In-Depth 2022 – Final Blog Post #6!

In-Depth is almost over! It’s so crazy how fast it seems to have gone this year. 


For my final presentation this year on In-Depth Night, I’m going to be playing a song on the drums on the stage. After lots of discussion with my dad and thinking it over myself, I’ve decided to learn and play ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden. Using a rock beat, the song allows for a lot of variation, experimentation with fills and cool rhythmic patterns and syncopation. (As well as its been song that I’ve loved for a while now). I plan to play along to a short 90 second clip of the song, this way I can also cut to parts that I enjoy playing or feel like showcase my skills better 

A big part of the presentation for me will be me being able to stay on beat with the song as well as performing in front of a larger audience. I’ve talked with my mentor about how it can be hard sometimes to stay on beat on stage when playing because of the loud music and the pressure of simply being on stage! One way that I’m trying to combat this is just practice. I’ve practiced along with the song on headphones, on speaker and played it through the drum amp as if to simulate what it might be like. I also am practice a lot more in front of my family so that I can get used to playing in front of an audience. I hope to work my way up so that I can play in front of neighbors and friends in preparation for the performance so that I at least feel confident in myself.    


Progress Report  


This week has been practice practice practice. I’ve been going over the song in my head, playing it on the car, and on the drums a lot more in my free time. Despite the repetition, I’ve had so much fun with the song and love figuring out rhythms with my dad or learning alongside with my brother. Who knew stage fright was such a big motivator! 

I’ve gotten a large portion of the song out of the way because most of it is this strange syncopated beat with the snare, crash and bass. I’ve learned how to do a beat with the snare by hitting it while open and then closing it for the next beat almost giving it a sst sound if that makes sense. I’ve worked with my brother (because now he’s just as excited as I am) to help figure out and learn some cool fills that he’s also learning. Together we’ve watched many covers of Black Hole Sun and pointed, paused and rewinded through some pretty sick covers on Youtube.  

To show my progress these past few weeks, I’ve included a video of my playing a short section of the beginning with a fill and open-closed crash cymbal.  

In-Depth 2022 – Blog Post #5!

My dad enjoys using different ways of learning whether it be by preexisting media, or opportunities to learn on your own. One way that my mentor uses other media to expose to new learning is videos. When we are looking at a complicated newer drum beat or fill, we sometimes look at covers on YouTube. This helps a lot because we’re watching someone who has practiced it play it, and sometimes they’ll also explain the rhythm as well. I’m able to learn by watching someone else play other than my dad and see their take on it as well. We’ve also looked at songs on YouTube when looking for songs to play, learn and for ideas on where we want to go next. My dad also provides opportunities for both instructed and self-guided learning. All the practice sheets that you’ve seen are an example of guided learning, where I have a set plan given to me to practice. The video that you saw in the last post was an example of self-guided learning, where my dad said to find a song that I liked and experiment and play around to learn.  


I think that some big opportunities that reinforce new learning is performances and having others around you that also play music. One benefit of having a larger family is that there’s always someone around to listen to you play. When I play, I’ll sometimes ask my brothers or mom to listen. This helps a lot with adding that pressure when playing, and also having something to work towards, like “I’m going to practice this one song really well so that I can impress my brothers”. My brothers also play different instruments, so I also enjoy playing along with them to different songs that we like. It helps me learn how to play along with other instruments, and also practice my improvising and beats while riffing.  


One tool that definitely accelerates learning is one I’ve mentioned, pressure. The pressure of playing in front of your family member, playing along with your brothers, or even playing at In-Depth Night is a scary motivator. Though it’s probably not a good accelerator in learning to use all the time, it really helps with buckling down and getting through it. Another accelerator in learning is also interest or passion of course! The best opportunity to accelerate your learning is to learn about something that interests or excites you. For example, the songs that I’ve been playing recently have been some of my favorite songs like Lucy Dacus and Lizzy McAlpine. I love to get on the drums and learn a new beat so that I can play along to songs that I like, or finding songs on Spotify and YouTube that I want to learn for inspiration.  


