Experience Drums

Experience Drums... Music... Life!

evan pollack

Judging Drummers by their Covers

Posted on: October 1st, 2013 by julianne

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.

Waiting Train

Posted on: September 1st, 2013 by julianne

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!

Wish List

Posted on: August 1st, 2013 by julianne

Being one week ahead of schedule with our Newsletter, I knew that the start of August was going to go smoothly. No last minute headaches for me! And with Evan working on a redesign of the Experience Drums website, I had some free time on my hands. Perfect time to ask him for a much-needed vacation, but I could not imagine just sitting around not being active. I became restless, and I got to thinking of all the great things I could do while I eagerly awaited the new Experience Drums style. So, I decided to make up a Wish List of all my hopes for this month.

At first, my mind took me on an imaginary journey to Virginia to take part in some Experience Drums events. How cool would that be?! I knew that this might not be immediate though, so I decided to think up some ideas on how we could touch more musicians across the country.

My first idea was called Drumming for Unity. In the past, two of our Community Saints joined us as we visited schools.  They made so many faces, young and old, shine with excitement! I wondered whether this could happen again, if we could ask some of our Community Saints to unite with us and actually meet the students who listen to their interviews and visit their websites.  Because all of them are loved, and not only by me!

I knew that starting such a project would take a lot of time and effort. I thought that Florida must have a lot to offer, but I didn’t know where to begin my search. So, I did what I normally do…I let my fingers do the walking. I began to write to various schools in Florida, but being that it’s summer, school is out. I felt discouraged because I wanted to communicate with them now, not later. All I could do was wait!

In the meantime, I had another idea –  to get away from my computer and out of my office for a change. I decided to join a drum circle! Once I found one in my area, I wrote to the organizer to find out more. This was exciting, but this wound up being a waiting game from Hell!. I wondered if all the Drum Circles were filled up at this time, and there just wasn’t any room for me. Oh well, as disappointed as I was, I set my goals to try again in September.  That was all I could do. I did not want to start annoying everyone in the business with my impatience.

Days went by that I did not hear from any of these other organizations, and frustration started getting me down. Before I picked up the phone to start calling them, it occurred to me that there was a good chance that they could be out of town, maybe even out of the country. Nevertheless, as my impatience grew, I finally had to accept that certain things were just out of my control.

As I shut my computer down for a much needed break, low and behold, I got a most welcome answer.  My heart started racing! Positive thinking I kept telling myself over and over again, and sure enough, I got a positive response to one of my e-mails.  Whether Evan was ready or not, another Community Saint was ready to share their story and give some gusto to our viewers! This was the start of many more responses to come in that day. Because I love surprises, I will leave it up to you to tune in to the Experience Drums website and see who rocked my world.

That evening, I felt calm and peaceful, and I knew that I would sleep well. With positive thinking, I know that I will get to take that trip to Virginia and attend more Experience Drums events with Evan.  And I know that my wish list will become a reality, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly in the near future.

Let the Drums Roll!

Posted on: July 1st, 2013 by julianne

This month I was feeling ready to become more involved with Experience Drums. I had some new ideas that I wanted to share with Evan and I hoped that he would have some time to review them. Well, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Before I had a chance to tell Evan any of my thoughts, I was taken by surprise – a spot on Community Saints Radio was waiting for me. What a fantastic, but weird request.

At first I laughed at his idea – did I actually qualify? As the producer of Community Saints Radio, I devote my time to finding wonderful drummers and organizations who dedicate their talents to helping their communities. Because I am still in my learning phase as a musician, it never crossed my mind that I would be chosen by Evan to tell my story. Rather than argue with Evan or shy away from the opportunity, I accepted the honor with excitement. I wondered what I would say and what questions Evan would ask. All I knew was that I needed to prepare for this interview. Public speaking is not my forte.

Evan had the grace to give me a couple of days to prepare. At first I found myself daydreaming of putting smiles on the faces of people who needed a boost of confidence to pursue their dreams. And then doubt started to creep in. I started to worry about how my cracking voice would sound on air and about how I wanted to change the picture of me that I would show the world on my next newsletter. Oh boy! I tried to buy myself more time so that I could scurry around and search for a photographer, or anyone who had time to take a decent picture of me. And just when I thought I could rest easy for a minute, I got a call from Evan asking me to do my interview the next day. So much for my preparation! I was getting nervous jitters but then it hit me – I had nothing to prepare for!! I would be able to share what it’s like to work with Evan and how I love being the producer of Community Saints Radio.

