This week I was tempted to skip my usual bata lesson and go to a “grooversity” brazilian drumming class from a different teacher. What stopped me was the commute that would be involved, which I have done before. It takes a lot of energy to go all the way over the Bay Bridge and back on a weeknight, leave early enough, have bridge fare, etc for 8 weeks.
I went to my bata lesson in surrender to whatever might suck. I arrived on time, was patient with the other student chit chatting with me a little before hand. As we prepared to begin, I picked up the Iya ( largest bata drum) expecting only to fool around on it a little and ended up playing it the whole class. To my surprise, my teacher had me play very fundamental stuff over and over again. This was different from when he was pushing me to do too much before.
There was a great deal less nit picking and fighting between me and the teacher. The other student and I worked some basics together, which we both need in order to build a new foundation of playing. I had a little bit of accumulated skill from the previous lessons in stroke technique, just enough so that I wasn’t struggling to just hit squarely, not hurt my hands or be fatigued in my arms from the larger width of the drum. It was a miracle of smoothness and peace. My teacher, who sometimes seems like a delusionally demanding cuban madman, was a paragon of patience and harmony. It was an honest to goodness, gol durn miracle which I am going to do my damnedest to remember.
Even better, a drummer from my congolese class asked about coming to bata class sometime. If she does, it will stir things up considerably one way or another, and there is no way of predicting what will happen. Further, the other regular bata student is out of town for awhile, so my next bata lesson will be without her. I was also served cake and juice because I’d had my birthday and got to visit with my woman friend who is the significant other of the teacher. It was a good night for me and I went home quite happy.