When my dad and I have our mentoring sessions, we usually try to keep our conversations on topic to drumming. A lot of what we talk about is why are we doing this, how does this help with drumming, sometimes about my dad’s previous experience with drumming. I love talking about music with people, whether it be about their favourite music or trading songs that we like. Even when we’re not having a mentor session, I often find myself talking to my dad about a song that I want to try, or what songs we could do next. But we don’t always talk music and drumming during meetings. Because of how busy I am, I don’t get a lot of time to talk with my dad during the week. So when we have meetings, it sometimes nice to just talk for a little bit about our day or what else is going on.  


One part of the mentoring relationship that I think is going well is the mutual excitement for music and learning. My dad really enjoys learning new songs, and playing along with music as much as I do. This helps because then he kind of understands where I want to go in my learning. For example, he understands that for the In-Depth song, I want to do something challenging and exciting because he knows I love being challenged with new material. I also know that my dad likes teaching to songs that he knows sometimes, so I look for older songs that I know and that he likes too. It also helps to be with someone who wants to learn and play music just as much as you do, the energy match! 


I’m learning that my dad really enjoys playing music, and even what kind of songs he’s into. Before, We didn’t really talk about music together because we didn’t really have any musical interests in common. My brother Hayden had more in common because he played the drums. However when I started getting into drumming and even bass guitar last year, we were able to connect more on that level. I got to know my dad more in terms of his music taste and even just the talks that we had during meetings. In turn, my dad’s also learning about my music taste through the songs that I’ve wanted to play.  


Progress Report

The past few weeks in terms of In-Depth have been pretty eventful. In the first few weeks, My dad’s health problems have been pretty evident and it was difficult for him to sit and rum with me. We mostly talked about what songs I wanted to do next and what we were thinking of preparing for In-Depth Night. I did a lot of my own learning as well while talking with my dad and experimented with songs and improvising.  

I used a lot of online media for when I was learning new beats or rhythms when my dad couldn’t show me. This was a nice change of pace as it allowed me to be more creative and adventurous with my learning as well as the internet had a lot of cool rhythms that my dad didn’t even know. Despite this I think that my learning slowed down a bit as well for a bit. In no way was it my dad’s fault, more so it was my own. Without having regular meetings, and getting more involved with sports, Easter preparations and what not, I had a hard time finding time for music at all. I also was feeling a bit down and not really in the mood to sit at the drum kit.  It wasn’t until a week or so before Easter where I started to get back into more drumming, even piano and bass! I big cause for this was, like I mentioned previously, my brothers and family! Everyone as feeling better since Easter was soon, and my dad was feeling much better. I started playing along with them more, making me more excited and ready to learn more. I had so much fun riffing with them that it got me back into the swing of music.  

My dad and I have started working on In-Depth Night Preparations. We’ve been brainstorming a lot for what song I want to preform. Some big factors that we’ve considered are time length, content, and most importantly if I’d enjoy learning and playing it too. A few songs that I’ve considered are sometimes way too long and hard for me to find a good snippet to play, or I like playing them but they don’t showcase my learning very well. The reason I don’t have a video to show progress this time is because not only the slump I was in, but also the deciding on what I want to start learning. I know that I have to choose a song and can’t decide forever, but I also want to be a good song. Instead of a drumming video for today, I wanted to show you two of the songs that I wanted to try learning. One of them is Body to Flame by Lucy Dacus. My reasoning behind this one is my love for Lucy Dacus, but also that is has some super cool rhythms and fills that I want to try. The other is Wipeout by Surfaris. My dad and I listened to this one and agreed that it would be really cool to play. It has some awesome sixteenths and would be a cool challenge to try and take on. I supposed we’ll see in a month and a bit whether these end up being my final song! 


Body to Flame




In-Depth 2022 – Blog Post #4!

What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why? 

