There’s a July storm hanging in the air as I round the corner to Dave’s Baltic studio. We’ve changed our lessons to Fridays, and the bar is busy with people winding down after work. Drinks are already half drunk. Conversations, half cut. We spot each other and head up in the lift. Dave is buzzing from last week’s post – we agree he should only teach bloggers and journalists going forward to ensure maximum PR for his adult drumming lessons. They’re still available by the way – book in. When we’re in the studio, we move on to a new drum stroke; it has the most rock and roll name going.
The Paradiddle; onomatopoeic and ridiculous in equal measure. To achieve it, you hit the drum to each beat of the word. Pa-ra-di-ddle. Right, left, right, right. Left, right, left, left.
The paradiddle is a war cry. It’s the drum roll before Gandalf and Shadowfax roll over the hill at the battle of Helm’s Deep. There isn’t actually a drum roll in that scene – but if there was, it would be The Paradiddle. Paradiddles are also the backbone to Buddy Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue’ – I certainly can’t think of another song that would strike fear into the heart of my enemies more, can you?
We move from striking just the snare drum to hitting the high-hat with my hands crossed. I think to myself; this is what drummers look like. I look like a drummer right now. However, I have managed to wear a vastly un-drummerly dress for the second week in a row – are there any other drummers that wear Vivienne Westwood whilst playing? Let’s meet up. And share wardrobes.
After a while it strikes me that there are principles that are applied to drumming that can be applied anywhere. Not least thanks to Dave’s (now overly self-aware) sound bites he keeps inadvertently throwing around. Here are a few of my faves.
Life lesson one: When you make a mistake, you have to keep going.
I have this bad tick of stopping drumming when I make mistake and looking at the drums like; WHY have you betrayed me? It’s not the drums – it’s you. You can’t let it interrupt your playing, accept your mistake and move on. How applicable is that.
Life lesson two: Learning new skills late in life is always* the right thing to do.
Dave has just learnt to drive – I’ve only just picked up a pair of drumsticks. Life is too short not to take a road trip. It is too short not to hit a drum. Who gives a shit if you should have been doing it years ago? Literally no one. Drive that car. Pick up those sticks.
*Unless that hobby is human taxidermy – then old or young, that shit is wrong.
Life lesson three: Really cool hobbies have really ridiculous terminology.
Paradiddle? There’s even such a thing as a Paradiddle-diddle. Come on.
Life lesson four: Don’t be afraid to make some noise.
I’m the first person to raise my voice. The first one to give an opinion. The first to sing along to a song in the car. Apparently, I’m scared of hurting a drum kit’s feelings. Hit the drum louder. Use your voice. Don’t be scared.
Life lesson five: There’s always time to do something just for you.
I say this as someone with no children – so people who have another human to look after, feel free to roll your eyes at this juncture. But, if you’re in a similar situation to myself then you do have the time for a hobby. If you’re scared of doing it on your own, rope a friend into doing it with you. Try Queen Liv’s ideas out for size to get inspired.
Coming up next week: I do my usual thing of over committing and buy a drum kit.