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The Chronicles of a (potential) Drummer

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By Colette Hapi

And the saga continues.

It’s been a couple of months since my last drumming update, and let’s just say, growth is not for the faint of heart. When my students get frustrated when trying to learn something, I often tell them, “Growing requires us to stretch and to be okay with being uncomfortable. In the process, we may not always get it right, we may not enjoy it, it might seem arduous or tedious or slow, but if we stick to it and trust the process, we’ll grow. And that’s the most essential aspect of the process.” This is advice that I’ve given countless times, so imagine my surprise when I found myself on the receiving end of it. Just like my students, I found myself frustrated with the drumming process and, quite frankly, was fed up. It felt like the time that I was investing was disproportionate to the reward. To make matters worse, I believed that my drumming coach was having me spend time on exercises that were futile instead of teaching me how to play the songs that I wanted to play. UGH!

Recently, I was working with a student who was having a hard time comprehending their math homework, as it required them to use their still-developing analytical and reasoning skills. I had the student focus on exercises that were meant to build a foundation and serve as building blocks to improve their conceptual understanding, critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, confidence, and ability to adapt. The student didn’t immediately see the end goal to taking this slower approach, but as their mentor, I could see that working on these skills would better prepare them for more advanced topics than me simply showing them how to get to the answers the “quicker” way.

Then it dawned on me…My drumming coach was doing the same thing with me. He had me focus on the building blocks so that I could strengthen my analytical and reasoning skills because they’re the backbone of my development as a drummer. These skills empower me to break down complex rhythms, solve technical challenges, understand song structures, and adapt my playing to various musical contexts. By honing these cognitive abilities, I can elevate my drumming skills, enhance my musicality, and become a more versatile and proficient drummer.

Just like my students, I had been looking for the quick solution. Experiencing this firsthand was a humbling reminder of how challenging it can be to persevere through the learning process. I had (and continuously still remind myself) to trust the process and be patient and persistent. Consistent practice and dedication to the exercises provided by my coach will yield positive results over time, and the process can’t be rushed. Progress may not always be immediate, but with continued effort, improvement is inevitable.

As a drummer, I embrace the journey ahead with renewed determination, knowing that it’s in the challenges and frustrations that true growth lies. Armed with the knowledge that analytical and reasoning skills are the key to unlocking my musical potential, I am committed to breaking down complex rhythms, refining my techniques, and adapting to new musical contexts. Just like my students, I’ve recognized that success isn’t defined by shortcuts or immediate results. Instead, it comes from the dedication to honing one’s craft, the willingness to learn from setbacks, and the courage to face the unknown.

As the chronicles of a drummer continue, I embark on this musical odyssey with a heart full of passion, humility, and the understanding that the journey itself is as valuable as reaching the destination. And with each beat of the drum, I embrace the growth that lies ahead, knowing that the true joy of drumming is found in the process of becoming the best musician that I can be.

Erica MechlinskiThe Chronicles of a (potential) Drummer

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