Just Wondering...

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jay norem

Guest
So here's the deal. The kid who lives next door, I guess he's about 13 or 14, he's learning to play the drums. He's a very nice young man, very polite and smart, and he knows that I play jazz and drum professionaly.
Every day I hear him playing and he's all over the place. There's no rhyme or reason to his practice regime, if you could call it that. There are times when I'm just dying to go over there and show him a couple of things that he could work on to improve his time and technique, but he's never asked and neither have his parents.
It's sort of bothering me because what I hear is someone with no real direction flailing away at it. I know he plays in the school marching band but it doesn't seem to have had any impact on his set drumming.
I feel bad just sitting here listening to him pounding away in bad time, trying to play stuff that's way beyond him and not working on real fundamentals. But I'd feel odd about offering to show him some things because I don't want to get myself into something that could go any number of ways. After all I have to live with these people as my next door neighbors.
So I'm wondering, what's you guys take on this? Should I just mind my own business?
 
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blade123

Guest
If he is practicing, that means that he likes drumming. I think he would LOVE for you to come over and show him something. I would love it if someone would come to my house to teach me something (even though I'm decent and I have a killer teacher).
 
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nhzoso

Guest
Sounds like he may want the help but maybe his parents cannot afford a teacher so they told him not to ask because you are their neighbor also. I guess you should decide if ya just want to show him a few things for free or not. If you do than maybe some kind of ice breaker like asking him what kind of kit he has and if you can see it then take it from there.
 

caddywumpus

Archnemesis of Larryace
...I guess you should decide if ya just want to show him a few things for free or not. If you do than maybe some kind of ice breaker like asking him what kind of kit he has and if you can see it then take it from there.

I like the ice-breaker. It's a shame for two people who love drums to live next to each other and never talk. If I were in your situation, I would try to catch him hanging outside or doing yardwork or something. As a neighbor, I would say hi and comment that I heard him drumming. I would ask about his kit, if he's in any bands, what his favorite groups are...just show a genuine interest in him and what he's doing, even if it's not my thing. If it feels right, I might ask him what he's working on or say something like, "There's this cool pattern (groove, fill, whatever) that I'm working on right now. Dude, you've got to check this out!" It might encourage him to look for broader musical horizons.

There's nothing wrong with being friendly and talking drums with another drummer. Offering a little of yourself and your experience could really have an impact on this kid. I still have memories of my neighbor when I was growing up. He heard me practicing my clarinet in the backyard (I was in 4th grade) and he invited me over to "jam". I brought over a book with some simple stuff I was playing, and he played keyboard along with me. I thought it was soooo cool then. Thinking back to it now, he obviously didn't get anything out of it...he was just being a nice neighbor. But, because of him, I plan on doing the same for my neighbor's kids when they grow up. Pass it on or "pay it forward" or whatever you want to call it...the world sure needs more of it.
 

Class A Drummer

Pioneer Member
Next time you see him, be like, "so i hear you drumming alot, mind if i gave you a few pointers some time?"
 
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jay norem

Guest
These are all wonderful ideas guys. Yes, I have talked to him about his drumming, but only in a sort of round-about way. One thing I guess I should mention is that his parents are very...southern. VERY southern, if you get my meaning. They see me as something of an odd-ball, staying up all night and not going to work during the day. Very religious, but also very, well, southern if you see what I mean. Really, really southern. Hoo boy.
What can I say? Use your imagination. Ever watch an episode of "Cops?" Yep, it's pretty much like that.
The kid was actually taken away from the parents by the child protective service for awhile. Their house is a...well it's...maybe you get the idea.
Welcome to the old south.
It's kind of a weird situation.
 

GruntersDad

Honorary Lifetime CEO
Staff member
I agree with Nhzoso. When I was about that age I knew the man down the street had a small soundproof room in his house but never asked. One day while mowing the lawn he and his wife were walking the dog and he said he knew I was playing and asked if I wanted to come down and check out his stuff. I was in seventh heaven. Only did it once but what an inspiration to play on a monster set in a room where no one would mind.
Just ask his parents if you can approach him about showing him your kit and maybe let him play a bit. As long as you are just advising for free it could lead to other things. In todays day and age I wouldn't approach him but talk to his parents first.
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
These are all wonderful ideas guys. Yes, I have talked to him about his drumming, but only in a sort of round-about way. One thing I guess I should mention is that his parents are very...southern. VERY southern, if you get my meaning. They see me as something of an odd-ball, staying up all night and not going to work during the day. Very religious, but also very, well, southern if you see what I mean. Really, really southern. Hoo boy.
What can I say? Use your imagination. Ever watch an episode of "Cops?" Yep, it's pretty much like that.
The kid was actually taken away from the parents by the child protective service for awhile. Their house is a...well it's...maybe you get the idea.
Welcome to the old south.
It's kind of a weird situation.