I think that the most difficult mentoring challenge for me so far has probably been communicating properly during our meetings. I find that during my mentor meetings, I feel the pressure to have to fill up every silence or keep the momentum going to the point where I’m overcompensating. Whether it be talking too much and not letting my mentor speak, or stumbling over my words and not making sense, it doesn’t really make for a productive conversation or meeting. The problem with this is that the more I do it, the more I get nervous about it, and speaking from experience, it’s pretty hard to learn when you’re nervously trying to keep someone occupied the entire time. I also think that the mindset that I have wherein I think it’s completely on me to keep the other person going so that they feel that their time is worth it is also a little bit harmful. I’ve learned that a mentorship is very much a partnership and not everything is up to one person. In the end, I think that it’s just a matter of calming down a bit before or even at the beginning of a meeting with small conversation (even if it is my dad, the mentoring ‘atmosphere’ of the meetings make me nervous). A lot of it is just in my head so I recognize that slowing down and taking the time to think isn’t going to hurt or disappoint anyone.  


What is working well? Why?

On part of the mentor meetings that I feel is working pretty well is practice sheets that we’re working on. A big concern that I had at the beginning of learning the drums was how I was supposed to practice. When my dad and I dug through my brother’s old drum sheets and found a series of exercises, they were life savers! Not only do they help me practice getting on the drums, but they also help out a lot with learning how to improvise and building your own rhythms. I also really like how they give my mentor and I a place to start off at the beginning of every meeting. A lot of the easy rhythms are basic and give us a direction to point the meeting in whether it be me needing to work on something, or an activity/song that includes a rhythm that I really enjoyed playing. Having a recurring starting point that can vary meeting to meeting is really handy for getting the conversation flowing.  


What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

I think that we could definitely get better at having goals for each meeting that we have. I have very vague goals that I set for myself for sections of In-Depth, but even that I feel isn’t enough. By having a specific goal set for each meeting, the direction is clearer, and we have almost a set destination that we know we want to work towards. I also think that making goals with your mentor and discussing what you might want to work on or learn that day is really good because it brings both of you onto the same page. It is much easier to learn when both partners know where they are headed. Whether it be learning a new song or fill/rhythm, my goal setting could definitely be improved. To make this happen, I can easily set goals before I have my next meeting and discuss them with my mentor and my plan for goal setting. By telling my mentor, both of us can then remember it for future meetings.  


My Progress So Far…

There were a few challenges with meetings these past few weeks. My dad’s asthma had gotten pretty bad which caused us to have to delay a lot of our meetings. However, using the practice sheets and playing around on my own, I was able to still learn a lot even by just talking with him outside of meetings about the drums. Communication outside of meetings has really been key the past month or so because of my dad’s breathing, and I think us working together to be more talkative and transparent really helped 

This week and past Spring break has been a lot of experimenting with the drums! After learning the basic drum beat to a song and seeing how it fits with the Rocky theme, and then practicing all the smaller rhythms on the practice sheets, my mentor and I discussed just experimenting with music that I liked and playing along using what I’ve learned. At first, it was pretty strange just listening and improvising music on the spot, but I found that it was a lot of fun! During spring break, I put on a few of my favourite songs and tried playing along and making up my own fills. I thought it was the coolest thing! Below I took a video of a song that I had tried once before, and used made up fills using my practice sheet, and a sort of messy modified basic rock beat from the Rocky song before. My playing is still pretty all over the place but playing along to one of my favourite songs made me so happy I didn’t even notice.  


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

In-Depth 2022 – Blog Post #2!

My mentor, my dad, was able to gain experience in both a learning/school environment and a more experience based environment. By being involved in school music, he was able to gain percussion skills in school band, jazz band, stage band and even in a jazz combo. During school and stage band, he was able to learn from a teacher in a traditional learning environment, all the basic skills and knowledge that he needed to progress. In a more advanced jazz band and combo, he learned different ways/styles he could apply the skills he acquired while also working more closely with other people. After being in a school environment, he progressed his learning and fine tuned his skills in a band with other people outside of school and as an adult.  

