Singer tries drums and fails miserably

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Ordinarily I wouldn't post something like this, but it is both funny, true, and sad at the same time.

Long story short - this past Sunday when I showed up for early rehearsal I was told we have a new drummer for the rotation in the praise band. She'll play 1 song and would I mind mentoring her? Okay, No problem I thought.

It was one of the teens that regularly sings in the choir and has a good voice.

Red Flag #1. I come to find out she was supposed to play next Sunday but either her or her parents encouraged or insisted she play this past Sunday. She was emailed the material a few days ago but someone in her family forgot to give it to her. She didn't know the songs we were going to play and had never listened to them. So they show up wanting her to play anyway.

Red Flag #2. Upon ushering her into the drum booth and giving her a pair of sticks, she confessed to me that she had never played drum set before but she plays hand drums and had played marimba in junior high. I'm starting to see a pattern...but I remain courteous and hopeful....

Red Flag #3. The song she chose to play was the first one on the order and it is very fast and challenging if you have never even listened to it. So the song starts and she's fumbling around, as I expected she would. They stop the song so the leader and guitars and keys can discuss things. I begin to mentor this young lady by telling her the different parts of the kit, what the different drums do, etc. I see she is keeping a decent beat on the kick so I begin to tell her to just play quarter notes on the hats and kick and 2 and 4 on the snare. I recieve a very encouraging reply. Okay, maybe this might work....

Red Flag #4. The song starts and stops several more times and she fumbles every time, looking at me and saying she had no idea what she is doing. (About here I really wanted to say "no sh*t!", but I held my tongue and tried to give her the 1 minute pep talk....) I was trying to encourage her to calm down, relax, play quarter notes and just try to keep a solid beat is all that is needed. And as far as I could tell, she was keeping a solid beat on the kick, so we have something to start with....

Red Flag #5. The poor girl starts crying. Being the father of 2 daughters myself and a granddaughter, my fatherly/grandfatherly mode took over. I was trying to calm her down and ease her mind. But in the end she said she didn't want to continue and trots off to the ladies room to compose herself. All the while I am thinking poor kid! She was thrown into a situation guaranteed to make her fail. Being a sideman all I could do was lend an understanding ear and try to encourage her and mentor her.

So I take over the kit we finish rehearsal.... The service goes fine.

To wrap this up, I feel very strongly, even had to restrain myself from pulling her parents aside (who are pillars of that church) and chewing them out for pushing their sweet daughter into something that is guaranteed to make her fail immediately and make her look the fool. No wonder she broke down. She had NO experience playing drum kit and wasn't even prepared! And her parents KNEW that!

It never ceases to amaze me how some people can think that they or family members can play a drum kit perfectly the first time never having even touched one before.
 
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Magenta

Platinum Member
Oh poor kid. That's the sort of bad experience that can ruin things.

You're right on the money when you say that people don't realise how difficult it is to play a drum kit. After all, everybody taps on the table/steering wheel/work surface, and everybody knows that drummers aren't proper musicians, so it can't be THAT hard, can it?

Confidence is such a fragile thing, I really feel for her. In whose world is it a good idea to set somebody up to fail? How do people think things are going to turn out, if there's a complete absence of preparation? Grr.
 

brady

Platinum Member
In whose world is it a good idea to set somebody up to fail? How do people think things are going to turn out, if there's a complete absence of preparation? Grr.
That would be the part where Rogue mentioned her parents being "pillars of the church".

IME of all the churches, in numerous states, that I have gone to over the years, there are always a handful of these folks who demand (and usually get) their way about such things.

I've always hated that there is such a pecking order in a lot of churches and certain people always have to be accommodated.

However, this thread isn't about that. I just hate to see young kids being subjected to such experiences just because her parents think something is owed to them.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Ugh. Contemporary culture offers so many opportunities for people to experience themselves as failures (especially women), I wonder why her parents would actually create this one for her? Sounds like you handled it very thoughtfully and compassionately RD.

Now, could you please arrange the delivery of a flaming bag of dog poo to her parents' front porch?

Jason
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Honestly pillars or not I think it would be worth having the music director pulling the parents aside to discuss this with them and let them know, politely, the reality of what it takes to be a drummer and that it's necessary for their daughter to have time to prepare for rehearsal by having time to practice at home. That what happened with her embarrassment in front of the rest of the band could have possibly been prevented. Again I would suggest this to the worship leader and him handle it. I think it would also be a good idea to suggest to your worship leader that if someone wants to join the band that they essentially audition first to prove that they can play.