Evan was so happy to interview me that he called me early. I could not believe how the conversation flowed, it felt comfortable and airy. And I realized what was important – not the sound of my voice or my picture in the newsletter, but that I could be a positive influence on someone.

My hope is that my interview will inspire wonderful drummers and musicians to unite for a cause, to open up the hearts and minds of students by using drumming as a tool to follow their dreams. There is nothing like drumming to soothe the soul. Wanting to make a difference is why I am a part of Experience Drums. I guess I am a Community Saint after all!

Three Strikes

Posted on: June 1st, 2013 by julianne

Looking at my old beat up computer table is such a glorious reminder of how the magic of Experience Drums can wave its wand over so many lives and create such clarity on life skills through the medium of music. I’ve learned so much working with Evan, and some days I feel like I’m batting a thousand. However, with the launch of the last newsletter there was a moment where I felt like I was at bat, it was a big game, and the umpire had it out for me.

I pride myself on making sure that the newsletter gets out to our readers like clockwork. They hold so much information not only on musicianship, but also on all of Evan’s monthly events with Experience Drums. This month, I couldn’t wait until everyone got a glimpse at what Experience Drums was featuring. I was so trigger-happy to push that button, that when Evan said it was time, I sent it out fast.

As fate would have it, a last minute glitch in my computer sent my morning of May 1st into a panic. At around 9:00 am, I got my first response from one of our readers. I thought, already? This has got to be good news to get a response so fast! To my surprise, this especially loyal reader informed me that a link was possibly broken. A broken newsletter?! I, of all people, would have caught that dreadful mistake. So my stomach started churning with embarrassment and stress. I checked it again and found out that not just one, but three links were broken on my priceless newsletter.

Before I lost my cool, I found myself thinking that no matter what, I was not going to be struck out. I was not going to let my busy boss down, let alone over a hundred of our readers. First, I had to unwind. I picked up my drumsticks and looked at the Experience Drums website for some exercises that I knew would have a calming effect on me. I then shut my door and started banging out a beat on an old table. As I played, I was reminded of my very first drumming attempt, which was easy and fun. Before long, I could feel my mind and spirit being lifted. I began to feel that wave of stress slowly slip away. Every beat I made on my table was another solution in motion. Giving up was not an option!

After about one hour of cuts and nicks on my imaginary drum set, I decided to keep sending out that newsletter until I got it right. I wound up sending out a total of three newsletters that morning. After all, I thought, better to receive it three times than none at all.

As I look back on that morning I can now smile. I was able to see that this little malfunction was just another learning experience and that I was able to use my mind, body and spirit to make it work. Whoever said “three strikes you’re out?!”

One Step Ahead

Posted on: May 1st, 2013 by julianne

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!

Bring It On!

Posted on: March 31st, 2013 by julianne

Wow!  It’s April, the month of my birthday.  I used to dread this month.  It meant that I was growing older (to me, a fate worse than death!).  And the date that I was born?  Well, that didn’t help either.  April thirteenth.  Thirteen.  Uh, isn’t that the number that they purposely leave off of elevators?  Yeah, I think you can tell that April was not my favorite time of the year.

But all that’s changed since I’ve started working with Experience Drums.  This year, “April’s Child” is feeling blessed and on fire!  Somehow, the work that we’re doing at Ex D has me celebrating life.  Why? I guess if I had to put it into words, the work I do  helps me see new things about the world… and myself.

I have seen the pleasure that Evan and I have brought to schools, music stores and charity events.  I have witnessed community being created right before my eyes.  Adults, kids, parents, players, teachers, and of course…me, April’s Child, all becoming part of one large event, one fantastic moment, one glorious beat!  These moments can’t help but change you.  They certainly have changed me.

I’m done complaining about April thirteenth.  In fact, I’m done complaining, period!  I’ve decided to face the challenges that April and all the other months throw my way.

My new motto is “Bring it on!

When I’m faced with thinking about my age, I’m going to cry out, “Bring it on!”

When I’m faced with an impossible deadline (and knowing Evan, that’s usually the case!), I’ll yell out, “Bring it on!”

