Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Onward Paradiddle!

Music soothes savage beasts.

That's the logic I'm using in insisting that my sons take an instrument, ANY instrument...

Drama Girl had taken Cello unhappily for three years, so we've got experience!

Turbo has wanted to play 'acoustic guitar, not the electric' since he was 4. He had an acoustic guitar when he was 4, and he loved it. 

But then, one day, Bear came along, and smashed it, like a rock-n-roll star. 

Because that's what Bear is going to be when he grows up. It's why he's growing his hair long. 

Turbo hasn't forgotten this, apparently, because when we were discussing the choices of instruments, Turbo explained to us, anyone who spoke to him in the guitar shop, and his new guitar instructor that he DID have a guitar that he loved, until his brother destroyed it, but this blue one is sooo much awesomer.

He's  now practicing on his blue acoustic guitar every day, while hanging out with his dad, without much fuss, because he genuinely wanted to play the guitar from the beginning, and is interested in getting better.

I'm sure he's going to stick with it and be good. I know he is. It's because he sits like I imagine folksy acoustic guitar players sit, all lanky legs crossed with quizzical expressions of curiosity and gentleness aimed at their audience as they prepare to sing out the truth of love, dogs, mothers and life in general. That's what I see when I see him attempting to fret without looking or strum without mixing up the strings.


Bear, Bear Bear.

Oh Dear. Bear.

He chose drums.

This is not a surprise, the idea of just taking two sticks and beating the crap out of some surface and making a lot of noise is very appealing. He is hoping for one of those drums with skin, like a djembe.

However, (can you believe I just started a sentence with however? I think that's horrid, I'm personally an anti-however-sentence-starting person) however, drums are one of the hardest instruments to start on. I got that from my band director brother who explained it's all repetition at first and not very exciting. It takes longer to get to a point where you can play an actual song or tune than most other instruments. 

There are also the exercises in holding the drumsticks right. 

And paradiddles, oh paradiddles.

Yes, yes I know the drumsticks aren't being held right. Just focus
on the tiny circle of despair and the lines that lead you there.
Also, note, this is not a djembe drum.

His homework consisted of 12 minutes of slow repetitions of holding the drumsticks right and making the 'drumming motion' from point 0 to point 1 or point 1 to point 0, I don't know, it's written in his book... and all he had to do was make sure the tips of the drumstick met in the middle of a circle. A circle... of doom, despair, and the collected tears of every child forced to do a repetitive exercise that held no instantaneous reward...

R, L, R, L or was it R, L, R, R, L, R, L, L or was it R, L, L, R, L, R, R, oh well, regardless, it was repetitive. Oh the tears, the woe of being forced to pay attention to posture (try to get any child under 14 to sit up straight for more than 30 seconds... it's not possible, they slump into themselves, like they have no muscular structure or spine at all) so I did what any reasonable mom would do.

I Tiger Mom'd.

"Son," I said. "You can cry through your paradiddle, but paradiddle you will."

"NOooo it's toooo haaaarrddd"

"I know, Bear, sit up straight."

"There are flames in the oven! I can't work when our oven is on fire!"

"No, Bear, that was last night. Paradiddle. Or I'll reset the timer and you'll have to start again." 

(To clarify:  It wasn't even a real fire, though technically, I suppose flames = fire, but this was inside a shut oven, and ovens are meant for fire, or high heat, close enough. Baking soda, okay, baking soda took care of it, and I didn't make him finish his work that night, because I can see how flames would be distracting.)

"It's too hard."

Timer Set: GO: Paradiddle. Tears. Paradiddle. Tears and Paradiddle. Paraddidle. Good Form! Posture! Ahhrgh now we have to start over! Paradiddle. Point 0! Point 0 wait Point 1! Pause Timer, Tiger Mom needs a drink. Timer, Go... You can doooo this.... look at your awesome paradiddling....

Thirty minutes later, we had a solid 12 minutes of practice (maybe 8, but it was solid man!) and Bear, though he collapsed in my bed from the sheer exhaustion, and suffered from a tired left wrist, did not spend time in despair, but merely explained to his brother how much HARDER drums were than guitar. I concurred.

Paradiddle on, peeps, paradiddle on.

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