Drum Beats

On Saturday, a bunch of friends and I are getting the band back together. The fact that we never had a band before is irrelevant.

We’ve been talking about starting a band for years now. The main problem is that our musical abilities vary widely. AS has been teaching himself classical guitar for some time now. SI plays piano regularly. AS took piano lessons as a kid. DK is good at Guitar Hero. I learnt recorder at school but was never any good at it. So the proposal was that we all adopt instruments that we don’t know how to play, and learn together. I called dibs on drums.

And that was as far as we got for about three or four years. Then in March this year I walked into a music teaching place near where I live on the spur of the moment and booked a drum lesson. I kept up the lessons once a week (with a breaks for my trip in May, and one or two other weeks skipped). My teacher is Paul Watson, a Sydney session drummer who has worked with several bands. He’s been taking me through the drum instruction book he wrote, and at our lesson tonight we finished the last thing in the book. Next week we’ll start on the notes he’s putting together for a more advanced book – beginning with triplets! He says he expects people to take 6 to 12 months to work through the first book, and given I’m an adult who’s never really played a musical instrument before, he’s impressed that I’m at the short end of that band.

AssassinHere’s an example of the sort of stuff from the last section of the book that I can now play. This is the groove from John Mayer’s Assassin. I’m not actually familiar with the song, but when I play this it sounds like a beat I know. (For those of you who don’t know drum notation, the Xs are hi-hats, the middles notes are snare drums, and the bottom notes are bass drums.)

I’ve also been learning the basic groove and fills (the fancy bits) of a few easy songs, that we’re going to start playing together in our band on Saturday. While I’ve been learning drums from scratch, AS has been transferring from classical guitar to a lead electric guitar, and DK from Guitar Hero to a bass guitar. SI has claimed piano – which works since we’re going to jam at AS’s place, and he has a piano (his wife plays). AC is going to bring an electronic keyboard and figure out how to do the rhythm guitar pieces on that. We’ve also dobbed DMc in for vocals, but I’m not sure if he’ll be there on Saturday.

Our first set will include Brass in Pocket (The Pretenders), I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers), Cloud Factory (The Clouds), and Summon Bigger Fish (our own song, written by Evan Dean!). Plans are to include more difficult songs later as we get better: Starlight (Muse), Vertigo (U2), Run to the Hills (Iron Maiden). I fully expect us to do some filk as well. I think our repertoire is going to be very eclectic.

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