Somehow, I started the fifth grade with the thoughts of beginning band. I was somewhat athletic in the summer sports, but never felt compelled to be on a school team. I did not have a very good self esteem when it came to trying out for sports teams. Yet, I felt like I could play music of some kind. After all, I had grown up hearing my dad’s band, “Richard Davis and the Country Classics.” My grandfather on my mom’s side played guitar, mandolin, and banjo. My dad’s brothers played bass and guitar. My uncle Ronnie was an exceptional picker.
Beginning band was awkward as I remember it. They basically sat us down and asked us what we were interested in playing. My first choice was drums, but I had determined that if they did not allow me to play drums, I’d try the trumpet. If I remember correctly, we all had the opportunity to try any instrument we wanted to. The teacher said that they really had enough drummers and asked if I’d try trumpet. I told her that my first choice was drums and without any argument, she said that was ok.
I don’t know what it is about drummers and band directors, but when they get together (and the band director was not a former drummer) they mix like oil and water. I learned very young that the drummers were, many times, left to themselves to learn due to the inability of the directors to put up with the “crazies” in the back.
But learn we did. When I reached high school, I learned just how much I didn’t know. When the music was issued for the marching band cadence, I had not a clue! We met usually two weeks before the band did and started working on marching and music. Our section leaders did the teaching–not the band director. We would march and play so much that by sheer repetition, we memorized the cadence. When the band got there two weeks later, we were ready to play.
I’m so thankful for those days. They were the basis for a huge part of my life. I go back there often in my memory. I will write more later on musical parts of my life.