1 Year of percussion.
About a year ago, in March 2010 at my beloved church I was given drum sticks for the first time in my life.
Little did I know that it was love from the first touch and that it was a match made in heaven… =) just look at this picture taken in 2011 :
Playing percussion was never even a part of my dreams or skill set but I believe God holds much more for us when we fully entrust ourselves into His hands. My keychain has a small metallic plate with the words “With God everything is possible” inscribed on it so I put that to test every once in a while and this time was no different. Glory to God !
I never had a sense of rhythm or metronome inside my head. I never paid attention to the percussion part found in majority of songs. That is until I was given an opportunity to hold the drumsticks and practice playing simple rhythms at my local church.
How I started playing on the electronic drum kit :
Thanks to Sergey Tkachev, I was given an opportunity to practice drumming on an electronic drumset as our small church-band was considering of using the drums in the worship sessions and for the youth conferences. Sergey showed me the basics of drumming and explained how these things make sounds and what each sound is good for. I can remember plenty of times when Sergey patiently pointed out my mistakes and gave me short lessons so I could improve.
Here is a picture of the drum set that I’ve been using to start (Yamaha DTxpress II) :
We had to prepare the songs rather quickly because a major youth conference was coming up too soon. We had less than a month to practice something like 7 songs to perfection. In order to practice more and more, I would take the drums home from church and play them at night. The upside of electronic drum kit is that you can just put on headphones and happily play the drum without disturbing anyone even in the room next door. =)
To accelerate the learning of the drum kit, I accidentally stumbled upon a set of free video lessons for the drums on iTunes U… I downloaded them to my iPod and went through most of the lessons in one evening. Going through these lessons dramatically improved my sense of rhythm and general feel of the drum kit. Here is a link to those lessons: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=389616763
Some few months after I started to play the drum kit, I was given a chance to play on an instrument called “Cajon”. It is a small wooden box with a front plate that can produce two different sounds – a bass and a snare when the front plate is hit by the hand. It took me a few months of small practice to somewhat get a feel for the instrument. This instrument proved to be wonderful help in small song-filled gatherings and bonfires at the beach. Cajon is very compact and at the same time I use it as a space saving baggage carrier – I put some of my extra clothes inside of this triple-functionality box(a chair, percussion, and baggage carrier). Here is what a Cajon looks like:
About 6 months after I started playing the drum kit, the youth from my church signed up to sing a few songs in front of about 800 people at a Slavic Christian youth camp – Camp Skala 2010. That was the first time in my life when I had to play the real thing instead of electronic drums. I had only a few minutes to practice this wonderful instrument before the service began with prayer and thanking God, the learning went smoothly and no major drum-related(or drummER-related) problems were encountered… Here is a picture of how I looked like with the amazing drum set in front of me:
There is still a lot to learn for me, I’m no professional but I strive for the max of quality and skill. To be a better drummer it takes practice with metronome, playing along with songs on the radio or on Pandora and of course seeking advice from more experienced. One helpful way to practice even when you don’t have a drum in front of you, is to tap the fingers on some surface. Often I find myself tapping the steering wheel when I’m listening to some music while driving. I enjoy playing percussion to help others sing in harmony and to praise the Creator of music and the Universe.