There are some of you know this but there are many of you don’t know this. I will share one story about myself, along with some inspirations, so that should be interesting for you to read. 😛
Many years ago, I was just a kid who have many wild ideas ranging from wanting to be wrestlers to be a police officer. Every day I would visit my grandparent’s house over in Williamson, where the heart of the family was before they left this earth but nonetheless, when I visited I would often be sitting on the main couch as they had two couches and only one couch that sits in front of television. The other couch is used as a bed. Like I said, the heart of the family meaning my entire family on my mother’s side so my uncle, my grandparents, my aunt and my mother with a puppy named Midnight.
I admit I watched my uncle very close, I always looked him up regardless that he was an alcoholic and often when I am around he was more of cheer-y person. I remember that I wanted to be the Ultimate Warrior, no, I wanted to be Hulk Hogan, never mind that, I wanted to be The Rock and then I dreamed up of wanting to be a police officer or be something – its norms for the kids at that age to have these wild dreams of wanting to be whatever. Anyway, every day on that couch and often only person who sat there is me and my uncle, so this means I am the closest to him most. I would sometimes see music videos on television while sitting with him, being Deaf I never understood what’s the music is all about, but I would often notice that my uncle Brian would softly pat his feet and his hands. So, being Deaf and child – CONFUSING! So, I kept watching my uncle Brian now and then when the music comes on as he would be tapping his feet while softly slapping both of his hands on one of his leg.
Finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked my uncle Brian what he was doing. He would start explaining the music, that it’s sounds and the love of his instruments – Drums.
From there, I would get a folding table because I needed some place to lay some plates of foods for me to eat. That table, he’d find some sticks and start drumming on it as he figured that where it’d be loud so that it’d be enough for me to be able to hear it. I barely could, so he puts my hands on the table and he’d drum some notes and say, “copy me”. So, I did and from there I immediately fell in love with the feeling and sounds of the drum. So, he gave me a lesson.
Left, Left, Right, Left, Right, Right, Left, Right, Left, Left and repeat. So, I practiced. I was just in grade school at that time. So, after a few days I showed him my result and he said do it faster. So, I did, and he said now memorize these rhythms. So, I did and then from there he’d teach me some notes from Eye of The Tiger and We Will Rock You along with a few songs of The Whitesnake. Few weeks later, I’d already memorized the notes that he’d use with his tapping feet (bass) and two hands on one leg (solos). When there were a music coming up, if the songs that he likes he’ll start playing and I’ll join him, so it’d be both of us keeping in syncs with the notes and rhythms. When the grade school decided to become a middle school, so I had to move to another grade school for only one year as I only had one year left before I can go to a middle school and when that happened I came back to that same school that just became a middle school from grade. I realized that they added one new class and I got excited – I told myself I MUST JOIN THAT! So, I did and from there I was pretty much trained thanks to my uncle Brian, so I know how it goes with the notes and such. Got my own first solo drums first time, I was the only drummer there until a year later when a student which was also a friend of mine Jordan Tyler Curry who joined and now we had drums team. We’d compete each other’s to better ourselves, even ignoring our band teacher’s order as telling us to not do anything while he’s speaking and me being myself I was careless, so I kept on drumming. Band teacher would warn me once, twice and then took my sticks telling me that he’d hold them for the day. From there, I realize that without sticks I was nobody. So, I asked the band teacher repeatedly – please can I have them back? At first, he responded no so I could learn the lesson and with bothering him by keeping on asking him for them so then he asked me if I would for once to listen him without interrupting? So, I said ok. Anything to get these sticks back and he gave them back, so I was thrilled.
Fast forward to high school, it was a whole different atmosphere and building as the band were bigger. But with the same teacher, as this band teacher named Mike Oliver who taught me in middle school is also my high school band teacher as he teaches band at both schools. When I got there, most students interested more in flutes and saxes. But there were 2 drummers excluding me, 2 bass drummers and others. When the class started in band, the band teacher started teaching some notes and the how-tos until he gets to the drums. He puts me out on the spot and pretty much got me to help these new drummers. When that happened, I had a flash back going all the way back to that couch at my grandparents’ house, seeing something weird on television with a few of people acting crazy and seeing my uncle Brian tapping his feet with his hands on his leg – I smiled.
Drums became my life. Now, it’s something that I get to carry – my uncle’s love too. Cause, I showed them the note for them to start with first.
Left, Left, Right, Left, Right, Right, Left, Right, Left, Left and repeat. Speed it until they feel comfortable with. Just like my uncle Brian did with me. Without that important lesson from the person that I looked up to then I don’t know what I’d be today.
Joshua “Joshie” Sullivan