#883: The student becomes the master, Part 1

The Boy is, in his mother’s humble opinion, a pretty good drummer. I’ve watched him with his father during a drum lesson, the two of them face-to-face, while the teacher beats out something from simple to intricate, and the student follows. The Boy is a patient and attentive student. But it was only recently that I had the opportunity to see that he’s also a pretty good teacher.

After a recent outing to Steve’s Music Store, where the Boy and his father looked longingly at new drums, the Boy said to me that evening, “Are you busy tonight, Mama?”

“No, why? What would you like to do?” I replied, internally sighing and envisioning an evening of playing his favourite game, Little Big Planet.

To my surprise, he replied, “I’d like to give you a drumming lesson.”

“But I’m not very good. I really don’t think I’d like it.”

“It’s okay. You can try just a little bit.”

Inside the drummer’s studio—big drums, little drums

So I gave it a try to amuse him. The point isn’t whether I learned anything (but of course, I did). It’s that he showed real patience and skill not only as a drummer, but as an instructor as well. I could tell that he’s been paying close attention and listening to his own instructor pretty clearly, and was eager to pass on the knowledge of something that he loved.

He started off by playing something simple, then having me to repeat it. Then he patiently named all the drums for me, and asked me questions: “This is the floor tom. That’s the snare. That’s a high-hat. Hit your cymbals for me. Good. Do you know what that is? Good, it’s a cow bell. . . .” He showed me how to hold my sticks properly, how to cross my hands, and the symbol you use when you want the other person to stop playing so you can talk to each other (sticks crossed together in an X, raised above your head). He was informative and patient.

And when I jokingly challenged him to a drum-off, I got silly and deliberately played something really awful to see how he would judge it, then turned to him and asked, “Who won the drum-off? Was I better, or were you better? Did I win? Huh? Did I? Did I?” He looked at me kindly, like an adult not wanting to hurt a kid’s feelings, and replied, “We both played very well. We were both good.” He was kind and tactful.

No joking, by the end of our brief lesson, he actually gave me the desire to learn to play drums properly, something that I hadn’t experienced whenever I sat down with the Beloved Husband in front of the drums (no offense to the BH’s method of teaching). There’s nothing that makes a person want to improve and be better, more than a wonderful teacher, and especially if that teacher is one’s own child.