Yesterday, I took a makeup drum lesson. The student before me was doing some cool riffs, and I asked my teacher what he was doing. “He just wanted to play some stuff on the fly,” Michael said.
I was taking out the practice pad to start my rudiments, as I do with every lesson, when Michael shook his head. “Why don’t you try it?” he asked. “Try what?” “Just play for me,” he said. “Whatever you want.” It was like my Guitar Center performance all over again, except this time I couldn’t trick him into thinking I was a good player by busting out “Breed,” especially since he had taught me that song in the first place. I resignedly picked up the sticks and played something lame. I stopped after a minute. I felt pathetic.
Michael nodded and said, “Why don’t you try this?” Adopting the beat I had used, he threw in fills that sounded so much more badass than mine.
After that he said, “I’m throwing you into the deep end,” and handed me a bunch of new stuff to learn. I gladly took the new songs. So now I’m learning some swing beats and the beat to this song:
(I saw them in concert back in 2008 at ACL and was less than impressed, but I love this song).
Michael almost smirks now when he asks me what I’m working on, because he knows I don’t practice often. I think he’s doing this to step my playing up, and I’m very grateful. I’m up to the challenge.