When I’m faced with some task that’s out of my comfort zone, I’ll shout out, “Bring it on!”

I really love what I do.  It’s shaping who I am.  Ex D is giving confidence, faith and encouragement to so many people.  It’s giving it to me too!

So, I’m singing a new tune. It’s called Happy Birthday.  When I hear its melody, it makes me want to embrace every God-given moment.  And it reminds me that I am here to help others.  I just hope Evan has some ear protection because on my actual birthday I’ll be beating the drums to my new song and joyfully singing “Bring it on!”  But he won’t mind. Knowing him, he’ll be playing and singing along with it too!

Happy April – really!


The Girl Behind the Scenes

Posted on: March 1st, 2013 by julianne

I am so grateful that February is  over. Sure, it’s fun being busy. However, the short month of February made communication really difficult. Deadlines got rushed, and every week really counts as we try to provide new content for the site.  It’s a good thing Evan and I have three things going for us: telepathy, emails, and cell phones. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we get things done at Experience Drums, and I think I’ve come up with an answer.  Experience Drums needs a Girl Behind the Scenes.

You see, Evan and I are total opposites.  He is the calm and collected one. And me? I’m the nervous, lovable lunatic! Sometimes it’s kind of funny. Evan will calmly ask me to do the impossible.  And then he’ll calmly tell me that it’s due tomorrow! Thanks Evan for calmly blowing my planned day into an all-day excursion to God-knows-where. 

Eventually the confusion in my head settles and The Girl Behind the Scenes comes to life. I mentioned that Evan is calm. But collected? Honestly, I have to take that back.  He’s as collected as pocket with a hole in it! That’s okay. That’s my job. I take the missing details and help bring the dreams of EX D to life. How? Through phone calls, emails, and by harassing Evan for information that will bring his ideas to others.

A girl behind the scenes is important to any organization. She’s the one who pays attention to the details. She’s the one who pays attention to the deadlines. She sets things up.  And she often breaks things down so that the people in front of the curtain can be the best the can be.

Sometimes I want to step out from behind the scenes. Sometimes I want to be at those events that Evan performs at. I want to see the communities that Ex D is helping instead of just hearing about it. I’ve been thinking about striking a balance between my need to be organized and my desire to trust the systems that are in place. And you know what?  I can trust that the girl behind the scenes put them there!

We all have our strengths. I know that I can keep the trains running behind the scenes. I’m proud of that. But now I realize that I’m really a part of the action. I don’t just make things happen for Evan. I make things happen with him!Hey, I’ve got an idea. This goes out to anyone who feels that they’re only in the background. Never feel that you’re not important. Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in front of the curtain or behind it. You’re on the stage.  And that’s what counts.

My First Experience

Posted on: January 29th, 2013 by julianne

Has it really been one year since I first entered into the wonderful world of drumming?  Wow, does time fly, especially when you’re having fun!  I’ve done so many things that were never mentioned in my job description that I guess you could call me a “Julianne of all trades”! I knew that working at Experience Drums would teach me new things. Little did I know that participating in my first drum convention would be lead to yet another one of life’s golden training sessions!

In February of 2012, Evan called me up and asked if I would like to come to help him out at a clinic he was giving at the Day of Percussion asponsored by Virginia’s Percussive Arts Society chapter.  I jumped at the chance to get out of town and there I was in March, ready to lend a hnd.  I was supposed to be handing out Evan’s clinic programs and providing him with general assistance.  This seemed simple enough.  However, one thing I can tell you is that when you work with Evan, things often change.  And boy did they!

Daniel Glass, one of the Nation’s up coming clinicians was the big headline artist for the event.  A drumset had been rented and various members of Evan’s PAS Chapter were supposed to be around to set the kit up and get it ready for Daniel to play by Showtime.   To be honest, Evan was supposed to coordinate that with his chapter members.  Did he?  Let’s just say that I got the biggest surprise when I went from rookie to roadie!   I was astonished when Evan handed me an object that resembled a little capital “T”, better known to all of you drummers as a drum key.  He then surprised me a second time by asking if I would like to help in the tuning of Daniel’s drums.  Now, I knew nothing about tuning drums!  And here I was holding this drum key, attempting to get all kinds of drums ready for the main guy!  Luckily, plenty of PAS guys were around to help.  They took the time to show me the tricks of the trade.  We all grabbed a drum and twirled those drum keys!

