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Drums, Mums & Thumbs (Up or Down?)

It’s a lovely, rainy Bangalore morning. A school holiday, which means I can lie in and languidly review what needs to be done that day – or better still, not done. Then suddenly – bang, bang! Crash! More bangs, and then - wait for it – a triumphant drum roll. I sigh, roll out of bed and try tojumpstart my 40-something year old brain back into gear. Weekends and holidays mean more drum practice for my 13-year old and I have to restrain myself from protesting because I am the proud mother of a drummer.

It’s a tough job having a drummer in the house. On the one hand, it never ceases to amaze me how my teenager, who needs to be reminded to clean up his room, do homework, etc., never needs to be pushed to practice his music. But the decibel levels are so high that most of the neighbours have stopped making eye contact with us.

The happy news is that my boy’s prowess as a musician is undisputed –as he turns 14, he will be doing the 6th Grade Trinity drum exam. And he will do so without missing a beat (excuse the pun!) at school. Thanks to his passion for music

My little boy’s journey as a drummer started when he was 6 years old. Always talkative, always opinionated, he made it very clear that he would not play the piano like his older brother. He wanted to be a drummer. I found what I thought was his childish babble very sweet – until his seventh birthday, when I realized that he was still begging me to take him for drum classes.

The first thought, I’m ashamed to say, that shot through my mind was how horrible life at home would be with the boy banging on a drum set. After many months of trying to dissuade him – which involved futile attempts at bribery, cajoling and pleading, I caved in and Lydia Solomon came into our lives.

On Lydia’s recommendation, the boy started playing on a practice pad – after a year, the drum set entered our home. Today, nearly six years later, it has grown with new additions every year. I never got involved in my son’s drum classes, exams or practice, leaving it to Lydia and him to chart out his progress. Their teacher-student relationship has always been an important one for my son.

His music has helped him navigate the early, choppy years of adolescence and formed him into a confident, happy teenager. Even more impressively, his knowledge of music – rock, jazz and the blues – is awesome for his age. A 13-year-old who loves such an eclectic range of music from B.B King, Dream Theatre, Metallica, Megadeth, Dire Straits, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and more. Today he is learning another percussion instrument – the tabla – on his own volition. And only uses the internet to either download music or view music that has great drum riffs.

I am indeed blessed – even if it means I have only a few quiet moments when the drummer is in the house! My job as a budding musician’s mum is to make sure his drum set is up to date and work at making our home welcome to any other musicians who want to have jam sessions. And most importantly, never discourage drum practice even if it’s early in the morning on a lazy, slow weekend!

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