I’ve been playing the drums for a month now. That’s one whole month of me not getting bored and flouncing off to do something else. I’m even practising. This is a new thing for me. The thing that’s misleading about hobbies is that, if you want to get anywhere near good you have to put some graft in. There are many areas where I have not grafted, or given up all together.

Let me make this clearer – here are the hobbies I have kept going for more than a month:

  • Reading (23 years)
  • Going to the theatre (20 years)
  • Avidly watching films & going to the cinema (15 years)
  • The Sims gaming franchise (17 years)
  • Writing (15 years)
  • Collecting tattoos (4 years)

And now, the hobbies I gave up on

  • Piano
  • Flute
  • Singing
  • Running
  • The Gym
  • Yoga
  • Ballet
  • The Brownies
  • Football
  • Painting
  • Drawing

Fortunately, dabbling in all of these areas has given me an obscure knowledge base for pub quizzes. What it hasn’t given me is discipline.

Drumming teaches you to give a shit.

It says; “If you want to be the rock star you often dress as, then you actually need an instrument to go with that ego.”

This whole experience has taught me something I’ve struggled with my entire adult life; practice makes perfect.

Drumming teaches you to give a shit.

And its fed into my writing as well; I can’t remember the last time I habitually sat down to write something every week. Drumming has given me discipline in more than one area, and for that I’m truly grateful.

This drive, of course, isn’t entirely from myself – it comes from my teacher as well. I’ve already extolled the virtues of Dave’s teaching in previous posts, but i can honestly say I wouldn’t be practising as hard or enjoying myself as much if it weren’t for him. People remember their teachers. And after spending an hour with Dave each week, it’s easy to see why. It’s amazing what someone else’s passion does to you.

This week, I was taught the kick-ass beat from Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. And you just know I’ve been listening to it on repeat since.

This beat differs from the others as I’ve now got two kick drum beats to add in. Written down, it looks something like this –

One (Hi-hat, kick drum)

And (Hi-hat)

Two (Hi-hat, snare drum)

And (Hi-hat and kick drum)

Three (Hi-hat and kick drum)

And (Hi-hat)

Four (Hi-Hat and snare drum)

And repeat.

That second kick-drum is the attitude in Superstition. It’s, as Dave put it, “Four to the floor”. Once you hear those four beats, you’re at the mercy of your feet – all you can do is dance.

Practising this at home, I fuck it up quite a few times – getting your foot to do that second kick is surprisingly hard. When I do eventually master it four times in a row I shout “Champion!” at the top of my voice. My audience (my cat) jumps out of her skin and leaves the room.

Once you hear those four beats, you’re at the mercy of your feet – all you can do is dance.

Let’s watch that beat in action now. Side note: How unbelievably ripped is the drummer in this video? Damn.

Tune in next week for more lessons in drumming.