Oh to feel energetic again! Experience Drums by day and cashier by night! Boy was I tired and hardly personable these days. This is why it surprised me when an employee on my night shift handed me a birthday party invitation. Since it had been a year since I had a night out, I decided to prepare myself for some much needed fun. On my way to this party, my stomach turned as I pulled up to the. house. I wondered if I looked OK and if I would fit in. If anything, I would pass as a parent hired to chaperone all of the kids. I stood outside the house, and was reluctant to go inside. I could hear the mix of percussion from the back yard, and after what seemed like a lifetime, I finally made my grand entrance. All of these young people were dancing and singing to the songs blaring through the house. I made my way to a quiet corner of the yard and just watched the party mix enjoying themselves. Although I started to feel better, I was not comfortable with the age gap. As I contemplated leaving before anyone noticed me, a young man and a much older woman swept by me to join the dancers in the yard. The woman was much older than him, and I figured that she might have been another parent trying to blend into the crowd. As I watched some of their crazy acrobatics, my self- consciousness turned to jealousy. How could she feel so sure of herself? Was the music hypnotizing everyone getting lost in all the fun? As I watched the dancing couple, I started to bounce to the music in my secluded spot. I felt the percussion through my body and I slowly started to forget about my age. Some of the guests started to acknowledge me. Suddenly I wasn’t invisible anymore, but I still did not leave my corner. After about two hours, I decided it was time to go home. I had a busy day ahead of me, and as I bounced my way to the front door, something strange happened. That same couple grabbed my arm, and led me right back into the back yard. We started to dance together, moving to the music and laughing like we were 20 years younger. I finally felt a part of things with lots of energy and a lust for life. Three hours later, I finally left and was not sorry I went. This party was just another example of how you’re never too old to dance, play music and have fun. Music, youth and energy are ageless!
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Last month my birthday was buried because it was at the same time as Passover. That wonderful Happy Birthday song was turning around in my head along with all the fuss and preparation it took to make Passover a festive time.
The thought of becoming another year older was making me feel washed out and I was hardly in the mood to change dishes and help do all the necessary work. I really felt like I had no purpose. But Evan and his family were coming to visit and Mom and I had to prepare. While we worked, the image of a bass drum came into my mind. Boy did I want to bang it, so in my mind I did. I thought I might be on to something, so I began stomping my cool beats on the floor. Mom asked me why I was so angry. I had to laugh at that one. As we waited for Evan’s arrival, I started to feel a little better.
When my niece and nephew walked into Mom’s house, I barely recognized them. They were so grown up, and I was feeling older by the minute. I looked at them with tears in my eyes as Mom and I prepared the table. I wondered if things would ever be different. There just was no time for family anymore, and I really prayed for change. I watched everyone eating and laughing and I joined in, feeling a contentment I had not felt in a long time. My niece presented me with a handmade birthday card which made me feel like I was more than just the hired help. I was her aunt. My nephew told me about how he was trying to find the proper college. What a feeling it was to be included. For a nice change, Evan and I put work aside and just enjoyed the togetherness.
When I went home, I retreated into my office and looked at my pot and pan drum set. I hummed “It’s Your Birthday” by The Beatles and happily banged away. My imaginary bass drum beat had become a reality.
I decided then that my creation would be a beat to reflect the time we had all shared during these very special days. This memory will stay in my mind as I try my hardest to perfect my beat for submission to Evan. Hopefully next year will be as wonderful as this year was.
HAPPY FAMILY TO EVERYONE.
For the past few months I’ve hardly been living the dream. My Mom took a bad fall in her bedroom, which landed her at a rehabilitation center for one month.
When she came home to recuperate, I was desperately needed to act as maid,
helper, and whatever else you could think of. Although I was glad to help out,
every spare minute of my time was in demand. Running back and forth from my home to Mom’s left me edgy. It was hard to have any kind of productive schedule and I was missing my spontaneity. I needed a break from all the drama!
When Evan informed me that he was coming to Florida, I got excited. His inspiration and faith would lift us all up and I was shamelessly looking forward to squeezing in some Experience Drums time. At the local library we would be assured to have a steady internet connection with no interruptions from Mom. I had it all planned out. As our conversation continued, Evan dropped the bomb that he was only visiting for three days. He needed to prepare for the VA/DC Annual Day of Percussion event!
Now that my game plan was out the window, I
had to prepare to play musical computers at Mom’s house, using my cell phone’s hot spot as our only connection to the outside world.
Evan arrived late on a Monday afternoon and we greeted each other with love! It was refreshing to actually speak with him in person instead of over our abundance of daily e-mails. On that first evening we sat and talked about family and how important it was to appreciate what we had. As Mom did her best to prepare us dinner, she cracked a smile, and for the first time since her fall she seemed happy and full of life.
