"I wanna play drums and rock, and I'm gonna name my band Flaming Snot!" shouted the teenage boy with skull tattoos, a pierced lip, and green Mohawk.
One also might envision a sweaty, long haired drummer dude, slammin' out some wicked grooves in a large stadium setting, with over 120 decibels of sound penetrating your ears. Motley Crue's Tommy Lee? Rush's Neil Peart? Living Colour's Will Calhoun? A Perfect Circle's Josh Freese? Ginger Baker, Tommy Aldridge, John Bonham or Ringo Starr?
How about a company job recruiter for a local downtown business, whose daughters are just beyond college age?
Maybe a wildlife rehabilitator who also performs educational birds of prey demonstrations, and whose kids are also beyond college age?
Her name might be Betsy? Or Mary?
Betsy Royals has been a student of mine for about three years. She started drumming as a hobby because one of her daughters, and my former student, went off to college. This left a drum set gathering dust in the basement. Betsy looked at those drums and thought, "I've always wanted to learn how to play drums. It seems like so much fun!" So, she gave me a call to set up drum lessons.
Betsy is learning her snare drum rudiments, has played through a snare drum duet book with me, is on her second drum set book, and recently started playing to recorded music. She picked Rock and Roll All Night, by KISS. No kidding. She recently stated, "I've decided I'd like to play in a rock band, you know, with other people." Very cool!
Mary Schmaus has been playing for a few years herself. When she called me to set up drum lessons, she exclaimed, "I want to be the next Tommy Lee!" Of course she was joking, but it was an awesome introduction to Mary's spirit. I loved it!
She told me that her mom always wanted to play drums as well, "But, back in the day, women didn't play drums, so mom plays the piano." Maybe the desire to play drums is genetic?
Mary is working through some difficult sections in her snare drum and drum set book. On the horizon, I envision her playing along to recorded tunes as well. Maybe a Motley Crue song? She'd have such a kick!
These are just two current examples. Over the years, several parents of students began to take lessons when their child was done with theirs, simply because it seemed like so much fun. One parent was an executive, and another a doctor. One turned out to be a pretty good jazz drummer. But for both, drumming was mostly a tension release. That's alright, as we all have our own reasons.
Learning to play a musical instrument is not age or gender dependent. It should simply be for enjoyment, so go for it! Choose an instrument, seek out a local music teacher for lessons, and rock out (or jazz) like no other!