I’m sure I had heard classical music before this, but an early memory was in ninth grade: My friend became very interested in Beethoven and would listen to the Ninth Symphony daily. I remember thinking at the time that he was goofy for doing that, but I have since changed my mind!
My professor during my undergraduate studies always pushed me and still does to this day. As he used to say, “I’ll push you until you get to the edge, and then catch you as you’re about to fall.”
My parents always gave me classic rock to listen to as a kid. I remember playing three different Steely Dan tapes over and over on a boombox when I was about four years old. I eventually became fixated on the drums and began learning them when I was eight. I think my first major influence on the drums was John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
I think that would be a tie between playing Beethoven’s Third Symphony or Sibelius’ Second Symphony with the Indiana University Conductor’s Orchestra.
All I can say is that there have been many times that I thought about giving up but something always keeps me going. I’m really not sure what that is.
I’ll always remember playing one extra note during a district band concert in high school. I think most people thought that note was supposed to be there—a little stinger at the end from the timpani. I suppose it always reminds me that messing up is never that bad and could end up being a happy memory, in a way.
With percussion, it’s all about planning. I spend most of my time marking my part and listening, rather than actually playing my instrument, at least in terms of preparing for a classical concert.
Listen to music that you want to play, find a good teacher, and always be curious about new aspects of playing you haven’t thought about. Play a lot of different music as early as you can.