“I’ll Buy That For A Dollar”

Sometimes it pays to show off a little bit... photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Sometimes it pays to show off a little bit… photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

When I was growing up, some of the best learning experiences I ever had were going to jazz festivals in Jr. High and High School. In a nutshell, each jazz band performed 3-5 tunes in front of 3 judges at a small theater filled with other bands, parents, teachers and whoever else got roped in to see you play. Then the band would exit the stage and go to another small room where the judges had you sight read a tune for them. Literally, there was a chart on the music stand face down and the whole band had to flip the chart over and play it right there. No rehearsal…

I loved these festivals because I worked really hard to be the best possible drummer around and sight read like a maniac. It was a great venue for measuring myself against other kids my age and of course… showing off a bit.

I was also a little bit of a rebel… Although I loved jazz, funk and Latin (the usual styles at a jazz competition), I would also spend hours and hours learning every hard rock and hair metal song on the radio… making a fun opportunity for me. Even though the jazz community looked down their noses at these genres of music, I would use every opportunity I had to “enlighten” them.

When I was in 8th grade I was at a jazz festival where there was a judge who had been particularly hard on me in the past. He was a drummer and he said he wanted to push me to be the best I could be because he saw a lot of potential. Well I decided that was the day I was going to introduce him to the new Tommy Lee cowbell twirl move I had just seen on MTV.

Generally the jazz community frowned on such things, but I really didn’t care. I was gonna have fun that day. So, in the middle of my solo I twirled my stick in my hand behind my head while the other hand played a couple obnoxious notes on a not-so-subtle cowbell.

Then I continued my solo. I noticed the judge got up from his chair and started up the stairs to come on stage… while I was still playing. I wondered what he was doing but I kept going. He walked right up next to me, opened his wallet and laid $1 on my music stand. When he got to the edge of the stage he gave me a smile and a big “thumbs up!”

Sometimes it pays to show off a little bit…

Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. mike

    i’m with you————

  2. mike

    i’m with you————

  3. Gail

    An experience you’ll never forget.

  4. Gail

    Drummer’s are multi taskers…