I love being in my band, Parental Discretion. We have really cool t-shirts, but more importantly, playing music with other people is magical. Being held accountable by your band members makes me a better drummer. I’ve only been playing the drums for less than two years, and it’s hard. There’s a lot of life lessons for me:
Process: I need these opportunities for practice of being patient with the process of things instead of trying to force things. I can’t just sit down and play a new song. Some people can do this, real musicians can do this. But I only play a musician on TV. This does not come naturally to me, and it’s a long slow process of learning the different parts of the song, and then putting it together. When I struggle with something, my drum teacher makes me do something, and I roll my eyes and say something snarky. He glares at me and reminds me to trust in the process, that his partializing the problem will get me to my desired end result. I still roll my eyes and huff and puff, but try to keep my mouth shut. A little more often. Because I’ve learned he’s always right. I’ve got to stop forcing things.
Be in the moment: I’ve learned I need to be in the music. I’ve found that when I’m learning something new, or if my nerves get the best of me, I need to close my eyes and sit in the music. I need to be only in the song, or I mess up. If I start to think about the next song, or the next verse, or the grocery list, or a big work project, or who’s in the audience, I mess up. I need to literally be in that moment and nowhere else. My band appreciates my mindfulness. The rest of my life appreciates these lessons of being in the moment. I cannot have enough opportunities to practice just being. (I need all the practice I can get)
Support: I used to be the stoic one, the one who powers through anything and everything. The one who can do it all. The strong one. I used to think being strong meant doing it all, shouldering the weight of the world, propping everyone up around me, all with a smile. My divorce taught me how strong I really am. I learned that my lesson in strength was learning how to ask for help. Learning to be vulnerable, and to accept the help. Someone told me the best part of friendship is the opportunity to be a friend, that taking someone’s offer for help is a gift to the person. So my friends come to see my band play. The drive there is longer than our set. But they know I need their support, I want their help. Because being on stage is a nerve-wracking big deal for me. I ask for their help, and they happily oblige. And I am so very, very grateful.
Just have fun: I was pretty alright during our band practices. By that, I mean I got it sorta right a lot of times. But the last practice we had the morning of our gig, I suddenly fucked up in odd places in almost every song. I could feel myself physically tensing up. I admitted my nerves were getting the most of me. Our bass player reminded me this is supposed to be fun. That we’re in a band to have fun. Just have fun. Even when the pressure’s on, even when I’m insecure, even when it’s hard, just have fun.
I am convinced everyone needs to be in a band. The groupies are just an added bonus. Think about it.