The next day was filled with trips to the grocery store and
household chores for Mom. With limited time, we managed to prepare for Evan’s upcoming event by using Mom’s little kitchen table as our work space. To spare Mom and her neighbors a headache, Evan and I decided to bang on our knees to test out his program, which was all about being able to “listen and hear” your individual rhythm. With so many people giving their advice on how to handle our situation, this release was just what I needed. We laughed as our knees became bruised, and I felt my spirit lift. It beat the blues right out of our systems.
On Evan’s last day in Florida we got a chance to talk about all
of the new ideas which were being incorporated into Experience Drums. My spirits lifted even higher as we discussed new articles, interviews, and a new Community Voices page. We could not have felt any better about our mission of helping others through the medium of music.
What could have been a stressful visit turned into quite a fascinating experience for all of us. In just three days we found not only time for work, but a family peace that we will never forget. Thank you, Evan!
2014 started out with a bang. Not only was I struggling to pay off some forgotten bills, but my roommate of five years suddenly became unemployed. I had to take on a second job in the evenings to meet our financial needs until she got on her feet. I guess my heart is bigger than my troubles for while I toyed with the idea of looking for a new roommate, an inner voice was stopping me from doing this. Her promises of obtaining gainful employment were frequently being broken, and I had to find out what was going on with her. She was asleep during the day while I worked in my office and disappearing at night when I returned home from my long evenings. This seemed like unacceptable behavior for someone who was supposed to be job hunting. One evening, we sat in the living room and talked about our situation. She was hesitant in answering any of my questions regarding her whereabouts. I felt my anger rise in my throat. Being that I am not a heartless person, I was determined to try to understand any problems she was having, but allowing her to keep up her avoidance was out of the question. I proceeded with my interrogation. With tears in her eyes and a deep breath she finally told me what was going on. As I listened, I could not believe my ears. While I was working at night, she was exploring her creativity with my makeshift drum set in my office. You can imagine how I felt, lied to, angry and unforgiving. As I got up off the couch, I walked into my office to inspect what damage she could have done to my prized pots and pans, and found nothing out of place. With a sigh of relief, I resumed our heated conversation. She explained to me that due to her current circumstances her confidence was faltering. After weeks of phone calls and resume sending, no one had responded. The feeling of failure was overwhelming her and she was afraid that if she told me, I would be angry. She had watched me many times use drum exercises to help myself overcome my anxieties and fears and decided to give it a try and that it was working for her. Every day she got a little stronger with her drum beats. I cannot say that I did not understand what was happening. I found that rhythm has transformed so many heartsick people into vehicles of talent and purpose. It was at that moment that my voice quieted down to a warm simmer. As I felt her pain as my own, I tried not to cry. I lead her into my office and told her that any time she needed encouragement, she was welcome to pick up those drumsticks and bang away those fears which was holding her back from being productive. She hugged me and thanked me for my forgiveness, and once again promised that she would resume her job search immediately. I told her to have patience in herself. Her new found enthusiasm for drumming would help her to succeed in her mission. “You really can never change a person”, but I found that you can change judgment calls to actual suggestions for somebody in trouble. The weeks that followed were filled with loud and cheerful noises coming from my office, and a promising interview for my roommate. With her confidence booming, she is optimistic that she will land the job of her dreams. Her broken promises will finally become whole.
Here’s to a bright future.
It’s holiday time again, and the upcoming weeks will feel like I have another job in addition to my already crazy schedule. Trying to think of the perfect gift for friends, family and neighbors can take the fun out of the holidays. With some practical thinking, however, I did come up with “one” universal gift that would make the holidays very special for myself and all on my list – a practice pad. It could not be just any practice pad, it had to be one which was unique and would really compliment my style.
Just getting to a music store can be quite a hassle for me so I decided to start my venture to the mall early. When I got there, all I could find was one music store, which seemed to only sell MP3 players, computers and CDs. But I did notice that there were a few instruments hidden in the back of the store. The store was so crowded that looking for someone to help me seemed impossible, but I was determined.
The sales girl that was standing in the back of the store looked stressed, and as I started making my way towards her she started tapping her foot. Her attitude was none other than fear and stress. You can imagine how I felt. It was almost like I might be bothering her if I asked her a question, so I started to tap my foot as well, while smiling at her. She started to smile back and we started to tap together. I noticed that her attitude changed from fear to warm and welcoming. We created a beat together that turned heads in the crowded aisles. I attempted to tell her what I was looking for, but she seemed to know already. I was led into a back room where there were numerous percussion instruments, including drums, cymbals and just about anything else you could think of. I asked her if this store carried any practice pads. She looked at me curiously and asked, “Practice pad? I thought you were a drummer!” I laughed and told her that I just needed something to beat on, and her face dropped as she shook her head.