Throughout his music experience in high school, my dad really enjoyed improving his skills. The advantage of being in music programs in school was that he was with a lot of likeminded people and had access to resources and opportunities to showcase and build on his skills. He says that he loved working on his drumming and seeing his progress in the accomplishments he shared with other members in his bands. To this day he remembers going to Ottawa with his school jazz group and winning their category when he was in high school. On the other hand, he sees the experience he’s had with his band now a lot more of a social, fun and relaxed way to  develop his expertise. He really enjoys the songs that they played, and the performances that they had gave him goals and something to work towards.  

One bit of wisdom that I gained from my mentor was the role of the drums and that in relation to other instruments. He talked a lot about how the drums lead a band in music, similar to the bass guitar, and how it includes a lot more improvisation than one might think. He shared that learning how to drum starts with very basic skills, and that working up to more advanced sounding beats takes time. He believed in letting the learner choose and direct the learning so that it was more enjoyable for them by asking what I wanted to learn next and letting me choose songs that I want to play. It was also very cool to see how he taught by stacking skills on top of one another so that I could learn each as a whole and better understand them all in unison.  

One facilitation strategy that my dad used was giving the mentee a structured choice. This way when the mentor is delegating, the person still has a straightforward path that they’re following, but is able to make it more personalized to them. Related to this, he also gave slight homework or practice to work on. Having sheets with practice problems or rhythms was really helpful in improving until the next meeting. He also didn’t just sit at the drum kit and explain the drums to me, he let me sit down and learn as we talked. I found this to be very helpful because I was engaged and able to learn by doing. One aspect that he set before the meeting even began was having hard start times and schedules to have our meetings. This way we were able to both be prepared and in a learning mindset before starting the session. One last important strategy that I noticed he used was making sure I was following along by making time for questions. This was extremely helpful as falling behind is the worst feeling especially if the mentor is already two steps ahead.  


My Progress So Far…

This week I learned a lot of cool and interesting new skills! After talking with my dad a bit on the goals of the project and what we both wanted to get out of the project, we talked a bit about the drums as an instrument and its role in music. He taught me how to hold a drumstick and that the hold you want on it has to be loose yet controlled so that you’re able to hit the drums with force. I also learned about the different ways you could hit the drums, I didn’t even know there were different ones! He told me about the different ‘beats’ that you can use when playing, for example the simple rock beat that I learned. I found that I had to ask questions to understand what was going on or how to do a skill, for instance when I was learning how to play the rock beat. I found that it was easier to learn by stacking the different drums on top of each other. I would play the 16th notes on the snare first, then the bass on the 1 and (a) 3 beats, then the snare on 2 and 4. We dug through my brothers old beginner sheet music and found a sheet that I could practice on for the week. The sheet had the different and simple beats (quarter notes, eighths, triplets and sixteenths), and all the different stickings to practice (Right Hand, Left Hand etc.). After that he also told me to choose a song for next week that included the simple rock beat that we could work on next time.


Image of the practice sheet 

Video of the Basic Drum Beat. Uses snare, high hat and bass drum.

In Depth 2022 – Blog Post #1!


This blog post is the first of many more to come surrounding my In-Depth Project this year! Follow me as I take you along on the five-month long journey of my In-Depth. 


What is In-Depth?

 In Depth is a five-month long project run by TALONS, centered around learning a skill of the learners’ choice. Throughout the duration of the project, they will regularly meet with a mentor/expert on their skill and increase their knowledge and skill on their subject. Near the end of the project, each person will create a final showing of their learning to share with the rest of the class on In-Depth night.  

 What Am I Doing for In Depth?

For In Depth 2022, I will be learning the drums! My goal this year is to really get an understanding of the drums as an instrument and learn how to play and create my own lines and rhythms.  

