Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Friday, September 29, 2006 Little Drummer Boy
Last spring, when we were down in Iowa visiting Trash's mom, I brought M. Small up to the locally-owned music store a few blocks from her house. I figured he might enjoy looking at the guitars. He likes looking at cars, after all. If one kind of shiny, curvy, brightly colored shape with metallic hardware attracts his interest, why wouldn't another? And even if he didn't like looking at guitars, I do.
When we got inside, he looked at the rows of guitars hanging on the wall with what I can only call polite interest. "Pwee," he admitted reluctantly, his word at the time for "pretty." He did smile when I strummed a few chords for him on a bright blue acoustic, his favorite color. But the Marshall stacks in the back pumping out Stevie Ray Vaughan music were just about the only thing in the store capable of drumming up a significant guitar-related interest in him.
Did I say "drumming up?" I did, didn't I? Which is odd, because the one thing he was fascinated by was the drum kits. He went up to one of them and started patting his bare palm on the snare. I'm pretty sure he would have done that all day if I'd let him. Maybe even long enough to find a beat.
When we got back to the house, I told Trash, "Well, your son's a drummer." Neither of us thought any more about it for a while.
Then we went to a Fourth of July parade, where the drum corps were even more fascinating to him than the horses. Then he caught the climactic scene of Drumline one day on cable, and was more riveted to it than he ever has been to a Dora the Explorer video. Then he saw all the drums at the Minnesota State Fair parade, and while he was sitting on my shoulders he got so excited that he very nearly pinched my head clean off. Then he found his toy drum again, and it became the only thing he would allow me to strap to him without protest (including his car seat).
Last weekend, I finally took him to Guitar Center to buy him his first set of sticks.
That wasn't the only reason, mind you. I was also getting guitar hangers, because after the remodel I'm finally going to have enough wall space to install some. But I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't more excited about the drumsticks. And I'm pretty sure he was too.
I know nothing about shopping for drumsticks, and I figured the hardcore guys behind the drum counter would laugh at me if I told them I wanted to buy a pair that would be longer than the legs of the person using them, so I just picked out what looked like the lightest pair. Then I carried M. Small over to the nearest drum kit, sat down on the stool with him on my lap, and handed him the sticks without taking off the cardboard sleeve that holds them together. He tapped lightly and hesitantly on the snare a few times. Then I turned so he could tap on the floor tom. Which he did. Then he started hitting the floor tom harder. I turned him back to the snare, where he began making gunshot noises. So, enough with the drum kit.
Still, he was excited. He had his sticks out of the sleeve before the sales guy found my guitar hangers, and was drumming on my head while I paid. In the car, he rapped incessantly on the crossbar of his car seat and announced to me, over and over, "I drummed."
We're really not trying to be stage-parenty about this. Just the opposite. He's not even two yet, and I'm sure there's nothing abnormal or even all that special about his wanting to hit things with wooden sticks at this age. And of all his toys, his new drumsticks are barely his favorite. We're really not pushing anything, I promise.
But don't tell Trash. If I can get a drum kit out of this, it's totally worth it. posted by M. Giant 8:54 PM 3 comments
Have you read The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass? Probably not, since I don't think anyone outside either Germany or my terrible German studies college class has ever looked at it, but it's about this kid who is given a drum set at three and does nothing but drum to communicate and decides to stop growing and then starts screaming so high-pitched that he breaks glass. Essentially, it's a cautionary tale about giving a drum to a toddler.
I would totally run with this- because I'm amazed at the natural rhythm of many little kids. Rock parent away sir! If you play the guitar when he drums you might be amazed at the cohesiveness of his playing. Well maybe more when he's 3...