What’s that pounding in my ears?

I’m sure my neighbors are going to love me.

Daughter is starting drum lessons.

Drum… set… lessons.

The lessons start next week, but yesterday I got her signed up and last night we went to Guitar Center to get her a pair of sticks and a practice pad. They were out of the method book so I ordered it from Amazon.

By coincidence, it was the first night of Guitar Center’s 2011 Drum Off competition. We stuck around and listened to a few of the folks play. A lot of your rock/metal drumming, but one guy was especially tasty, very smooth.

One thing Daughter noticed? Of all the people lined up to play, there was only one girl. 🙂

I told her it doesn’t matter. It’s not about being a boy or a girl, it’s about being a drummer. If you’ve got chops, that’s all that matters. Oh sure, she will have to learn how to hang with the boys, but having two brothers helps. But in the end, it’s about the music, and anyone that refuses to support and encourage you is as asshole and can go away.

She’s nervous, excited, a little intimidated, and certainly overwhelmed. But she’s happy, so she told me. She’s looking forward to this.

Right now, she’ll stick with the practice pad. Since she’s to learn set, yes eventually we’ll have to get one. People — even the instructor — tells me to get an electronic set. But I’m not convinced, because you just can’t equal what an acoustic set looks and feels and sounds like. We’ll see. If we got that route, I’ll be looking for some basic used sets on craigslist for sure.

And… my neighbors will really, really love me. 😉

8 thoughts on “What’s that pounding in my ears?

  1. Ha ha.. Now comes the fun part. My son entered that drum off and played last night. He placed 3rd out of a bunch. He wasn’t happy but I was impressed. He’s been playing for about 7 years, he’s really good and plays in many bands. But when he was learning OH MAN DID I HATE IT!! Sounded like train wrecks.

    Have fun, let her do her thang and she’ll be fine.

    • Your son was there last night? Cool! Congrats to him on the 3rd place finish. If I had known beforehand about the contest we probably would have come earlier and tried to stay longer as it seemed to be a cool “welcome to the club” sort of thing for Daughter. 🙂

      I’m prepared for the train wreck. Since I was a small child I played many instruments: piano, violin, trumpet, french horn, guitar, a little bass, and I can’t do much really on drums but I can basically fiddle around. So I know the pains, but I know the payoff too. I’m willing to sacrifice if it pays off… even if she never plays in bands or goes on to be some big musicial success, I think music is such a good thing for people in terms of how it can generally shape your outlook on life.

  2. I agree on the electronics vs. acoustic drum thing. Nothing beats the real deal… They actually make (or used to make) practice pad sets, believe it or not. Still doesn’t play like the real thing, but… A pad and sticks should keep her busy for a while, though before she starts making real noise. Also, you can buy pads that go over the real drum heads and cymbals, which will kill their tone but also make them reasonably quiet, as well. Lots of options.

    • Yeah, I’m not really sold on the electronic thing… granted, if say we lived in an apartment there might be no other choice. But I do have the choice. And I figure any electronic kit worth it’s salt is going to cost more than an acoustic set so…..

      I did see the pad sets for sale, and I’m also aware of the dampening pads. So I know there are options… it’s just all more money. 😉 We’ll see how it turns out. Right now tho, the little Remo practice pad and sticks are more than ample for her to start on basics of technique. We’ll see how long it lasts tho, based upon how lessons go… I mean, if she’s to learn set, she can’t rightly practice if she doesn’t have access to a set so…. I’m sure I’ll be hitting craigslist soon. Heck, if you hear of someone selling a good beginner set, e.g. 4 or 5-piece with say a hi-hat, crash, and throne, let me know! Doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional… esp. since it will sit in an unairconditioned garage all year long and the wood will be subject to all the heat/cold and humidity.

  3. My oldest son started his musical journey in middle school by learning to play the cello. If you ever wonder what it sounds like to strangle a dozen cats while simultaneously stepping on their tails, listen to a beginner cello player.

    While we lived in a town home.

    We had neighbors with the patience of saints.
    He later switched to playing the trumpet but we had already moved into a great house. Nearly sound proof (externally at least — ouch my ears) and separate from our neighbors.
    By the time our youngest son started learning the trombone, I was nearly (only nearly) able to tune it out.

    I can offer some encouragement. Both went on to play most or all of their high school years in the band. So, it is possible she will stick with it. Especially if she has parents who help her practice and offer encouragement like I believe you will.

    Good luck and just a tip — it is possible to buy noise canceling ear buds for your MP3 players now days. Daddy can’t be blamed for listening to music when she’s practicing can he?

    • Even the painful sounds of practice and learning are music to my ears. It’s all part of the journey.

      The funny part is I figure she’ll be practicing, I’ll be working… she’ll likely have her iPod with her for a metronome. I’ll hear something, and then probably do something like FaceTime her to say “Hey, try this” or “do it again….”

      I am going to consider some things to help soundproof the garage tho… even if not for the neighbors, just to improve the sound in there (less echo). See if I can hook up with a local carpet installer to get the scrap remnants for cheap, etc..

  4. Enthusiastic retired semi-pro me says –

    1) You can’t beat the feel/bounce of real heads, even with the muffles on it beats the electronic stuff unless you’re going to spring for the Roland mesh-head stuff. You have to develop a relationship with that “bounce.” In many ways its like live fire, working with recoil, but perhaps even moreso.

    2) Buy decent cymbals. A decent medium crash, a decent ride, and decent hi hats. Bargain basement kit cymbals sound like trash can lids and take a lot of the fun right out of it. I love my Paistes, and they do make decent sounding mid-entry models, and I’m sure you can find good ones on craigslist (and sell them later if the drum thing doesn’t work out.) Zildjians are fine too, whatever floats your boat. Sabian makes a nice pingy ride. And be sure to get new felts and plastic spacers for the stands – cheap insurance.

    3) Get a reasonably well constructed 4 piece kit, and buy new heads (I love Remo black dots or Aquarians) and take at least one full afternoon and really TUNE those heads (instructions ABOUND on the interwebs) – stretching them out, the whole bit. I even used a hair dryer around the seating ring. The difference is stupefying. It takes a good while to do it right but its so worth it.

    4) I can’t overstate how much difference a good kick pedal makes. Think of it as a trigger. A dead mushy one sucks real bad.

    5) Have her try a variety of stick lengths and weights – get a couple pairs of each type she thinks she likes and see what she really plays. Don’t buy sticks with plastic colored tips or your heads will be marred instantly.

    I’d be a craigslist fiend, and I’d also be scouring the used racks at your store of choice (South Austin has Tommy’s) for bargains on good equipment. Don’t buy lousy equipment. Trash is always trash. You wouldn’t put her on a Lorcin or a Jennings, right? 🙂

    Anyway – blah blah blah. I’m such a gear whore.

    • Excellent advice. Thank you!

      I don’t want to buy her crap, but I also don’t want to spend tons of money. It’s finding that balance. Because the reality is, if she has crap equipment, she will NOT like the experience. It’s like any tool. Good tools won’t get in the way, and great tools will make it a pleasure. Bad tools will ruin everything, no matter what else could be involved.

      And besides yes… if it’s a reasonable set, it’ll resell no problem.

      It’s also about finding something kinda “middle of the road” to let her experiment from there. The sticks we picked up last night were I think Pro-Mark 5A’s… middle of the road. She did hold a bunch of pairs to see “oh ok, those are thick, these are thinner”, but she admits she doesn’t know jack as to what’s better or worse. Let her experience and grow. I mean, gear is part of the fun… 🙂

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