Mary Jo on DrumsThe sun is shining brightly here today at the Don Hamrick Drum Center. Andrea has left the area and activities in OD are back to normal! There are still a few rip currents out there so be careful in the water today. Don and I saw a shark yesterday evening flopping around in the surf near the Cherry Grove pier which is the designated surfing area! And it was flopping, not swimming, so I don’t know what its deal was. We watched it a few minutes then lost view of it. Ok! Onto drumming! I am into day 3 of working toward my goal of being a professional drummer. I didn’t get up as early as I’d planned. What was supposed to be a 7 a.m. start turned into a 9 a.m. start. I did however, resist the  incredible urge I had this morning to surf Facebook. It is something that I routinely did upon rising, for no particular reason that I can think of and I know it definitely did not contribute anything meaningful to my life. In fact, surfing Facebook was probably adding negative vibes to my conscious and subconscious, but I was doing it anyway. Not today! I got my tail over to the Don Hamrick Drum Center and started practicing rudiments-again and again. Since Don opened the store, we have no drums at the house, not even any sticks! So up and out I went. Under Don’s guidance,  I am working on rudiments 2, 3, 4, 8, 14 and 15 right now in open and close position which means I start off slow and gradually increase my speed and go as fast as I can then gradually slow down. I practice each rudiment several times on each drum, the snare and each of my 3 toms. The rudiments feel different on each drum and you will notice that performing rudiments on the snare for instance will create different challenges than performing the rudiments on the floor tom. Don says learning to adjust to these differences on each drum is good and that if I can play the rudiments on each drum then I can play anything. I notice that my left hand is already improving in its ability to perform at a faster rate than a few days earlier. I focus on feeling and watching my hands as I increase my speed. I think about, what is my stick doing? where is my stick? where are my fingers? how is my grip? is my grip the same on both sticks? is my hand position the same on both sticks? how tense are my shoulders and hands? are my wrists relaxed and moving? are my sticks coming up to the same height after each beat? As my speed increases my left hand wants to have its freak out fit. By paying close attention to my hands I can adjust things to make sure my technique stays right as I increase my speed. I watch Don when he plays rudiments and I just want to give up! If you have ever seen Don do a single stroke roll or a double stroke roll you know what I am talking about. His timing is like a computer! His gradual increase in speed is perfect, never too fast or too slow or lagging anywhere. The sticks slowly and steadily pick up speed  in there tapping on the drum until all you hear is a purr, because the sticks are following close after one another but yet the landing of each stick is far enough apart that there is just barely a noticeable space between the left and right stick impact. If I could achieve 1/4 of his ability that would be an accomplishment! So rudiment practicing I am working on today until show time tonight. The Rick Strickland Band is playing tonight for a private event in Calabash, NC. I will be helping Don set up and break down the drums! Oh and I want to leave you with something funny I heard at the Don Hamrick Drum Center this morning. A guy came in and bought a cymbal for his drum set and he says, “My wife doesn’t understand why I need more than one cymbal for my drum set!” LOL. Happy Drumming all!!