Then given the "southern" reference maybe you should go help that boy...he needs you and you may find after all you need him...I think it would be great that you give the little guy so direction that his parents may not be giving and help break some of those "very southern" roots! Go for it Jay help the kid out seriously, I would except I need lessons as well!!! Can you drop by my house in San Diego?

Seriously, I think that young man may actually get a whole new set of thinking if you were to help get into the drums! Let us know how that goes!
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
. Thinking back to it now, he obviously didn't get anything out of it...he was just being a nice neighbor. But, because of him, I plan on doing the same for my neighbor's kids when they grow up. Pass it on or "pay it forward" or whatever you want to call it...the world sure needs more of it.

Dude, I bet that friendly neighbor got a ton out of it, knowing that he was rocking your little world by doing that...he was over joyed inside knowing that he was breathing inspiration into your life.
 

Nodiggie

Gold Member
You never know what kind of positive impact you may have on a life if you don't take a chance and put your best foot forward.

I moved into my new neighborhood and 3 houses down in the garage was this huge 10 pc or larger drum set. Went over and introduced myself. The kid is not really a drummer but a unbelievable guitar player (won the Shred Like Ed) contest at GC over here. We are now very good friends and recently got to play The Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood!

I was blessed to have met this young man.
 

byronand

Member
very, well, southern if you see what I mean. Really, really southern...SNIP... It's kind of a weird situation.

Jay, are we talkin' "Deliverance" southern? If so, be careful man. Those folks have a short fuse and strange ways!

And, regardless, as GRUNTERSDAD mentioned, I think you've got to clear it with the parents first. Sad to say, but in this day and age, at least in the USA, you don't want to put yourself in a position where you can be wrongly accused of anything improper.

That being said, I totally agree that if you can ease into helping him out, you'll probably be able to make a positive difference for him that could be one of the turning-points of his life. So, yeh, go for it... help the kid out!
 

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zzdrummer

Senior Member
Aggreed with the others, see him outside one day and say hey i heard your drumming, if the parents don't approve theres not much you could do. I'm a little older than him and I would totally be open to it.
 

bojangleman

Platinum Member
if you get a chance to talk to the parents, have them talk to the kid, and see what he would like to do....

like blade said, i bet he would 'love' it....but also like byronand said, you have to watch it these days...

then just tell the parents to get back with you...i mean, you arent going to charge them...so i dont know what they would say no if it would make their kid better..

Alex
 

stasz

Platinum Member
Great thread jay. I hope as the 16 year-old I am I can provide the viewpoint of the young kid. When I started playing several years ago, I was having a blast. I didn't care what I was doing but I just loved being a drummer. (Admittedly, I still get that feeling sometimes... lol) It sounds like this kid is the same way and probably isn't so concerned about some of the more complicated aspects of drumming. And of course that's not a bad thing, after all the most important thing is to have fun.

...On the same coin, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't ever talk to him about drumming just because you two don't share the same practice routine. I like it best like caddywumpus said-- "It's a shame for two people who love drums to live next to each other and never talk.". I know that when I had just started drumming I loved talking to older drummers about the drums. If you can, I think it would be a great idea to talk to his family and become friends with them and have a chance to talk drums with the kid, if just casually as friends. Like also said above, just talking to the kid without talking to his parents or his parents knowing you might come across a little creepy, but I'm pretty sure you know that.

I think it just needs to be understood that this kid isn't so into technique or the same aspects of drumming as an accomplished drummer like you jay and he will learn more over time. In my opinion it's not your place to come over not being a paid teacher and showing the kid lots of things to play just because I believe he should discover what to play on his own unless he is paying a teacher to help him. But there's no denying you guys both share a love for playing the drums, so I don't think there should be a reason keeping you two from talking some drum as friends or playing on each other's kits for a little fun.
 

m1ck

Senior Member
Your predicament is understandable, given your concise explanation of it. I get the sense that your heart is in the right place. You obviously have a passion for drumming like most of us here, and you want to reach out to the lad next door in the spirit of brotherhood - with the universal language of music.

What do you think presents the strongest barrier, here? Is it more cultural or religious? You're not-so-subtle emphasis on "southern" implies REDNECK very strongly. To me, you're describing people mired in a culture of fear and ignorance - suspicious and critical, by default, of anyone not like them.

