It is one of the funniest hours my week. Sarah is the practical and sporty one who is naturally well co-ordinated and I am the clumsy one but have had piano and flute lessons. Therefore we have different needs and keep Terry on his toes.
Yes! I learnt how to flam this week.
We have learnt some of the rudimentary beats and have graduated to learning specific songs. Our first attempt was 'I believe I can dust my broom' which is part of the grade 1 drumming syllabus. It was originally an american blues song by Robert Johnson. It has a fast paced beat we need to master before we take that exam next year!
Now we are on a roll and can play along with proper songs we challenged Terry to teach us a Christmas song. Sarah was really keen to learn 'Stop The Cavalry' by Jona Lewie.
I was so excited that we needed to learn how to flam for this song.
We have built in extra time to practise so it will be nearly perfect by Christmas rather than ready for Easter. We have been playing along to a youtube version on an ipad. It has taken me numerous attempts just to start the drum beat in the right place. Poor Sarah has been stop/starting her ipad whilst I have tried to keep up. We have also had to stifle giggles when I get lost in the music or my foot joins in with the base when it shouldn't.
Fact: A flam is one of three basic drum strokes and is comprised of two singles strokes that are played at different heights and therefore producing a thicker and longer note.
The other great f word I considered as a way of shoehorning my drumming lessons into the blog was 'fill'. A fill is an improvised phrase played during a section where nothing else is happening in the music. I was going to present drumming as a way of staying young by exercising the facial muscles (we spend an awful lot of time laughing) as well as an upper-body work out learning and practising our fills. Personally, I think it could be considered more fun, cheaper and a natural way of staying young than fillers of the cosmetic kind. I'm embracing and working on my smile lines.
Earlier in the year my friend Sarah and I had another one of our mid-life crisis moments.
We have had quite a few. They have been responsible for us attending Senior’s films on a Wednesday (cheap film and a free cuppa), going beginners Spanish and also planning a weekend to Spain to practise. They have also pushed us to joining a brilliant women’s activity group called ‘She Who Dares’ and then daring to do a whole host of new things; white water rafting, archery, high ropes, to name but a few. Unfortunately, Sarah’s job clashed with the She Who Dares timings so we kept our minds open and our eyes peeled for new madness. However, it was our ears that hit upon drumming.
For the past 5 years we have sat in Sarah's house, coffee in hand, listening to our children drumming away. I looked forward to my son's drumming lesson because it meant a coffee and catch up chat with Sarah. However, one Thursday evening ‘Take me to church’ by the Hoosiers reverberated through the floorboards. Sarah and I started singing along and tapping our feet. I looked at Sarah and remarked ‘I would love to learn how to play that on the drum’s' and so the idea was born and then sprouted. When the lesson ended we asked Terry if he would do us a favour. Now, Terry is the 'Buster Shuffle' drummer and has played gigs all over the place for many years but that simple question made him look nervous. He didn't have a clue what two middle-aged women would spring on him. I can't blame him. I didn't like to ask what ideas were running through his head- some things are best left undiscovered. We both have form for mad ideas. Funnily enough asking him to give us a joint lesson for an hour each week seemed like a relief.