Friday, March 21, 2008

Busy Signals

I am sick to death of busy signals.

My husband and I live out in BFE where there is no cable, and DSL is expensive. I'm considering trying Broadband, although the last time I tried Broadband, it was not exactly a "better fit", because reception by Broadband is still a problem since we're at least 5 miles from the nearest cell tower.

But I'm so tired of "dialing in" on dialup and getting busy signals that I can barely stand it.

On a good note, my friend Ray and I traveled to Flint yesterday to check out their Grade 5 band and talk about the Grand Rapids "dismissal", learn some of their stuff (which we spent quite a bit of time on the first part of the 3/4, and the instructor sent it home with us), and listen to their competition set.

I'm telling you--Flint's Grade 5 will be the band to beat this year.

The plan is to put the 3/4 score into my drumming software, and learn it by next Thursday. I don't think that it will be much of a problem. I'd like to get my hands on their competition set--plug that in and play it by Alma--although I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go slow and just take the massed bands performance at Alma, but be ready for competition at some future point.

Ray, however, is having all sorts of trouble. Never having been a corps drummer, he has always played by ear, and adjusts the sticking to suit his hands, which is often quite different than what's on the dotted page. It's got to be frustrating for him, after so many years of drumming to have to really "read" the music and "do" what the music says to do. Now, my son Norm, he could play it without any trouble, because I've taught him how to read the music. He doesn't yet understand when to make a note a tad longer/shorter (as in dot and cut) or how long really a tap lasts (let's face it it's like clapping hands--there is no real "length" to a tap or a clap as there is in a vocal sound, such as laaaaahhhhh, which can go on forever). This has been the biggest drawback in drumming for me, because while I can read if it's supposed to be left/right, WHEN I'm supposed to play that next tap (unless it's a 'no brainer' such as all quarter note singles or paradiddles). Throw in a dotted 16th, and I'm lost. So I depend on what I hear to tell me the "phrasing". Sometimes, my hands will do it, and sometimes they won't.

So it's a learning curve.

Ted Barr, Flint's instructor, has been working with them for the last 4 years or more, and his son before that. Both are drumming teachers. Both are really good at what they do. I'm sure I can shape myself up for Alma massed bands. I might even be able to compete a little later in the year. Stupid moi, I didn't bring my DVR with me. That would have been very helpful. Unfortunately, I'm sure that Ray took the music home and worked on it, and by next Thursday will have taught himself all the wrong stuff.

In the meantime, Easter is coming, and it's getting warmer out--the weatherman says that it's going to snow something furious today, but I think that the wind will blow it further south of us.

The whole thing about joining another band is that it makes me sad about Grand Rapids and it reminds me of the times in Glen Erin--the happier days with Randy before I knew he didn't want me in the band to begin with. I ended the evening with a few tears and a couple final goodbyes before going to bed.

So I'm on my way to work. It's Friday again, and I've got quite a bit of knitting to do. I got Astrid's Kauni Rainbow in the mail this week, and that's slated for a Rainbow Shawl. I have to get that Ravel'd this weekend...a little work on my Fair Isle, and perhaps some work on my Entrelac top! Then, there's Easter at the In-Laws, and back to the office on Monday.

It's been a fun week.

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