His Magnificent Obsession


It started when he was watching some film footage of a concert, and as he watched the band playing, his attention was mostly on the drummer.

He’d already been following this other drummer, who actually was the one who inspired his passion to learn drumming.

Then some time had gone by.  He’d eagerly gone to drum lessons and worked and practiced diligently for hours every day.  The fire was lit inside him, and he was in his bliss.

No, it was this second guy who thoroughly captured his imagination….whose moves kept him spellbound, whose drumming was complex and yet spoke to him like no other drummer’s playing.

He switched to a new path.

However he could lay his hands on CDs of this band, he would manage it…..somehow.   And he did.  Bought some.  Borrowed some.  And he listened to them every day.  With his headphones on.  Usually after having done the initial warm-up and rudiment exercises.

As he listened to each song, his mind was open, and he felt at one with the music.

Then he decided to work at becoming as proficient as his idol by practicing one song at a time.  Over and over and over and over.  However long it would take.  Until that song was learned.

He didn’t care.  It was the process of teaching himself, and it wasn’t work.

It was his heart’s desire.

Some songs took longer than others.  Some had incredibly complicated rhythms and fills….and solos.  If it meant an unusual bass beat from the regular kind in the chorus, he’d adjust.  For those he would listen in minute detail…..and practice until he could play it exactly like the song.

Why not?  That’s what made these songs great, even just from the drumming point of view.  His idol was not hailed as THE best rock drummer of all time for no reason.  So, he sweated and played and practiced…..sometimes to the point of having blisters and bleeding fingers.

He loved the drummer’s creative use of the kick bass, crashes and ride, for incorporating the toms in unusual and different ways, for his incredibly solid skills with triplets, for always playing right “in the pocket”……….creating sounds he hadn’t heard before.

Each song had its trademark sound.  There’d be 4/4 time, 3/4 time, and some songs with unusual time signatures.

It took a long time, and eventually he would see progress, as in completely being able to play a song from start to finish…..playing along to the band, as he listened with his headphones on.

And what a feeling when another song had been deciphered and learned!  His smile would burst from his face.  His happiness flowed inside, filling him up.

When he had worked his way through the first CD, he then picked up the next one in sequence…..waiting for that first song to start; his fingers, arms, and legs poised with eager anticipation to the sound of the new rhythms and fills.  No holding back.  He’d get there eventually.  Of that he was certain.

On the day he finished the 7th CD, he had the biggest smile on his face!    Quietly….not saying much.  His eyes sparkled and shone.  For his personal development, his goal achieved, and a strengthened passion for his drumming.

Such was his magnificent obsession.






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