It’s not just for the boys!
Why couldn’t she have picked piano?! My family always complained.
To be fair, I did start out learning the piano for a year. It was just missing something for me — excitement and being obnoxiously loud. Sports were never my thing, I played basketball briefly in middle and high school, but I hated everything about it (especially all the running…). So I needed a different outlet for my teenage angst.
Here are some wise words:
“I think female drummers are great. There should be more of them”. — Sean Kinney
I first got into the drums when I was 12 after receiving Rock Band as a birthday gift. I couldn’t care less about the other instruments: guitar, bass, and especially not singing.
Just down the street from the house I grew up in is a small family-owned music studio that provides lessons. I somehow convinced my parents to sign me up. After the first lesson, I was hooked. I continued taking lessons for six years, until I was 18, and left for college.
Above is a video from the advanced competition, I was 17. I’m showing off my pink drumsticks and Fall Out Boy concert tee.
The music studio became my first job. As soon as I turned 16, the owner hired me as the receptionist and a substitute teacher for piano and drums. It was perfect at the time and I was able to save enough money to buy my own kit, a Gretsch Nighthawk, so I could keep practicing at home.
My AMAZING instructor, Dennis Sanderson, really encouraged me. He’s young, funny, energetic, and completely passionate. He also has a big blonde afro. Him and the guitar teacher at the studio had a reggae/rock band, The KnightBeats, and I attended many of their shows at local venues.
For years I performed at competitions, shows, and recitals. Competitions were my favorite, and they included a 3-minute solo of anything you wanted, as well as a site-reading test. I earned 1st place in beginner and intermediate shows, and placed 4th in the advanced category. My first performance was in a band playing “You’re the One That I Want,” from Grease as well as “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” by The Clash. And ironically, Little Drummer Boy for a Christmas show at an Antlers Hilton hotel. I’ll be the first to admit that I have major anxiety on stage.
Above is the video from the intermediate competition a year prior, I was 16. I took home first place and won some epic Sabian Xs20 cymbals.
I refused to join the band program at my high school, but I took a percussion class and occasionally filled in for their Jazz drummer. I learned to play other instruments of percussion, including the mallets and bongos.
I was supposed to perform in front of my entire school, a pre-K through 12th-grade campus with close to 3,000 students. I was a graduating senior, and every year there’s a school-wide send-off ceremony. While setting up my kit in the gym, my friend that was helping me accidentally dropped my double bass pedal, cracking it. Unfortunately, that was half of my set, so I had to back out. Not many people knew I played, not even friends, so it was a bit of a disappointment. But mistakes happen.
If I could’ve added another minor in college, it would’ve been in music. I used every spare elective class I had to get access in to the music building. I took a Music in America course, where a small group and I performed “Beat It” by Michael Jackson on some Home Depot plastic buckets. I also took another piano course.
I miss playing the drum set. Every. Single. Day. College and independent adult-living includes having lots of roommates, close neighbors, and nowhere to keep something as large as a kit. My little brother also picked up the drums, so I’m glad the Gretsch is still getting some love today.
Although I’m not actively playing, I’m still a music nerd. In 2019, the Spotify year-in-review notified me that I’d listened to 96,000 hours of tunes. I don’t think I can function without some kind of background noise. I love ALL kinds of music (excluding Country, sorry). Currently, I’m very into Psychedelic Pop, including bands like Tame Impala, Glass Animals, and Portugal. the Man. But my playlists range from ACDC to Britney Spears.