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Prevailing In Spite of…


I use to have a friend that loved to blame everyone else for his life failures and disappointments: most notably he would blame his parents.  His history was that of a fellow drummer that played in several bands with little or no success until he finally quit, got a day job, became married and started a family.  All of this, mind you, he claims is his father’s fault.  He shared a story from his childhood that was pretty much identical to not just my own, but many of my drummer friends.  To disprove his theory, I told him the below story.

When I was five years, I fell in love with the sound of drums.  I knew right away that I wanted to be a drummer.  I rushed to my father and begged him to put me into a class for drummers or find me a drum instructor.  My father was a musician himself and would often brag in front of his friends that he knew the best drum instructor in St. Louis and would enroll me into this instructor’s class.  Long story shortened, my father came up with plenty of excuses and false promises, but he never put me into a class with this amazing drum instructor that he was so keen to brag about while drunk with his friends.  Once my father made it clear to me that he was “the guy that sells Wolf tickets”, roughly translating to “all bark, no bite” (as my Blues friends used to say) I immediately sought other avenues of drumming education.

I can think of at least ten fellow drummers that can tell you the above story verbatim about their own childhood efforts to become a drummer.  I say this to exaggerate the point that my story is not unique.  I have no doubt that I would be a much better drummer if I had received the education I begged for in my youth, but this hiccup in my beginnings as a drummer isn’t something I refer to when I experience any kind of missteps during my drumming efforts.  I think that if you love something you find a way to do it.  You find a way to prevail in spite of your anti-education parent or guardian.  Being a blamer, my friend disagreed and we pretty much haven’t been as close since. 

Today’s youth are ten times luckier than my peers and I.  Through technology and the Internet young people can educate themselves to their hearts desire in spite of the shortcomings of their parents.  If a young person came to me with the same issues I had in my youth in trying to pursue musical education, I would send them straight to YouTube as well as various other drumming websites.  I can only imagine the excitement I would have felt if I had this option in my youth.  As every person of average intelligence knows, education is not wasted on the world’s youth.  Late bloomers in the creative world have a sea of resources to swim in online.  The only excuses for not getting a proper education now are money and time…and with the Internet those excuses have become obsolete and inadequate.  You can learn enough to get started on the right track and you can rest pleasantly knowing that your parents aren’t the gatekeepers to your desired education.  Prevailing in spite of obstacles is what separates the winners from the losers.


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