Feel bad for her and for the situation she was thrust into. Parents like that aggravate the crap out of me.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Random thoughts about this situation (sorry, I'm a list person):

1. Church politics is difficult to deal with. With that said, the parents are ignorant, clueless, and should be ashamed of themselves. I'll bet that neither parent is a musician. This lack of self-awareness is astounding for those that have managed to procreate.

2. With my assumption that the worship leader is actually a paid staff person, this should not have been YOUR job to deal with this situation. The worship leader should have handled it, not you. The worship leader should have not even let her behind the drum set.

3. Maybe your church ought to explore an audition process from now on. We do it, and it saves people much embarrassment.

4. Not to start a religious discussion, but Psalm 33 says that we should play skillfully. I think that the church lets this slide A LOT of the time.
 

Thunder 42

Silver Member
Gentle re-direct to lead, paid or not, is the cure. Parents need a private conversation, pillars or not. Lead may also.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
It all boils down to, Drums are easy to play, anyone can play drums. Bless your patience
 

Headbanger

Senior Member
Some of the reactions here are a bit harsh, it seems to me like an honest mistake by non-musician parents. If the girl is any kind of decent player on the hand drums, people don't always know that the drum kit is even a different instrument.

This story reminds me of my neighbour, he's a visual artist/woodcarver and sometimes people try to hire him to lay a wooden floor or fit a kitchen because he's “some kind of carpenter.”

But whatever about the girl's parents, whoever is in charge of the band should have asked the girl a few questions about her musical background before throwing her into that situation.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
This story reminds me of my neighbour, he's a visual artist/woodcarver and sometimes people try to hire him to lay a wooden floor or fit a kitchen because he's “some kind of carpenter.”
Yup...

"Hey, you're a technologist, I have the problem importing my bank statement into Quicken 2007, can you help"

"Hey, you're a brain surgeon, can you look at this rash?"

"Hey, you're a machinist at Boeing, a check-engine light just came on in my car...."
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Some of the reactions here are a bit harsh, it seems to me like an honest mistake by non-musician parents. If the girl is any kind of decent player on the hand drums, people don't always know that the drum kit is even a different instrument.
Good point. And I suppose another thing to consider is that painful life experiences can sometimes help shape us for the better, yes?
 

ron s

Senior Member
One of the guys in my band says that non musicians always think they can sing and play the drums.

I have found this to be true. People feel that if you can tap with some rythmn and sing in the car- you can play drums or sing in a band.

Too bad the parents didn't ask someone who knew better. Hopefully the young girl will use this as motivation to learn, practice, and excel, rather than be turned off from music.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
To wrap this up, I feel very strongly, even had to restrain myself from pulling her parents aside (who are pillars of that church) and chewing them out for pushing their sweet daughter into something that is guaranteed to make her fail immediately and make her look the fool. No wonder she broke down. She had NO experience playing drum kit and wasn't even prepared! And her parents KNEW that!

It never ceases to amaze me how some people can think that they or family members can play a drum kit perfectly the first time never having even touched one before.
I really really wish you had "chewed them out", I bloody would have. I can't stand people like that, and their poor daughter will probably be scared from the experience and never want to try drums again (I hope I'm wrong). Things like that affect young people.

I have no experience with church environments as I'm not religious at all; I just hope this is not common.

I can't stand seeing kids have things forced down their throats.

"They f*** you up, your mum and dad.." - Philip Larkin.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Stick mom or dad in the booth this Sunday and tell them to show their daughter how it's done, or better yet put mom in there this week and dad in there next week.

Have the Pastor conduct a small group meeting between the family, yourself, the PW team lead and go over the events of the last 3 weeks.

Finally, ask the parents if they would ever consider perhaps never assuming anything musical as they obviously missed the boat on a personal musical experience. Or, perhaps the daughter would like to continue singing and taking lessons on the side and after a few recitals etc... a try out might be in order.

No wait... get a karaoke player and test everybody, mom, dad, kid, anyone else. Make musical evening out of it, lots of laughs and guffaws, and cheery critiques and then the next time the question arises... answer it with "you've got to be joking; right?"

Perhaps "revenge is a dish, best served cold" is apropos... that is, find an old snare and cymbal laying around and tell the kid she is to practice at home for 2 hours every day and report back in 90 days for a test. The parents will love you for your outreach.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Seems to me some sort of smiting of the parents is in order, but I'm not entirely sure of exactly how they ought to be smote.

(Although I am completely smitten with this idea.)
 
I think they just didn't want their daughter to take up drums. ;-P

Fortunately, kids are resiliant enough to survive their parents.
 
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