I can still remember day one of getting into college. A little nervous I must admit, but that's because at the time, I hadn't been in school for more than 4 years. I'd not had a proper routine of classes for a long time and sitting in the classroom environment after that period of time was a little interesting.
First day of classes took me by surprise. It was Gary Hess' reading class. That man is a machine when it comes to reading rhythms. He wrote the EORR - the encyclopedia of reading rhythms - that we use as our curriculum. He's got ridiculously perfect time and he's a metronome in himself.
That first class caught me off my feet and I stumbled terribly. It wasn't so much that I wasn't able to read. I had the skills and I had the knowledge. It's just that the presence of twenty other drummers in the room banging away at these rhythms and the pressure to not screw up and throw everyone off was just incredible. I tested into level two reading, so the guys who were around me were experienced in the ways of Gary's classes. I, on the other hand, had barely a clue how to keep up.
It took a while for me to get comfortable in there. Soon, my years of reading knowledge began to work themselves back into gear. The cogs of the machine were beginning to move once again. A little rusty, but certainly not damaged in any way. It took a while to get comfortable in Gary's reading class. Thanks to the EORR, or the rhythm bible as we call it, and Gary's whole reading curriculum, I got suited to reading again. And then he comes and throws charts at us. Which once again I wasn't entirely prepared for.
The thing is that I've been trained before. I know what I'm doing. Those particularly brain cells were fast asleep due to years of being idle. Eventually they got working and I started to feel comfortable again.
And it certainly helped that Gary was my private instructor for the first 6 months. But that's another chapter in the....
TALES FROM MI!
Tune in for chapter 2.