Tuesday, April 19, 2005

drums = focus

There are some days where playing drums is more beneficial than any amount of meditation. Today is one of those days. I was dragging, simply due to lack of sleep and the sugar low from dark chocolate star wars m&m's (they're evil!) but a half hour of playing drums and I'm ready to go again! Tonight I played the first couple of songs off Winger - Pull and then the first songs off Green Day - American Idiot. I have to play more punk stuff so I get the style in my head so I don't play rock when I have my own punk band. They're similar, but there are some differences. In any case, definately fun!

While I was drumming I thought of my jr. high band teacher. I've been wanting to call her for years, but never had her phone number. I stalked her on Google and have her number at school, but never remember during the day! Since VH1's Save the Music concert was the other night, I think I'll talk a little about her, because she set me on the right path to be a good musician.

In 7th or 8th grade, we got a new band director, Ms. Roberta Cherry. She had a love hate relationship with us, which is understandable since most 7th and 8th graders are assholes. I was a totally hardass back then, wearing my Bon Jovi jean jacket and bandana! (come on, it was the early 90's) She said I was scary, which is funny to me. But, I was first chair percussion, in a section of mostly guys. That gave me a little excuse to talk to her more than other students. Besides, I liked to talk to her because I love music. In that first year we made her cry, more than once, and yell a lot. Sometimes it was my fault, like not getting on people for throwing sticks which would inevitably hit the ground and annoy her. But usually I just did what I was supposed to. She was great, musically, because she starting teaching us jazz, first just the most talented kids, and eventually building a true junior high jazz program, unheard of in small town wisconsin. She let me play trumpet one year, even sitting in on a song for the winter concert! Lol, she was so happy for me the day I called her to say I did 2 whole octaves on the c scale! She also encouraged me to play bass, which was my claim to fame in high school. I just took to the instrument quickly. Through bass I played in 3 rock bands, jazz band and show choir, went to camp, and was in the wisconsin state honors vocal jazz choir as part of one of the best rhythm sections they had. It was an amazing time. She really made the difference for me, pushing me to learn new instruments and styles, and making sure we listened to real jazz. We never played this new crap, but the good stuff, straight out of the fake book. A great education. In this time she got married, changed her name to Roberta porfilio-sawall, got divorced, and eventually got married to a semi famous trumpet player Terrel Stafford. Now she lives on the east coast and teaches middle school, which has to drive her nuts. But I know those kids are blessed to have her. She's an amazing person and I miss having her in my life often. Everyone has a certain teacher that changed their life, I've been lucky enough to have a few. Roberta was definately special, and I hope to see her again relatively soon. Besides, she has yet to tell me her middle name, and she said she would after we graduated! lol


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