I can't think of any sage advice... Except that if you at least make an offer of some kind, it'll be off your chest. Even if it's refused.

Have you had much interaction with the parents? What's it like? Tense? Are you as afraid of them as they are of you? What makes you say they view you as an oddball? Is it an assumption (however reasonable) or certain knowledge?

Does the kid go to public school, or private? Are we talking Southern Gentleman, as in polished bigots? Or weeds growing through rusted hulls of cars on blocks in front of the house?

I ask sincerely. The fact that you brought it up here suggests that you have given this some thought and that it remains a personal challenge.

The longer I sit here thinking about this, the more it seems to me that doing nothing is like admitting defeat, or surrendering to fear.

I hope there's a breakthrough. Keep us posted.
 
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jay norem

Guest
Your predicament is understandable, given your concise explanation of it. I get the sense that your heart is in the right place. You obviously have a passion for drumming like most of us here, and you want to reach out to the lad next door in the spirit of brotherhood - with the universal language of music.

What do you think presents the strongest barrier, here? Is it more cultural or religious? You're not-so-subtle emphasis on "southern" implies REDNECK very strongly. To me, you're describing people mired in a culture of fear and ignorance - suspicious and critical, by default, of anyone not like them.

I can't think of any sage advice... Except that if you at least make an offer of some kind, it'll be off your chest. Even if it's refused.

Have you had much interaction with the parents? What's it like? Tense? Are you as afraid of them as they are of you? What makes you say they view you as an oddball? Is it an assumption (however reasonable) or certain knowledge?

Does the kid go to public school, or private? Are we talking Southern Gentleman, as in polished bigots? Or weeds growing through rusted hulls of cars on blocks in front of the house?

I ask sincerely. The fact that you brought it up here suggests that you have given this some thought and that it remains a personal challenge.

The longer I sit here thinking about this, the more it seems to me that doing nothing is like admitting defeat, or surrendering to fear.

I hope there's a breakthrough. Keep us posted.

I didn't want to use the term "redneck." But...okay?
I know these people. I've even tried to help them out when they were really getting down there, more than once. I've given them a little money, I had the husband come over to do some handy-man work in my house (he was drunk as a skunk, started cursing and scared the hell out my wife), I've dealt with these people quite a lot since we bought this house.
They have guns. They smoke pot. They get drunk. Sometimes the cops show up.
All I can say is...you should see how they live. They have three broken down cars sitting in their back yard and a couple more in their driveway. Welcome to the old south.
The thing is that this is a pretty nice street in a pretty nice neighborhood. But...
I don't mean to sound like I'm standing in judgement of these people, but...man.
Yeah, my heart goes out to this really cool kid who wants so much to be a drummer. Maybe this goes beyond anything that can really be addressed on this forum. All I know is that I really feel for the kid.
The strongest barrier? I'm not like them. My wife is a foreigner. They have nothing resembling an education. Yes, I find them rather scary. They're from a long line of people just like them. Tobacco road and all that. Very southern. And it kills me to see this smart kid, who really wants to be a drummer, having to deal with all that.
 

m1ck

Senior Member
Okay, well that clarifies things... and your dilemma is all the more understandable.

But...

You could be this kid's doorway to another world. Lessons would definitely have to be at your place, though...
 

Mr. Pasquini

Gold Member
just talk to the kid if you see him outside. When I first started playing (and still) it's amazing to talk to someone experienced with the instrument. If nothing else you could really make the kid happy for a day, and worse case the parental units get all fumed. I'm originally from a little town in NC and I have neighbors JUST LIKE the ones you describe here. I'd say give it a go *shrug*
 

Jason Schenk

Junior Member
Go for it. Help the kid out. I can imagine that the kid probably had to beg for those drums for a long time. Not trying to be judgemental but people like that probably think that any idiot can hit a drum and they aren't gonna spend any of their dope and drinking money on his lessons.

"Boy, hurry up and finish that crap I can't hear Jerry Springer!"
 
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Big_Philly

Guest
very...southern. VERY southern. (...) Really, really southern. Hoo boy.

They probably like NASCAR too, right? lol

But yeah, I agree, you should talk to the kid when you see him outside, and you could even invite him over to try your drums. If his parents are drunk and stoned they won't even notice, but chances are they won't mind him hanging with you and learning more about drumming. And if they do you'd still have nothing to worry about, your conscience is clear, right? You're trying to be a nice neighbour and teach the kid something. If they mind that, well, that's their loss.
 
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