In-Depth 2022 – Blog Post #3!

What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions? 

I think that one part of the mentoring sessions that went well was the back and forth between myself and my mentor. Of course, I don’t specifically mean in the sense that we had good conversations, but more in the context of teaching. For the mentoring sessions, it isn’t just one person talking and teaching while the other person is silently listening. This helps a lot with learning because I can ask questions if I don’t understand something without abruptly interrupting the other person. It is also nice because we are both contributing to the progression of the learning, and not relying completely on one person to carry the conversation. At the same time, we also were able to find a comfortable balance between staying on topic and making small conversation about other topics as well. This way it makes for a more relaxed and comfortable/safer environment where I feel I can ask questions or be okay with making mistakes. I think that this stems from good communication during the meeting. It helps a lot that me and my dad are more familiar with each other, so communication becomes a bit easier. However, it is a bit strange at times as we don’t typically have conversations this long. Despite this, since the first meeting, I think that we’ve gotten into a really good groove of being able to teach, learn and talk about the drums during the sessions. 


What learning challenges emerged? 

I would say that one big learning challenge that I faced with learning the drums is practicing and balancing my learning with other aspects of my life. This is something that I think I’ve struggled with for quite a while. I found that it was difficult to remember to practice and make time for practicing amongst the other instruments, sports, extracurriculars and schoolwork that I had to do. I think that a lot of my struggles with this stem from problems surrounding time management. This became very evident when I reached third meeting and realized that I had not done much practicing during the week. This especially is a learning challenge because it prevents me from getting better and improving week to week.  

a. What did you do to hold yourself accountable for the learning? 

Once I realized that I wasn’t doing well on the practice front, I made sure to tell my mentor. One, to say sorry for not putting in the effort that they were putting in, and two, so that we could double back on what we were learning last week without starting anything too new. This was very helpful as my dad and I were able to sit down and talk a bit about how I could plan and schedule my time so that I had enough time for all my activities. We talked about setting specific days that will be my practice days and having certain times that I can practice at without my brothers playing instruments as well.  


What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions? 

  1. I think that to improve the mentoring interactions, we could have a set day and time for sessions. It’s been difficult with all the new activities that I’ve been picking up in and out of school, as well as the varying times that my dad gets home from work and how tired he’s feeling during the day. We’ve been kind of fitting in time wherever we can get it, so the uncertainty of the meeting times have made the communication and planning for each one a bit last minute or rushed. By setting hard times per week, we would be able to know exactly when and be more prepared.  
  1. I think that we could have a list of goals/tasks for each meeting that we want to cover. This would be something similar to a lesson plan! I find that sometimes our meetings, although educational, jump all over the place between topics. To organize the learning and clearer communication, we could have a simple list of goals for each session that can somewhat guide our plans for the day.  
  1. I think that to improve our mentoring interactions, we could set meeting days to weekends instead of weekdays. I found that my dad, at the end of the workday, is tired, hungry and not in the best mood to sit down and teach the drums. Even on my long days when I’m at school from 7 until 5 can tire me out and then we’re both a little ready to collapse into bed! By having them on the weekend, we’ll both be refreshed and readier to learn than we would be during the week 


Progress Report  

This week was a bit of and adjuster for my learning. I think that despite all the different activities during the week, I was able to learn and work on a lot of different skills! 

This week, I learned a few more rhythm practices. After practicing and working on the ones from previous weeks, we learned a few more complicated and ‘free-er’ ones. These rhythms are different beats, often including a dotted note and even rests between them. I found that this really tested my ability to clap out and read musical notation as some of the rhythms were a bit complex.  

A ‘paradiddle’ was one of the newer and important parts of the learning these past few weeks. This a drumming pattern that can be done on any part of the drum set, using the patter ‘right, left, right, right, left, right, left, left’. For now we’re learning it slowly on the snare.  

I struggled a lot with holding the drum stick correctly. There is a certain way you have to hold it up the stick where you’re gripping with two points of your finger, and letting the others curl and support so that it’s loose. I kept having to go back and check my hold, and would sometimes have to stop to re-adjust it. I found that I also asked my brother for help on holding the stick and that seemed to really help.  

I was also able to start learning a song this week! We chose a song that had the simple rock beat that we learned last week, and yet still had a few new aspects that we could learn as well. The song “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor uses a simple tock beat, as well as the iconic beginning part using a hold on the crash cymbal. In between verses and choruses and verses, they use fills that my mentor said I could try improvising as well. In the video, you can see that I lose the beat a few times or have to readjust my arms or hands while holding the drumsticks. It took a lot of practice though to get it where it is right now, so I’m proud of what I have! I’m hoping that soon I can add simple fills. 

These next few weeks for homework, I’ll be working on the new rhythms and song. I also want to get better acquainted with holding the drumstick.

Image of my new practice sheet, one of my brother’s old ones