Disappointed as I was, I still was determined to buy something that would help me complete my mission. I thought long and hard about what I should do, and then the idea came to me. Being the proud owner of a microwave, I had thrown out my old dingy pots and pans a long time ago. Excited, I walked into a department store and purchased a really nice set of the shiniest silver pots and pans I’ve seen in a long time. I knew that I had some old bed sheets so once I got home, I covered a few of the pots with them. I had some crates that were hollow and I painted them in grey. After drying, I glued the pots onto the crates. As funky as this looked, I must admit that the sounds they made all together were quite unique and I knew that this makeshift drum set would serve its purpose for the time being. My spirits lifted and now I not only had the perfect gift, but also some new cooking ideas for the holidays. My boyfriend was the first to see this, and told me that this was one of the best presents he could possibly get. He showed the neighbors next door and they smiled and said “thank you.” Their windows will now be open.
Here’s to a little creativity for the holidays! It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.
Happy Holidays and Happy Drumming to all!
For the past few months I’ve been toying with the idea of submitting a “Drum Beat of the Month” to add to the Experience Drums submissions, but I have stopped short. I would think to myself, what could my drum beat possibly have to offer anyone with a musical background? An eight-year-old has more musical talent than me! I would have to be fearless to even think that my contribution could measure up, but I wanted to at least try to see if I could do it.
I told myself that everything you wish to achieve in life starts with a simple thought. So one evening I got up my courage, put away my computer, and took out my drum sticks. I was eager to see if I could play a beat which might make some sense. My soon-to-be stump of a desk was in for a beating! I still don’t own a practice pad, and I am still playing on any surface that I can find (including my thighs, which are already bruised).
What started out as something simple got so complicated because of the self-doubt that started creeping in. My beat got really fast and I was hitting my desk with enough force to wake up the dead! I wondered if well-known drummers started off like this, full of fear about expressing themselves well. The more I thought about it, the harder I played. After many attempts to create a unique beat, I sort of gave up for the evening. Even if I did finish it, I didn’t think I would be able to explain it to Evan. And it seemed like if I attempted to transcribe it onto paper, it would just sound like a bunch of noise.
A few days later, I was feeling down and needed to reach out to someone. To my dismay, no one was available. The only thing I could think of doing was to get those drum sticks out and let them bring me some comfort. If I needed to be heard, this was the way to do it. It was at that point that I decided to resume my little beat. The days flew by and every night I hit the sticks.
I realized that I could create quite an interesting drum beat after all. I would say that mine is a little on the hard rock side, but it sounds like me. Today I am still trying to perfect my beat, and with a little help from Evan, I will eventually put it down on paper.
There is nothing like expressing yourself through drumming. Using my drum beat as my voice, that will be my submission. No matter what you are feeling, let your voice be heard!
Before I began my drumming journey I never really appreciated how beneficial drumming could be in someone’s day-to-day life. To me, a drum set was never more than an instrument used in a rock band. That all changed right after high school.
There was a little rock club in my neighborhood where all of my friends liked to go to blow off some teenage steam. At the time, a lot of violence was associated with this club because of the kind of aggressive music being played there. I remember my parents begging me not to go because of the type of lethal crowd it might attract. But I identified with this type of music, and much to everyone’s surprise it did not make me a violent person. If anything, its impact was quite the opposite.
After one particular show, I met the drummer of one of the bands. I took it upon myself to ask the question: why so angry and upset with life? His answer was quite strange. He told me to feel the energy in the music and listen for the true message. In other words, look past the lyrics.
When I actually thought about this, I was able to pull apart the music piece by piece. I found that no matter what kind of sound a band has, if you really step back and listen to the message of the music, you can look at it as trying to find the solution to a problem. And that any song of rage can turn a person’s dread into feelings of hope, light and positive energy.
I immediately had to share this viewpoint with my parents, who actually started to understand the meaning behind my new saying, “You can’t judge a drummer by his or her cover.” They might not have agreed with my taste in music, but little by little, my appreciation of all types of music was accepted with a new attitude.
Since high school my taste in music has varied, but my love of drums has always been with me. It has made me a much more open-minded individual, with a world-wide musical taste. This has had a major impact on my life and how I see the world today. It’s refreshing to know that before you judge the music, no matter how hard core it might be, just feel the drum beat and let the aggression out. You will be surprised at what the motive of the music is really about.
A new Experience Drums Resource page is on its way to the website in the coming months and I can barely contain my excitement. The helpful hints submitted by drum teachers will be beneficial to so many drumming enthusiasts, including me, as I am still working my way up the learning curve of drumming.
