08 June 2012

Rat a tat tat

I had my two nieces over last weekend. They are about the same ages as my two, so it is always fun if a bit mantra-inducing at times. I would be interested in measuring the decibels when these four are together. I grew up with tons of cousins consistently in my life. Wait, let me count...I think it's 19, oh 20! I forgot the cousin in Metarie. All the others are in Tennessee at least most of the time. Anyways, I had lots of family, and it makes me pleased as punch to see my kids enjoying their family. They only have 5 cousins right now. I'm still waiting for my brother to produce some offspring. HINT HINT!
My favorite part of the weekend was drumming on the deck. The kids were resisting their fatigue, so I thought it would be engaging enough while keeping them physically still. It worked like a charm. They took turns being the “conductor” who clapped out a beat, and then we all went with it. They genuinely enjoyed it. Their creativity was flowing, and all kids like making racket.
Drummin it up!
I have two hand drums and a handful of shakers and such. Just looking around the house you can find a plethora (love using that word!) of options. Pots and pans, empty tubs and containers, keys, spoons, small dried goods (try popcorn kernels, rice, beans) in plastic eggs. In high school, there was this huge interest in what I call street drumming. I don't know if there's a real term, but I'm sure you've seen the guys out on the sidewalk, banging on trash cans and such, for change. We brought pots and pans to football games; a group even performed for pep rallies and other school meetings.
There's something very primal and natural about drumming. Even if you can't, it's easy to get lost in the beat and start to feel a stirring within your soul.
I recently attended a women's retreat, where there was drumming. I really fell in love. I have never played percussion before, and it was difficult to go beyond the technical thought process...1, 2 and 3, 4...to just feeling it and letting go. I finally got there and have made it a point to drum a bit here at the house. It's meditative. I can either focus on something in particular, such as finding a solution to a problem, or I can let my mind wander. Let loose and be silly, or just go blank and be present.
I have been playing the viola for about a year and a half now. I really enjoy it, but I'm not a disciplined person...at least not yet. I found it really difficult to get into a routine to exercise and train my body to play correctly. However, I recently started writing my own music. It's great. Like a puzzle, and I first have to cut all the pieces. It's a good practice for my brain, and it is a bit more relaxed. You can jam on the viola. Actually, at the aforementioned retreat, there was a lady with a harp just free flowing. I never thought I would see that.
I'd really like to get a couple more drums and at least one ukelele. My son and I attended a free class at Nashville Violins, where I took viola, and it is really easy to pick up. It's the perfect size for youngin's, too. Ah! I just realized I traded the fiddle for the drum, literally! PS: I do recommend Nashville Violins. It's over in West Nashville, right off of 40. The shop is adorable, and there are lots of talented teachers for just about any instrument. I loved getting to know my teacher, Christi, and the owner, Dave, who has a wonderfully dark sense of humor.
I know this has nothing to do with food, but I think having a creative outlet is necessary for our well-being. Plus, it beats watching another lame reality show any day.
As a special treat, here's a video of my recital this past winter. I'm a little shaky due to stage fright...but you get the idea.