Drummer Wannabes

Drummer wannabe (drum er wan nuh bee) n. Those horn players who insist on coming to the drums and beating them EVERY day. also everyone.

Nerf Claves (nurf clah vayz) n. What you give the bag, freakin’ ree ree, geriatric, stick jockey, or water boy to play. also Nerf woodblock and Nerf cowbell.

Word to the wise: Don’t ever be a Drummer Wannabe with your Nerf Claves (or Nerf Tambourine)

Saturday night I played drums at Mass for the first time in two weeks.  I was really excited to play for a bunch of different reasons.  Partly because I was anxious from being at weddings for the last two weeks and missing playing, the other part is that I have two brand-spankin’ new cymbals that I wanted to mount onto my set and try them out.  I was really pumped up and looking forward to it.

I got in and spent the usual 1/2 hour it takes to unload, unpack and set up my drum set.  I get everything set up and we start to practice, and overall things went pretty good.  We gear up for Mass, when I hear a sound I’ve been dreading for weeks. It was coming from the music office, and then I heard the sound again, this time a little more constant…

The flute player was bringing out the tambourine

Then Mass began, and with it a train that was destined for derailment.  Mass progressed and we went through our songs, and I heard it.  The gal started with her tambourine.  At first the damage was minimal, but before I knew it, the Drummer Wannabe started laying down a beat, and her path of destruction followed.

The problem is not with the tambourine itself.  It serves a purpose, and when played right, can be a very tasteful and beautiful addition to certain songs.  However, most often the tambourine is abused by Drummer Wannabe’s that feel they need to do something EVERY FREAKIN’ SONG.  The problem is that most of the time their technique is wrong, and when your technique is wrong, the tambourine is coming in 1/4-1/2 beat late. 

Normally if the tambourine is the only percussion instrument, this is an issue that a music group can work through.  However, when you combine crappy tambourine playing with a drum-set, specifically the crisp tone of a ride or hi-hat cymbal, you’ve wrecked the group, and with it, completely wasted my drumming abilities and the 1/2 hour I spent setting up (and the 1/2 hour spent tearing down).  Your 1/4-1/2 beat tardiness is now distinctly exposed, and the fact that your misuse of the instrument prevents you from following the rhythm set by the drummer creates the tempo phasing that is bound to screw up the rest of the group.  And this is not considering the likely fact that there’s a reason they’re a Drummer Wannabe and not a real drummer – they can’t keep a straight beat in their head!

Drummer Wannabe is going to be gone next week, which is lucky for me.  However when she returns next week I have 3 options to remedy this situation:

1 – Attempt to teach her to play tambourine with the right technique
2 – Hide the tambourine
3 – Break/Sabotage the tambourine

Needless to say the mature thing is to try #1, which I plan on doing in two weeks.  I already made arrangements with the group leader to run through the Mass parts with the sole intention of exposing her misuse of the instrument.  Hopefully this can be a teaching moment, otherwise I’ll have to resort to option #3 (I can’t do #2 and take the chance that she’d find the tambourine)

The moral of the story – DON’T BE A DRUMMER WANNABE.  You may feel left out, being the only person up there not playing an instrument, but believe me – it beats playing tambourine incorrectly and making yourself, along with the rest of the group, look like dumb-asses.  Laugh if you must, but heed my words and make music better for all of us…