Eric Millstein, percussion
We percussionists are unlike other orchestral musicians (my colleagues will attest to this!). The main difference is that when we first picked up a pair of sticks, most of us were not playing classical music. In fact, we didn’t even begin our studies as percussionists; rather, we started out as drummers. We might have played snare drum in the school marching band or drum set in a friend’s garage band, but we certainly were not playing in an orchestra. Not at first. Then gradually, imperceptibly, at some point the process of metamorphosis began, and the drummer became a classical percussionist.
While there are many advantages to learning all kinds of music (not least of which is a lot of enjoyment), I have found that the most common problems in my students’ playing stem from this lack of early training in classical music. About five years ago I had the vague idea of writing a book that would address these issues, but I could never seem to find the time. Then, like many others, in March I found myself suddenly facing nothing but time and very soon I found myself typing away at the computer for hours a day.
Although I hadn’t written anything lengthy or serious since college, the feeling of working and reworking words on a screen was immediately familiar to me. I think the writer’s life is not all that different from that of a musician; we also work and rework our musical phrases, over and over again, in the solitude of the practice room.
I greatly enjoyed the process of writing and bringing a book to publication (thanks to my friend Shaun Tilburg for making that happen!) and when things go back to normal (which they eventually will), I hope to continue writing. In fact, when I purchased an ISBN (the barcode that goes on the back cover of a book), I opted for a discounted package of ten. So I guess I’ll eventually have to write nine more books!
Get your copy here!