Hi, all! It’s Becca, again!
I love music! I can’t sit in my room without my iTunes playing. I am in the UConn Marching Band in the fall, the Concert Band in the spring and I participate in my community band when I’m home for the summer. I live and breathe music and am always looking for ways to expand my musical horizons. Last spring, I took an Honors Core class (required classes for Honors students) Music, Nature and the Environment. I learned a lot about the history of music and I was exposed to a wide variety of instrumental and vocal music dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. It was really interesting.
Another way I have begun to expand my musical knowledge has been through learning how to play snare drum. I have been playing flute since fifth grade and I dabbled in piano when I was in elementary school but I don’t know much about percussion. My brother, Brendan, chose to play percussion in fifth grade but that held no interest for me, until last year.
I joined the UCMB on a whim and absolutely love it. My high school didn’t have a marching band so preseason (the two weeks before the beginning of the UConn fall semester when the Band practices everyday) was my first exposure to moving and playing simultaneously but also to the foreign world of marching percussion. Honestly nothing really struck me about them, aside from their loudness but all of the instruments which seemed
pretty cool. My favorites are the tenors because I rarely thought of drums having pitch and playing notes. They seemed like strictly rhythm instruments. I liked them because they seemed the most musical. Throughout my first Band season, I became friends with a lot of members of the drum line and a lot of them needled the wind players because our music was so much easier than theirs (blah, blah, blah). I didn’t believe them. I don’t like to believe most things without experiencing or trying then out first. So, I asked my friend Ken to teach me how to play snare drum. I thought it was going to be so easy and that I would be able to play at least all of the exercises and excerpts of a show within a few months.
I was quite wrong. It’s been over a year since Ken started teaching me the drums and I only three times have I been up to a level where I can play them at normal tempos (>115 bpm). I’m just getting used to marking time and playing with a metronome. It’s been quite a journey with weekly lessons and practicing when I needed a homework break. Initially, Ken loaned me his
old practice pad and a pair of his sticks but for my birthday he bought me my very own Vic Firth Slimpad! It was an awesome reward for all of my hard work. I still use his sticks but there one of about thirty pairs (only a very slight exaggeration) so he doesn’t really miss them. I have begun to love snare drum and appreciate it’s difficulty. Percussion instruments are much different than wind instruments. Keeping in time and really feeling the beat and not questioning it is critical and so different than playing different tones. I still love the flute but snare drum is new and different. It’s really frustrating that I’m not “good” yet but hopefully by the end of my time at UConn I’ll be able to play the cadence, which is what the drum line plays during pregame for all of the football games (see the video below)! Wish me luck!