I can still see myself squatting on the floor, key in hand, struggling with this one “demon” of a drumhead. When Evan introduced me to Daniel.  Oh God, this was not the way I wanted to meet him.  But there I was on the floor, looking up at this fantastic performer.  I was so embarrassed that I wanted to screw myself into that drumhead!  I quickly realized that Daniel could care less which way I was meeting him.  He was as friendly and genuine as could be.

In about an hour, Daniel Glass was on the stage, rocking that auditorium!  Every drum sounded great!  I watched him present his clinic on the evolution of the drumset and I couldn’t help but think that I was watching history in motion.  The audience was speechless.  His performance was incredible.   This was a drum clinic that would be remembered for a long time because of Daniel’s sincerity and passion.

Later on that evening, with my nerves just a distant memory, I had a chance to reflect on what I had learned from my first drum event.  I learned that it took a lot caring people to make an event like the Day of Percussion run smoothly.  The PAS team taught me that. I also learned that great artists can connect with an audience of one hundred or an audience of one.  Daniel taught me that.  Perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that when one is surrounded by a lot of love and patience, even a newbie like me can accomplish amazing things! Thanks PAS guys.  Thanks Daniel.  I wont forget you.  After all, you never forget your first experience.


Kent’s Stay in VA

Posted on: December 20th, 2012 by julianne

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!   Although I’m writing this a little early, I’m already experiencing a blast of enthusiasm as the new year approaches.  In fact, three of my holiday presents arrived early!  I received courage, confidence and friendship from a new friend, musician and drumset clinician, Kent Aberle.

Evan had asked for me to come up to Virginia to help with an Experience Drums small tour that we were sponsoring for Kent.   I came in from Florida, Kent came in from Georgia and we all stayed in the same “hotel” – Evan’s house.  What a scene!

Kent had the luxury of sleeping on the floor in Evan’s basement.   And me?  I took over my nephew’s room.  (Jesse was unceremoniously moved to an air mattress in the family room.)

The next few days were filled with a flurry of activity.  I kept getting pushed out of my comfort zone.  One day I was asked to do manage the free gifts we were giving away and the mailing list. Okay, I like giving out things.   That was a piece of cake!

Another day I was asked to actually perform with Kent and Evan. Now that was trickier.  I had to get coached on how to play a tambourine – one hour before the event – on front of approximately one hundred and fifty kids and teachers! It would be safe to say that my heart was pounding a million beats per minute!  But as the program began, we all got into a groove and I found myself smiling, dancing and actually enjoying the event.

The toughest duty I was asked to perform was to assume the role of the “Camera Girl”.  The night before our last workshop, we found out that our regular photographer wouldn’t be available to snap the promotional shots.  I was shoved into the responsibility of taking the pictures for the event.  I was never really a photographer to begin with.   Now Kent’s camera was put in my hands.  The camera might have been light but boy did it feel heavy – from the weight of worry!

I was nervous that night.  I asked a lot of questions and practiced pushing a lot of buttons.  This could have annoyed even the kindest of saints.  Somehow, through all of my anxiety, Kent kept his composure.  He must have assured me a billion times that this gadget would be in the correct “mode” after I turned it on.  I guess Kent was right because the next day, there I was, feeling empowered by his smile and patience, taking pictures at the event.

After he finished the tour, Kent returned to Georgia, leaving me with all kinds of thoughts.  Good ones.  All the things I learned over the course of a week.  All the things I had accomplished.  I know that they had a lot to do with Kent Aberle.  I’ll never forget his effect on me.  I’ll always remember that inspirational talk that we had on how to believe in oneself.  He taught me to be confident.  He taught me to be strong.  He taught me to be brave in times of fear.  Kent modeled these words for me.  And I was lucky to see it up close and personal.

Kent, if you’re reading this, here’s a message directly from me to you: Thank you for the gifts of strength, courage and inspiration that you gave to me.  I’ll know I’ll use them in the new year!

And here’s a message to all of you who are reading this right now:

May you have a wonderful New Year that brings new inspirational friends into your life.  Trust me. They’re coming. And when you meet them, I promise you this. Every New Year will be more inspiring then the last!