Playing Drums

Three years ago I had a mid-life crisis. 

It could’ve been much worse.  All mine amounted to was tattooing a barbed-wire peace symbol on my foot and buying a set of drums.

The first time I ever really thought about playing the drums was when I saw The Carpenters in concert in 1973.  Karen was the first girl drummer I’d ever seen and she was good.   

Okay, not Doobie Brothers good, but she could play. 

Of course, I inherited my cousin’s clarinet, so that’s what I ended up playing in the band. 

Then three years ago, I got this uncontrollable urge to buy a drumset.

I found one for sale on Craig’s list just up the street from me and bought them the next day.

Loaded up every last piece in my trunk, put the bass drum in the passenger seat, drove back home and set them up in my garage.

Took me the rest of the afternoon to figure out how to put it together.

That’s when I realized that you can learn to do just about anything on the Internet. 

Later on I took some lessons, but at first I watched YouTube videos to figure out what my hands and feet were supposed to be doing.

There are lots of variations, but the basic 4/4 rhythm is this – your right hand keeps a steady one-two-three-four, while your left hand is keeping the second and fourth beats, and at the same time, your right foot bangs out the first and third beats on the kick-bass.  Now, if coordination came in a can, I’d need a case, but once I got the hang of it, I started to feel it and I loved it.  Then I started to feel some fills.  And if I was lucky and concentrated hard enough, I could get my left foot going at the same time to open and close the high hat.  

And when it all works, and you’re right there in the middle of all that music, playing with people you love,

I play with a great group of guys once a week who are willing to be patient with a very green drummer. It's so much fun - I love it!!

well, there’s just nothing better.

They say the best way to ward off Alzheimer’s is to use a different part of your brain to learn something new.

Playing drums sure does my heart good, too.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Alyssa says:

    You are so awesome! I’m very impressed!

  2. dan gary says:


    1. sallygary says:

      Are you concerned? Now, who are you again, and how do I know you?!…..

  3. katunplugged says:

    I think, one day, you need to compile your whole blog together and get it published as a book. I love reading it and think it would be fun to have as a book!
    By the way, who do you practice with?

    1. sallygary says:

      That would be fun, wouldn’t it?! I play with some guys I know from church – of all ages. We’re really quite an eclectic bunch, and we sure enjoy playing together.

  4. Tim Hayes says:

    What an accomplishment! Playing a drum set engages the whole body, and at our age (which isn’t really old but remember you brought up the mid-life thing first) it is a real work out on the brain. This made me laugh because this Sunday I turned to my wife in church and admitted, “I cannot clap and sing at the same time.” As an instrumentalist, I never had to worry about it (words either for that matter), but I must say I am impressed. The real question is… like Karen Carpenter, can you play the drums and sing at the same time? I know I sure couldn’t. Blessings!

    1. sallygary says:

      You’re right, Tim, it’s a good workout for my brain – and I need all the new brain cells I can generate! But no – I can’t sing when I’m standing still, let alone while I’m playing the drums. It takes all my concentration to keep the beat!

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