I started drumming around 5 or 6. My parents were in a classic rock band and held their practices/rehearsals at our home. Their drummer would leave his kit set up at our house in between practices & shows, and he did not mind that if I messed around on it. I joined the school band in 6th grade and played percussion. I had quit having anything to do with drumming after having to choose between being in band, and playing sports in school. It wasn't until about 3 years ago or about 15 years later that I had any interest in starting to play again. I had seen someone play a djembe with an acoustic band and was very intrigued! Fortunately, a few weeks later I was having a discussion with a friend who owned the 8' djembe that I now own; which I had traded my guitar for. They said they never really played with it, and would like to learn guitar. So, we made a trade!
I've taught myself mostly through reading, watching others, and practice. However, I assume my experience isn't like most. I have two very close friends who I'm in a band with now (well one, because one left, but two at the time). Once I started learning all of the techniques, and sounds, I was asked to come play along. This is my first band, and the majority of my practice has been at live shows! Personally, I don't think there is any better practice than that.
Drumming is a way to connect with one’s self through feeling vibrations, and moving with energy that surrounds you. It's a great release of negative energies that may be built up within, and can have a transcendental feel once you've found your 'groove' per se.
I play different size djembes (two are Tocas (9'/12') one is hand-crafted (8')) which all have unique sounds. The tapping of the drum with the finger tips, fingers, and palms with grace & love illuminates sounds for the soul. Drum circles are a way to connect with music, sound, vibration and feelings. Once the rhythm becomes consistent, and steady, the collaborative sound that the drums make is something that I don't believe that can be described in words. It's really something to experience for the self.
Advice for beginners, I'd say to learn your own feel for the drum. The techniques, tools, tips will all help your create your style, but it's ultimately the comfort you find in meshing with the rhythm, beat of the drum, and vibe of the music. I would also suggest finding a friend or small group of friend in which you can play along with regularly. This will help broaden your playing skills by being able to embrace all the different ways there are to play! But, most of all, enjoy it and have fun! If you're doing it because you enjoy it, you're passionate about it, and you love doing it then everything else will fall into place!
Feel free to check out our FB band page, and blog for pictures, too.
There is no better practice, they say, than just getting out there and DOING it! Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jeremy! Drummers, tell us why YOU love drumming and drum circles! We'd love to share your story, too!