The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

A simple start and some introductions

Drumming rehearsal tonight, which I look forward to.

The drummers are still fairly new, but rapidly gaining skill and confidence.

We have been sounding really good in our last few rehearsals, and in our last actual performance played well above our heads and had the crowd energized and bouncing.  Things are looking up.

A quick, anonymous introduction.

The Troupe has 5 drummers at the moment.

1) T.  Me.

2) N.  N is a good drummer, been playing steadily with me for a few years.   Doesn’t practice nearly enough, but has a very nice steady groove and a solid Doum and consistent Tek.   Believe me that is crucial.  He has some shyness issues on stage, and still cannot watch the dancers and drum at the same time.   Not that I don’t understand.   Having 4-9 gorgeous women all twirling, shaking, bouncing and laughing in front of you is the very definition of distracting.  N plays a nice aluminum-enamel doumbek, 17″ sized, that has a very deep Doum and a ringing, musical Tek.

3) C.  C is a new drummer, been playing now for about 4 months.  Got his first lesson from me, and knows enough to comfortably play with us.  Is still developing stamina, which simply takes time and practice.  C plays a big African Djimbe (essentially a large doumbek, but with a wooden body and cowhide drum head).  It is literally 30 inches tall, and has a 21″ drum head.   It weighs about 30 pounds, and looks bigger than he does when he sits down to play it.   On the plus side, it has a big, meaty Doum.  The kind of Doum that has women disrobing once they hear it.  The downside is it is big and bouncy, and takes a lot of strength, energy and stamina to play.   For a short set (10 minutes or so) C has no problems.   In longer sets, he fades.   (Lack of stamina is absolutely normal in a new drummer.  It takes time to develop the hand strength and the endurance.  Again, practice, practice, practice.)

4) D.  D is a new drummer as well.  He started when C did.  He is doing well, but has a tendency to get a bit lost in the beat, and then rush back in to “catch up”.   However, he improves every time we rehearse, so I have no worries he will be able to perform with us by the time the next gigs roll around in September.  He did well in our May performances, and as far as I am concerned, just getting up on the stage, and not running in terror or panic is half the battle.   D plays a basic (read: Used and Cheap) doumbek, just like I do.

5) K.  K is a brand new drummer.  Literally, less than a month.  However, he has a big advantage, in that he is a professional guitarist, and has music theory and timing down.   All he needs is technique, a solid grounding in the actual rhythms we use, and lots of practice to develop strength and stamina.   As a new drummer, and this is every new drummer, his Doums and Teks are inconsistent.  Sometimes they are clear and strong, other times muffled, jumbled and weak.  However, as a professional, he understands all about practice, and is drumming at least an hour a day.   His progress is fun to watch.   K plays a brand new, shiny new, professional series drum.   He had the cash, and bought the one that sounded best to him.   It has a nice range, but is not terribly forgiving in terms of its striking areas, so he will need to develop a lot of precision in his techniques.

So, that is us, as we are today on Wednesday, July 22, 2009.

Tonight’s rehearsal will start with the basic performance piece that we use.  We will do some speed and stamina building exercises in the middle, and end with a new rhythm, and some call and answer theory and practice.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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