It’s 7 o’clock on a Thursday, and high time I had a drink in my hand.
When Dave arrives, I manage to coerce him into having a Punk IPA (Pale Ale is one of my many weaknesses) and he confesses this is the first drumming lesson he’s ever drunk in. We’re both pretty happy about the whole thing.
My right wrist begins to twitch; it’s time to drum.
Week three: Drunk drumming
In our third week together, Dave teaches me how to drum my first beat. You know the beat. The one that frames Billie Jean, Back in Black and Staying Alive. The beat that gets you dancing at a wedding.
My brain does not want to do the beat. It’s a simple ask; move your arms at the same time as your feet.
On the first and third beats, hit the kick drum.
On the second and fourth, hit the snare drum.
Then keep going. Eventually, I start to do it. If starting a new skill has taught me anything, it’s this; progress is slow but worth it.
“If starting a new skill has taught me anything, it’s this; progress is slow but worth it.”
When I manage to achieve the beat a few times in a row, a huge smile spreads across my face. It’s the same smile I make when I shouldn’t be laughing at something; it’s uncontrollable and a little embarrassing. It makes me so self aware that I lose the beat.
Killing off brain cells and firing neurons
It’s not until I’m practising later at home that my other half informs me why I pick the beat up and then lose it. That frustrated feeling you get when you’re learning a new skill is your brain rewiring itself. New connections are being forged in the Mount Doom of your mind so that you can do it again next time. It’s muscle memory. By repeating an action enough you’re able to do it without thinking about it. Like riding a bike. Or masturbating. Or if you’ve got really good muscle memory – both at the same time.
“New connections are being forged in the Mount Doom of your mind.”
At the end of the lesson, we share a few drinks and run into mutual friends; Alun and Katy. It’s one of the great benefits of knowing people much cooler than yourself; eventually you run into other like-minded people and chat about Aerosmith obsessions, feminism and The Sims 3. Katy has a controversial favourite Aerosmith album. I’m totally in favour – mine is also controversial. All in all, it’s one of the best Thursdays I’ve had in awhile.
Oh, I bought a drum kit
Or rather, one was bought for me – thanks Charlie.
Exit music please
The night ends with my other half racing across town to dance with myself (and a rather drunk Dave) to Destiny’s Child in Camp and Furnace. Just look at that sentence. Drumming lessons gave me that sentence. We even make friends with someone who comes over to us to tell us about her hot date at the bar. “Isn’t he hot though?” Drunken Lady at Camp and Furnace – we agree with you. He was a tasty man human. I hope you got some.
In my first lesson, Dave asked me what song I wanted to learn to play first, and I said End of Time by Beyonce. Because Beyonce. So, in honour of that inevitable Youtube video in the future, let’s kick it old school with the Destiny’s Child song that got us all dancing.
Come back next week for more adventures in drumming and misbehaving.