Day Off Swag in my Happy Space!!!
Sock Swag is a great distraction, but not the only one used to divert attention from the life of cancer treatment. Drums get a bit of attention every day, and more so since my calendar has been emptied of all activities outside of the house.
The 365 Day Challenge is still in work. This cancer thingy has become a veiled blessing with respect to the Challenge cuz the empty calendar enables me to slow down and focus! I am focusing on the most basic mechanics of playing the bass drum pedals this month. I’m talking about the foundational stuff all the other techniques are derived: serious principles and concept application!!! It’s been humbling on some days and very rewarding on others.
The humbling came early in the month when I discovered how bad my mechanics were… my left foot execution was UG-GLEE on August 1st. It is much better 13 days later, but is still behind the right foot’s abilities. It is expected cuz I am right side dominant and I steadily working towards becoming a “balanced” drummer: one who sounds legit and comfortable regardless of which hand and foot starts a phrase or fill around the set.
The reward has been popping these last few days. I am playing certain exercises at the fastest tempos ever played. It is great to see this, but I am still way behind where I’d like to be. I do not worry about whether I reach that level or not. I am glad I am progressing towards that level. That is what the Challenge is all about: the process and progress of getting more gooder each of the 365 days I am investing in my developing as a musician. My hands are getting an equal amount of love too.
They’ve been working on an advanced technique for playing twice as many notes while expending half the effort to get them notes. Humbling and rewarding are present here too. The essence of the idea is to “get the hands out of the way,” so the hands can exploit each stick’s natural tendency to bounce. Both training sessions take my mind away from the life and side effects of cancer treatment.
Something else that distracts the brain a little is the “Drummer Trivia” I send to some students. I scrounge up information about Rock, Jazz, and Country drummers and ask my students a short question based on that information. Learning has occurred. The amount of stuff I am learning is great. I’ve been corrected a few times along the way, and I am good with that. I never claimed to be smart or all-knowing… just someone that loves drums and loves learning!!!
It sucks to have cancer. It is great to improve skills and knowledge. I did not know how important the role of playing and learning would be to my treatment and upcoming recovery. I hope you have that something you can throw yourself into. Let that something you are passionate about be the one thing that helps you escape the stress that would otherwise consume your life.