Amy Mantis


Musings on My Own Drumming and Other Things

I like to say I can drum.  I can hold a very basic beat at no more than mid-tempo.  I also like to say I'm learning how to drum.  Well, that is true sometimes.  And it is true again now.

About 18 months ago I bought a practice pad and a pair of sticks (Vic Firth 5Bs if anyone cares) and started off great.  I practiced rudiments, mainly paradiddles, flams, and other basic right-left-right-left things.  My goal was to warrant myself good enough to buy a cheap kit.  Somewhere along the way to this quest, I was derailed by nothing in particular.  If I were to say something specifically derailed me it would have to be sailing.  But no.  I just stopped practicing.

I'm a goal-oriented person.  I like to achieve things.  It's almost always a personal goal.  Private victories, if you will.  I've conditioned myself to embrace the journey (most of the time) and not relish in the difficulties, but to not quit because I'm not instantaneously great at something.  Fact: I'd have quit just about everything in my life if I wasn't great at it right away.

I spent 30 minutes just now doing one of Mike Michaelkow's 20-Minute Beginner Pad Workout.  It's ten exercises, two minutes each that I extended to three minutes each.  Here's what I learned while doing it:

-Stick height is a tricky thing.  The exercises are mostly in unison.  I never thought about how hard it might be to have my sticks land at the same time.  Fact: for me, it is.
-My right wrist tired out before my left.  And I'm right-handed.  I've had some wrist issues in the past that had kind of gone away.  Time to get back to being aware of that issue.
-Flams at a slow tempo are harder than flams at a quick tempo.  But everything else is easier slower right now.

I'm excited to start drumming again.  I'm switching off between bass and drums as far as getting time to practice in.  Some days I definitely have time for both, but I should be able to consistently do 30 minutes a day of each.

What's 30 minutes?  A sitcom.  I can pass up a Seinfeld rerun for music.  I  have to get back to looking at the big picture again.

Anyway.  I've gotta go.  I've got a meeting for teaching snowboarding and I have some homework to do for it.  And I have to leave in 20 minutes or so.  Oops.