Old man. New tricks. - FamilyEducation

Old man. New tricks.

July 25,2008
With K-Man on lead guitar and vocals, we live in a pretty musical house. We almost always have the iPod going, and when it’s not, K-Man is usually serenading us (or the dog) with an original tune or two. During K-Man’s concerts, I will grab a pillow and back him up on drums. He seems to like this. And, since at one point in my life I was a decent musician (trumpet), I can (mostly) keep a beat. K-Man and I make quite a little band. (Drums and guitar – we’re like the White Stripes. Only K-Man would probably prefer we be called the Firefighters.)

Even though I played the piano and then the trumpet growing up, I’ve always been a bit more of a drummer. I can’t get the feet thing right, but I’m always pounding out beats on pillows, counter tops and, of course, K-Man’s cute little butt. Recently, on one of my business trips, I saw a movie called The Visitor. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a lonely dude who, later in life, takes up the Djembe drum. (There’s much more to this political drama/independent film, but for the purposes of this post – it’s about the drum.)

As I watched the movie, I became intrigued with the idea of picking up the Djembe. It’s been a while since I really learned anything new (other than new things about myself), and I’ve been inspired by K-Man’s musical interests. When I returned home from the trip, I started researching the drums online. And I even found a somewhat famous Djembe musician who lived near my house. Finally, I asked K-Man, “Do you want daddy to buy a drum?” He was literally giddy in his response.

So, today…I bought my first Djembe drum.

My drum was made in Africa – though, I didn’t get all the details of the village where it’s from (other than that making these drums is the main source of income for the people). It’s a good starter drum – one that will last me for a while, but also one that won’t make me feel too bad if I don’t get into it as much as I’d like. (My lessons start next week.) I couldn’t wait for K-Man to see it.

I picked him up from school (the drum was already at home). “What do you want to do, K-Man?” I asked. “I want to go to a park with a pole.” I knew this, but feeling a bit tired and not really in the mood to lift him 50 or 100 times onto the “firefighter pole” at the park, I said, “Daddy got his new drum today. Want to go home and see it?” That got his attention. “I want to go HOME!” So, home we went for our first official gig together.

Although the drum was probably a bit bigger and louder than he (or I) expected, our first rehearsal was a resounding success (I think). We jammed for about 10 minutes (with K-Man getting as much time on the new drum as I did). It was a good session, but it was interrupted by something far more important: “I wannnna eat!” Food apparently trumps even a cool new African Djembe drum.

There’s something kind of cool about this drum. Aside from the obvious things like – it’s an African drum! I can’t wait to play more with K-Man. Who knows? Maybe we’ll write some songs together. But, I REALLY can’t wait to learn some basics, start practicing and join my (soon-to-be) teacher’s weekly drum circle. I just love that idea.

I hope this all takes. As I’ve said – I think about K-Man years from now recounting his childhood. I kind of like the thought of hearing him talk about “gigging” with his old man. I like the idea of playing music together. This old dog learning new tricks could be the beginning of something really special for a kid and his dad.