I will be starting my In Depth with first learning a bit about the instrument itself. What are the pieces of a drum kit called? What is its history? With this baseline knowledge, I’ll be able to have a good foundation for learning with my mentor. I then want to start learning a few small and easy rhythms from my mentor. Another small skill or piece of information that I want to ask my mentor about in the beginning is also how to practice! Anyone can give me a piano or bass guitar and know to practice scales or arpeggios, but with a drum I am absolutely lost. I think a good place to start would be to learn a few practice exercises, this way I have a very clear outline in my head of what to do when I sit down at a drum set. I need to be able to know how to sit at a drum set, how to hold the sticks and how to move around and with it. From there I can more difficult rhythms and fills and challenge myself with harder songs or exercises. Near the end of my project, I plan to choose a few songs that I will prepare for my final show of learning. I then want to piece this and a few clips of me drumming to show my progress from the beginning to the very end.  

(a copy of the brief timeline for my project)

Contact and find mentor (paperwork) 

Learn history behind the drums, research based learning 

Week 1 
Contact and find mentor (paperwork) 

Learn history behind the drums, research based learning 

Try small easy rhythms on the drum set 

Week 2 
Contact and find mentor (paperwork) 

Learn history behind the drums, research based learning 

Try small easy rhythms on the drum set 

First meeting with mentor 

Week 3 
Contact and find mentor (paperwork) 

Try small easy rhythms on the drum set 

Work on practice exercises 

Learn posture and proper technique 

Week 4 
Meeting with mentor 

Work on practice exercises 

Learn harder rhythms and fills 

Learn posture and proper technique 

Week 5 
Learn harder rhythms and fills  Week 6 
Meeting with mentor 

Learn harder rhythms and fills 

Week 7 
Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills  Week 8 
Meeting with mentor 

Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills 

Week 9 
Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills  Week 10 
Meeting with mentor 

Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills 

Week 11 
Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills  Week 12 
Meeting with mentor 

Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills 

Choose final songs 

Week 13 
Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills 

Practice final songs 

Week 14 
Meeting with mentor 

Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills 

Practice final songs 

Week 15 
Practice, Practice, Practice, learn new rhythms and fills 

Practice final songs 

Week 16 
Meeting with mentor  

Continue practicing my chosen songs, try a few new concepts and rhythms myself 

Week 17 
Continue practicing my chosen songs, try a few new concepts and rhythms myself  Week 18 
Meeting with mentor  

Continue practicing my chosen songs, try a few new concepts and rhythms myself 

Week 19 
Continue practicing my chosen songs, try a few new concepts and rhythms myself  Week 20 


This year, I decided that drumming was the skill I wanted to learn. Although I’ve learned piano and even bass last year, I have never played an instrument quite like the drums. Percussion instruments like the drums are a completely new world of playing music to me, and that’s so exciting! The fact that someone can put their emotions and feelings into hitting a few drums to create rhythms that are universal to everyone is so cool. Drumming was always something that my cousins or brother played, so I’ve grown up with the feeling of the thump of bass drum in my ear, but I’ve never played before. The farthest I’ve ever gotten was probably a few random and offbeat hits of the bass and snare along to a song that I was into at the time, even then, I’ve never stuck with it simply because I didn’t know how to. The drums are a powerful instrument! Playing an instrument so energetically and powerfully seems like such a blast! 

image of my brother/dad’s drum kit at home that I will practice on


My Mentor

My mentor this year is my dad, Rodney! My dad has played the drums for a very long time, throughout high school up to the present day. He played casually after high school, and as an adult in a band with his friends called ‘Just for Tonight’ who he’s preformed with a number of times. With experience in concert music, Jazz and rock and roll, he’s been able to explore different styles and types of drumming. We have an electric drum set at home, so this will make it easier to learn and play together.  



My Mentor won’t be my only resource for information this year. I also plan to use a lot of online websites and videos such as the ones listed below to learn a few skills. I am also very lucky to have a few leftover music sheets from my brother when he was beginning to learn the drums that he will let me use.  

Parts of a drum set

Famous female drummers


Progress So Far

I have done research already on the drums and its history already. I learned the parts of a drum by looking online and talking to my mentor. I was also able to watch a documentary with my dad on the drums and a bit of its history, background and famous players. I had my first meeting with my mentor to talk about dates for meetings and what the next few months or weeks of learning will look like.  

drum set labelled


Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the nest post. Until next time!