Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And the beat goes on...and on and on

The twins are finally in middle school and can join band for the first time.  One of them tried out for percussion.

He made it.  

I am on the fence about this.  On the one hand, I am super excited for him.  On the other, what in the hell was I thinking giving Thing 1 license to POUND ON THINGS????

I was also expecting that it would be an affordable choice because the school provides all those snare drums and cymbals and bass drums, you know.  How expensive could a few drumsticks be?  A frugal choice.  Pat on the back, you smart mom!  

Wrong.  (or as my boys would say, "Fail!")  

The band director sent out a list - including a price estimate - of items beginner percussion students would need a week or so before school started.  This was not a small list, nor was the total (around $350.00).  I hemmed and hawed.  I rationalized that he wouldn't need all of the items right away.  I looked into used versions of the equipment and renting possibilities.  Nope.  Used and renting not an option.  You see, as the band director explained, those practice drum pads are getting hit, over and over again.  Wear patterns develop quickly.  Used is not recommended.  

Still, I hesitated.  The first week of school well underway, my boy asked when we'd be getting his stuff.  They hadn't actually started playing in class yet, so I told him we had a few weeks.  I started looking at other music stores in the area and they didn't have the very specific items listed on the band director's estimate sheet.  The boy grew more nervous at the end of each day of school.  "I'll be the only one in my class without my drum set!" 

No. You. Won't. 

I figured out where this specialty, percussion-only music shop was and set out to drive there.  I think my coolness factor increased just walking into the place.  It also transported me back to my childhood spent listening to my older brother play the drums on his drumset.  And every single other object he possibly could - driving my mother s-l-o-w-l-y insane. 

He seriously drummed with a butter knife on the counter while he waited for his toast to pop up.  He drummed with his fingers on the edge of the dining table.  He'd drum on my head if I really annoyed him.   

But I digress. 

Aquaman and I browsed the store while the good folks at Lone Star Percussion got our beginner percussionist's required items together.  They even had the same brand of drum set my brother used to have: (I think still has - in his garage.) TAMA.  I could recall that name emblazoned in all black capital letters from memory with no prompting.  I listened to it played often enough.  I and my sisters often served as tambourine girls for my brothers' band.  My oldest brother played the guitar, his high school buddy the bass, and my next oldest brother the drums.  I have vivid memories of this - listening to my bedroom door rattle on its hinges as they practiced into the night, after my bedtime.  I idolized them - the rock stars.  They introduced me to Rush and Journey, Kansas and The Police, Steve Miller Band and Boston.  I knew this shop was the real deal when I spied the framed photograph of Neil Peart on the wall - hell, I impressed myself recognizing the famous drummer from Rush.  My brothers would be proud. 

Or maybe not.  When I reminisced about the "band" with my oldest brother on a visit a year ago, his response was, "Bah.  We didn't have a band!  What are you talking about?" 

To which I responded like an 8-year-old-kid-sister, "Well, you practiced.  A lot.  And you played together.  And didn't you even record a song?"

"Well, yeah...but that's not a band," he insisted. 

While this was a reality check for me as to how two people in the same family can remember the same event in two very different ways, I haven't let it color my memory of my brothers as rock stars. 

And I'll hope that Thing 1, as he embarks on his percussion experience, might inherit some of his uncle's talent when it comes to drumming.  Who knows?  Maybe he'll even start a band with his brothers - the Redhead is tackling bass clarinet and Thing 2 the saxophone. 

It might have to be a jazz band. 

Thing 1 dutifully carts his percussion set off to the bus stop every morning, and home to practice every evening.  I think he looks like a flight attendant making his way through the airport.

So far, I still have my sanity.  We figured out how to use the metronome last night so he could keep tempo while he practiced his rhythms.  He hasn't done much with the bell set yet, besides bang around on it a bit. 
I have hopes of him eventually doing something like this:
Because playing Super Trouper on the bells?  That's just awesome.                   

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