How I got started:
My first memory of playing a musical instrument was when I was only a little girl, sat on my dad’s lap strumming the guitar while he played different chords. A few years later, I had recorder lessons for about 6 months in primary school. However I wasn’t particularly interested in pursuing playing the recorder or any type of musical instrument any further, so I quit. I remember my dad trying to encourage me into playing guitar but I was never interested, and in fact didn’t like music at all! I couldn’t understand why my sister used to watch the music channels instead of the kids channels (my prefered genre of programmes to watch at the time).
It wasn’t until secondary school that I started to become interested in music. It happened when at the end of a music lesson, we were asked to answer some questions about our experiences with music (e.g. if we played an instrument or would like to play an instrument, and if so which one). So I wrote that currently I did not play an instrument, however given the oportunity I would like to play drums.
Next lesson, when our books were given back, I had a note from my teacher saying ‘see me about drum lessons!‘. I did and he gave me a leaflet about taking music lessons and a contact number to arrange for them to take place. After talking it though with my parents, it was agreed that I could have a 15 minute drum lesson a week.
At the time, having an acoustic drum kit at home was out of the question because the neighbours would have surely complained about the noise, but I had a Roland HD1 electric kit with a V-drum on the snare instead! It was a great compact little kit and I would play it at every opportunity I was given. However, call it the ‘novelty factor’ wearing off, call it what you will, but after a while I began to practice on it less and less until, I am ashamed to say, it would just sit there in the corner of the spare room collecting dust…
I still carried on with my weekly drum lessons, though and attended every drum & percussion-related club I could find. My favourite club was Samba group which was on every Friday lunchtime from 1:30pm through ’til the end of lunch at around 2:15pm. It was there where, along with my friends, we would re-create the upbeat dance instrumentals that were oh so typical of Samba music.
I was usually on the one of the snares at the front, putting an ‘accent’ on the off beat if we were using that particular rhythm. We played at school concert nights and had a blast, always making the most noise and having the most fun. The audiences all appeared to enjoy it too!
I was also involved in the annual percussion festival at school. I would play in Samba, Plastic Eco Band (don’t ask), Parade Drummers (which I did not know I was in until my drum teacher who was hosting the festival called me up onto the stage with a few other drummers to play random snare solos together…his wife said my face was a picture), and a solo drumming showcase on a full acoustic kit. The atmosphere there was incredible and even though when I was playing I was beyond nervous, performing in front of an enthusiastic live audience really was the thrill of a lifetime!
Although I enjoyed drumming away to whatever I was listening to at the time, I never felt like I was going anywhere with it. I never felt the inspiration hit me…until I moved to Portugal.
It was here where I really let go and developed my true passion for drumming…along with many other instruments I didn’t know I could play at the time!
Finally, with no neighbours in close proximity, I could have a fully acoustic 5-tom drum kit!
The hilarious thing though, was that when it was first set up I was too scared to play it because of how much noise it made! Can you believe that?! From being used to hearing the drum sounds through headphones when playing, to feeling the booming sound vibrations rattle right the way through my body every time I struck a drum or cymbal head with my sticks. My word, that was a shock…it must have took a good few months before I even entertained using the bottom two toms which were the lowest pitch and seemed to make the most noise.
And so, as my self confidence and my inspiration from the beauty around me grew stronger, I began to strike the bottom two toms; softly at first then gradually hitting them harder and harder until I was thrashing the hell out of the whole kit daily. I had but a care in the world. In the zone and enjoying every second of it to the fullest extent.
The first video I ever uploaded onto YouTube was of myself, drumming along to ‘Sk8er Boi’ by Avril Lavigne (which was blasting out of my dad’s Fender G-Dec amplifier) using the camcorder I got for my birthday to record it. Soon after, I uploaded a few other drum covers. I remember one was of Jessie J’s ‘Do It Like A Dude’ and another was of ‘The Final Zepp’ by Charlie Clouser (part of the Saw 3D movie soundtrack).
They stayed on YouTube for getting close to a year or so, until I finally took them down because I didn’t feel they were good enough. I kept on practicing though, and soon my beautiful kit would reappear on music videos for my own original songs!
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