I had already started this project by taking the initiative to hunt for enthusiastic drum teachers here in Florida. I knew that this would not be easy because school was just getting started and teachers would be preoccupied. So even though I was on the dreaded waiting train, I decided that positivity would override any negative feelings I had that might get in the way of me fulfilling my goal.
I remembered a drummer that I had met at a charity event for a library – a library which at one point in time reluctantly let me utilize their desks for my drum exercises. (Oh how the librarians hated me in the beginning!) The drummer was playing in a band with a group of other quite talented music teachers. I wondered if he remembered me.
I e-mailed him and immediately began impatiently staring at my empty inbox. We all like instant gratification, but sometimes faith in yourself is enough to get you through the ride. After a few of the longest hours I’ve ever had, I finally got a very positive response from my long lost friend. My adrenaline started going. I started to feel a sense of confidence, excitement, and involvement. I knew that eventually I would hear from others.
Now the question of when this page would be available on the website was nagging at me. I imagined all of the articles that were going to be coming in for Evan to review and post – we had to have that page up really soon. I had to stop myself from pushing Evan to get this done. I knew that with all he had to prepare for, his time would be crunched and that he would get it all done, even if it took another month. Evan is usually right about these things.
So, more waiting. Some of my drumming exercises were in order. Feeling overwhelmed, I picked up my drum sticks and banged away on my already broken table to blow off some of my pent up steam. That always works, and it set my energies in a positive direction.
Life might get rowdy in the months to come, but little by little Evan and I will make our dreams come true with patience and true unity. Here’s to all good things to come for Experience Drums!
Julianne’s Voice! Wow! I was startled when I saw the Experience Drums website – I was no longer a hyperlink, I was now a feature on the front page! I thought to myself, Now I have my own blog column staring at me! I must say that I felt important, seeing this new twist of fortune and my new image. Being a part of Experience Drums and the music industry has been transformative in some very important ways. It is a non-stop business, always filled with excitement and growth. And keeping up has meant learning a lot about myself and new technology.
In the past, instead of embracing new job duties, I always looked for excuses to put off a project. I often pulled out my hair trying to play catch up with last minute deadlines and found it very hard to get ahead. Every job I’d ever had always mangled up my time with so many different little jobs that at times, I thought of giving up. Working with Evan, I had to learn a new strategy.
This past month, he asked me if I would mind learning Facebook of all things! The thought of the two of us trying to figure out any more new computer programs was making my heart race. The image of my computer crashing was stuck in my head. Deadlines swarmed me. How was I going to fit Facebook of all things into my schedule? Wasn’t my plate full enough?
Then I remembered how in the past, I was able to de-stress myself by grabbing my priorities by the horns and start any new learning curves now instead of later. I realized that in order to do the best job I could do and be the best help for Evan, I needed to be one step ahead of him and Experience Drums.
I decided that I would embrace Facebook with courage and learn as much as I could. That no matter what happened, I would be able to fix any mistake and find the answers to my questions. So I immediately surfed the web and sought out any Facebook-related information I could find. I was not going to let Facebook get the better of me and become one more tedious deadline I had to focus on. And at a certain point it occurred to me – this could actually be fun!
Finding a way to relax about taking on a new project means being one step ahead of it. I have found that by practicing this simple strategy, I can relieve my stress and reduce my blood pressure. My outlook on new challenges has changed from dread to a warm welcome.
Here’s to those who welcome workloads with excitement and grace, not with dread and discomfort. Always make time for some fun, and DRUM ON!
November has been absolutely crazy here at Experience Drums!
We hosted the fantastic drum clinician Kent Aberle for three days of musical programs in Northern Virginia. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t seem like a lot of work to drive all over one part of town. However, did I mention that these were three separate and distinct programs produced by Experience Drums? Now, that’s work. Throw in a long car ride to Richmond on our day off so Kent could shoot promotional footage for his Sonor endorsers and that’s really working hard. Add on an extra workshop that we were a part of for the Percussive Arts Society and….well you get the picture.
But you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it! Why? Because the work stopped feeling like work.
It just organically happened. Driving to dinner with Kent, I realized that I liked hosting a guest artist. Through the set ups and tear downs, I discovered that I loved teaching large groups of kids…and their parents too! And late night trips to Kinko’s taught me that I actually loved promoting events that were set up to help people – be they student, clinician or retailer!
I also learned that I could crack under pressure. (Yeah, losing your credit card and having your debit card canceled by mistake can raise anyone’s heart rate!) But I also learned that those closest to me offered forgiveness instead of retribution, kindness instead of retaliation and understanding instead of condemnation. My friends and family gave me grace and I’ll never forget it!
So if you do what you love to do, surrounded by the people who care about you the most, can you really complain about work? I don’t think so. November has changed me and the work that I do at Experience Drums. It’s no longer just work.
It’s a work of heart.