17
Jun
11

Stitely Soundboard: the pure joy of hitting things

I had the privilege of being invited to Lawrence University in Appleton, WI as a guest clinician a few weeks ago. I love teaching because it always reminds me of what I need to work on and it brings me back to basics. Music is a lot like sports, in that basic fundamentals are the building blocks of what it takes to be really good. I guess that’s true with just about everything.

It was really inspiring for me to work with such dedicated and hungry-to-learn students. My favorite moment of the 4 hour drumming session was working with a student who had not played much drum set at all, though she was a very proficient mallet player and classical percussionist. We turned the lights off and I asked her to pretend she was 4 years old and to just hit the drums like there was no right way to do it. The idea is to move through some of the intimidation factor of sitting at a drum set and not knowing what to do. She started to hit the drums and after a few moments this big grin came across her face. It was amazing as the whole room felt the pure joy of making sound.

I realized at that moment why I started playing drums in the first place. It’s so cool to hit something and have sound come out! Then to top it off, hitting drums usually makes people smile or even dance! It’s really a magical kind of experience that is easy to forget once you get into serious studying and practicing. So I’m in this room with this college student hitting the drums and I’m experiencing it like I’m 10 years old again, feeling like I’m the luckiest person on the planet.

–Jeff Stitely

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