andy-doerschuk

Be a Better Drummer

For the first time in the history of my past 165 editor’s columns, I’d like to deviate from my usual anecdotes about a drumming life to address something that doesn’t involve sticks. So if you want nothing but drums in your drumming magazine, no worries. Within a couple of page turns you’ll arrive at the beginning of this very special Groove Issue — jam packed with practical tips, lessons, and insights from well-known drummers and teachers.

Is everyone else still with me? Cool, because I have one simple idea to share. And it’s all about sharing.

A year ago, almost everybody felt as if they had fallen through a trapdoor. Homeowners saw equity disappear. Small business owners watched receipts shrivel. Millions of workers lost jobs, benefits, and retirement savings. It was hard to predict when we would hit the bottom.

Now, finally, thankfully, there are reasons to feel cautiously optimistic. While the unemployment rate is still high, fewer people are losing jobs every month. Word is that the fourth quarter of 2009 showed a modest up-tick in economic activity. Consumers — ever the lifeblood of the American economy — have begun to feel a bit more willing to spend disposable income.

But we’re not out of the woods. It looks like it’s going to be a long, slow recovery. In the meantime, you might be surprised to learn how many of your neighbors — people you wave to in the morning on the way to work — are struggling to make ends meet. And some are hungry, even as you read this.

That’s why, late last year, I donated as much as I could spare to my local food bank and agreed to volunteer once a week to help feed hungry people in my community. I can’t overstate how rewarding it is to give something back to the neighborhood in which you live.

I’m realistic, though. I know that some folks don’t have the resources to donate cash, even to a cause in which they strongly believe. But that doesn’t have to stop you from pitching in. As for me, I go every Sunday to our local farmers market to collect unsold produce that would otherwise go bad, and haul it back to our food bank to be distributed to families in need.

And there are a million other ways to help — it just takes some creativity and will. Here’s the crazy thing: I fully believe that what you give will come back to you in myriad ways. In that sense, it will make you a better drummer, even if it doesn’t help you play faster fills.

As always, thanks for reading DRUM! Magazine, and for putting up with my 166th rant. We now return to our regular programming.

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