. Simply brilliant.

    1. Brilliant? ;-) Well, thank you. It's certainly FUN.

  4. This is AWESOME! Did I tell you my new next door neighbor is a drummer? The first week he moved in I heard him practicing Bolero (for 35 minutes, even though it's the SAME SNARE PART FOR 15 MINUTES!) and almost threw my own pair of drumsticks against the wall.

    1. That does NOT sound fun for you. Wait. You have drum sticks, too? Were we separated at birth?

  5. Look at you go! I've been wanting to play violin again but somehow forgot how to read music. I wanted drums as a kid - for some reason Mom thought the violin best : )

    1. Ugh. I really, really hate it that Blogger doesn't notify my of comments! Deb, thanks for reading, and for the encouragement. I hope you will pick up the violin again soon!


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