Without realising it, it’s already 12 years since I first wanted to learn to play the drums.
I remembered the day clearly; it was a few months after I become a Christian that I decided that I wanted to serve in the local church where I was attending. I did many things in the church, children’s ministry, youth ministry, setting up the chairs and cleaning the church after Sunday service, the weekday special services, etc… It was not that big a church, so a pair of hands did many things. I was particularly drawn to the worship team, the music and the songs that they sing every week. So I approached the guy, Richard, who played the drums and told him that I would be interested to learn and serve together with the team. And thus, my journey as the drummer began. We practised after church service, nothing spectacular, just the normal rhythm and tempo. The practices must have gone on for a few months, and after not long, I was playing for the youth and main service.
The beginning wasn’t all that dandy and flowery; being a new drummer attracts a lot of criticisms, in my case. I get lot people telling me that I make more rolls than necessary, I was too loud etc… Well, I guess that’s what all drummers go through. I still get it once in a while, I guess that’s ok; what peeves me off is when I get these sort of criticisms from people who know nuts about music. Worst still is when they are totally tone-deaf and possess no musical ability… It’s like a basketball player telling the football player how to kick a ball; irritating nia.. Haha. But someone also told me, long time ago, she had a dream of me playing the drums in heaven, on the mountains! (whether there will be drums in heaven or not is another story though).
I also remembered a period of time when I was totally lost with drumming; I was probably in Form 6 that time and I felt that my drumming has reach a plateau. Didn’t know what else to do with it, I was playing the same style week in week out; it just got kinda tiring. Then we had some worship team from Singapore coming to the local church to give some workshop, and drums was included, so I quickly signed up!
The guy’s name was Wilson, and the song he used to teach during the workshop was “Jesus, we celebrate Your victory”. Looking back, the song was not that difficult to play, but in those days, for a freshie like me, it meant a lot. The style, different rolls, different tempo for the chorus and stanzas opened up a whole new possibilty for me. I felt something was loosened inside of me; a revelation that there is more than what I know! And with that workshop, I was reborn (pardon the pun). I call it the “Wilson moment”.
So, after 12 years, here I am in Slovakia, a young nation recently freed from communism, and soaking in different musical styles from all over the world. My chances of playing drums here are quite limited; the church I attend is quite a traditional one, and I only play the bongo instead of the full set. That being said, I play maybe twice a month. Not that I am complaining, since my working place is 1 hour drive from home and it would quite challenging to come back in time for practice.
My hope is that one day (while I’m still here in Europe), I’ll be able to serve the church more with this skill that I have, and maybe teach the younger (and maybe older) generations on how to play drums as well. I still recall my godmother, Aunty Maureen (wonder what she’s doing now) encouraging me with the verse from Psalms 33:3
Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy (NIV).
Very apt indeed.