15 October 2010

Drumming With My Daughter

If ever my various incarnations did collide, that moment of explosion and being happens in the above phrase.

Drumming with my daughter.

I started drumming at the age of 11 or 12...more than half my life ago. I did concert band, orchestra, steel drums, drum set, marching band, mallets. I even auditioned for Blue Man Group in 2004. While my audition wasn't "successful" in the sense that I went on to rock the bald cap, I call it a success. When I went into that audition, my goal was to someday drum on the stage at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago with my personal Blue Man idol.  Guess what my audition was... drumming. On stage at the Briar. With that same man. I lived my dream, and these years later I say that's enough for me. It all worked out. After all, if I'd made it as a Blue Man, I wouldn't have moved to Arizona, gotten together with Sean and had my daughter.

Soon after she was born I put the drums away. I'd pull out sticks or hand drums occasionally, but I'd just about given up on drumming. It was part of that other life. Not to mention that any time I got the idea to play, K would freak out. Couldn't touch sticks, my electric kit, my practice pad or play Rock Band lest the kid melt down. So, I just took the few private moments I could, but moved onto other expressions of rhythm -- poi spinning, writing (which was actually me reconnecting with an older piece of myself). Yes, I consider writing an expression of rhythm. You tell a story, but the words are important, too. The flow, the inherent combinations of sounds that come from words on a page... there is rhythm there and sometimes when I edit I'm trying to see if the story sounds right. It might be something as minute as a syllable, putting emphasis somewhere else, a comma here to give the reader a pause... but it's rhythm.

Anyway. Drumming. Recently, I've picked it back up again. I started Chickaboom and my dear friend Eric donated a snare drum to the project. K, my kiddo, saw the drum last night and started running around asking me to teach her. I told her we'd do it today. She woke up and immediately asked me to teach her about the snare drum. So, for about a half hour we took sticks and played. PLAYED.

It's pretty cool to watch someone so pure, so innocent of bias or training, dive into playing an instrument. Her eyes lit up and her tongue wagged in her mouth. So excited! Too much for such a little body to contain. She drummed faster, louder and started screaming.

I know that moment. I know what she was feeling.
I wish I could bottle that wonder.
I wish I could give it to you and everyone else, because that moment was so beautiful it hurt.
But, I can't. And that makes it all the more precious.

"Come on, Mommy!" she yelled. "Let's rock out some more!"

What do you say to that?

The only thing you can do is pick up some sticks and start rocking.



Eric the Something said...

Really made my day. It even made me tear up a bit. I am glad something I was able to do for you had such a profound effect. Especially having seen those "meltdowns" in person!

Sanity said...

OMG that is awesome

elizabeth said...

So much fun! Do you have any tips for teaching my Kiera drumming, besides letting her drum on anything/everything? She is super into it, but I am NOT a drummer. Even Rock Band on easy I try to play the melody on the drums...

Jamie said...

@Eric - Thank YOU :) In case I haven't told you, I'm glad you're Ohana. :D Oh, and she wants to make soap now. It's her "favorite thing ever"!! So, that's tomorrow.

@elizabeth - my best tips are to give her some sticks and let her go to town. Dance to the music she makes, drum with her. Play beats together. (Pick a favorite song of hers and beat out the rhythms together.) Right now it's about having fun and encouraging the wonder. :-D I can't wait to get these two together someday!

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