Tuesday, January 7, 2020

drumming and grief

I've spent the last two weeks in California, where my father-in-law was dying and finally passed away. We nursed him and loved him to his end, helped to bury him, and helped my mother-in-law begin to sift through the mountain of responsibilities that stretched out before her, including paperwork and going through her husband's clothes and much more.

During breaks in the family time together, and the tasks I heped to carry out, I took a lot of short little breaks to chop out on a practice pad I'd brought with me, primarily for meditative purposes rather than to actually practice any music in a meaningful way.

Setting the little pad in a post of the porch rail, I'd play eighths, sixteenths and so on; switch to paradiddle ladders and shifts, and occasionally lapse into an old cadence from my high school or college days. Mostly it was the physical act of moving the sticks up and down on the rubber pad, rather than the sounds I made, that soothed me and helped me calm my insides.

Being around someone who is dying is emotionally draining. Burial, mourning and greeting friends and family after they've died is really hard and demanding and takes a lot out of you.
So when I needed to chop out a little, I had my pad and sticks and I was so glad I'd brought them along. (Turn the volume up for this one.)

(Note to self: Next time, bring a bigger pad that won't move around with every accented note.)

Now that I'm home again Im looking forward to rejoining my community band. They start rehearsals again next week so I have some time to prepare. They've also asked me to facilitate a drum sectional, for the purpose of readying some street beats to play between songs when we march. Since most of the drummers are new to this kind of drumming I'll need to start with some really simple things, but they all have good ears and hopefully will catch on quickly.

Working with new drummers is really good for my humility right now.

Stay tuned. I'm working on an acquisition of a special vintage pad if I can swing it.
Up next, some vintage sticks and a little history.

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