It's almost time! My hands are sweating as bad as wearing gloves on a hot summers' day. As I stand up from my seat, I feel my body move as if it were Jell-0. I make my way to the door, and with every step I feel the room turning into a sauna. I walk out down a dark hall, and can hear my heart beat echo through the narrow pass that is taking me to a dream. As I get closer, I hear the sounds of an ocean with winds at a hundred miles per hour, and waves crashing on the rocks.
As I go through another door I walk out into darkness only being guided by the moonlight. I take my seat onto my throne and I grasp my sticks with nervousness. It was time! Someone whispers; "Are you ready?" With a deep breath and a swallow, I nod my head... Boom! An explosion of lights illuminated the air, with the sound of thunder right behind it! I looked out and felt and saw the power of the excitement of the night and thought, "It came true!" With a smile on my face and not a second too late, a crash of cymbals was heard as I started my drum solo to introduce the band!
Achieving my goal in being good enough to play the drums at a concert filled with hundreds of people was amazing, but not half as amazing as the man who got me there. When I was young, my mom had pushed me to play the piano. She would tell me everyday, “You need to practice piano before you go out to play." Hearing that was as if someone had hit you with the water hose when you weren’t looking. Your body tenses up and you take one long deep breath to avoid saying something your dad will make you regret later.
I hated playing the piano! To me it was as frustrating, stressful, obnoxious,irritating as watching teletubbies for two straight hours. A man will go crazy! I felt that forcing me to practice wasn't healthy or moral. I complained that I couldn't feel the music through my fingers and that it just wasn't for me. After several years of giving my mom a bad time about practicing piano, she finally gave up on me being a professional pianist. I was finally freed from the bands of injustice; I was now able to live a happy life. Nevertheless I wanted to play an instrument, but didn't know what to pursue.
One day in Jr. High while walking to class, I saw a sign that said: “Come try the summer Drum Line!" Reading that was like someone punching you in the stomach and knocking the wind out of you. I couldn't breathe from the excitement! I found my instrument! I showed up to the Drum Line meeting, and as I walked in, a tall, jolly fat man with glasses greeted me. His name was Carl Dastrup. I shook his hand and quickly found my seat. I was as anxious and excited to learn about becoming a drummer as a little boy not being able to fall asleep from the suspense on Christmas Eve.
Mr. Dastrup gave each of us a snare drum and we went through some exercises to help develop our hand eye coordination. To my surprise I was able to catch on quickly. I realized that learning how to play the piano by ear, gave me a huge head start on being able to hear a rhythm and play it. I never thought it to be possible, but at that moment I was grateful that my mom had forced me to practice piano.
As time went on, I joined the school band and I progressed rapidly in the art of being a drummer. Mr. Dastrup, being a wise and caring man saw my desire to become the best. He was as patient as a parent with a crying, screaming baby. He would take the time after school and help me get that last measure on the song, or even just talk to me about music. It seemed as though this man loved music and his students more than life itself. I feel that, because one day while he was using his tractor, the tractor slipped into gear while he was tending something else, he ran to stop the tractor only to get caught underneath the tires. He suffered some broken ribs and other injuries.
Nevertheless, a few days later he came to our class, in pain, in tears, and against doctor's orders to speak to us. He told us not to worry and to listen to our new teacher for the time being. He told us he loved us and went his way. I was as sad as a little boy who gets his favorite toy taken from him. I didn't listen to the new teacher, I thought him to be an idiot and not as capable of teaching percussion as well as Mr. Dastrup. Fortunately He came back to teaching soon. I was as happy as a kid going to Disneyland when I heard He was back. He didn't waste any time to get back into things, we continued strong as a class.
After playing the snare drum for a year, I wanted to learn how to play the drum set. I would stay after school to use the band’s set to practice with, but couldn't practice enough. I realized I wasn't progressing much. I felt like a turtle trying to win a race; I wanted to move forward faster. I asked Mr. Dastrup what I could do to progress, he looked at me with a pause and said, “I’ll lend you one of our older drum sets to take home and practice with." My eyes were as big as dinner plates when I heard that. I felt as though Mr. Dastrup could see the potential in me that I couldn't see.
Once I had the drum set in my basement, there was no stopping me to be the best. I practiced until my mom would tell me to stop and I would find time everyday to do it. Mr. Dastrup coached me for a while after that, until he received a better job offer somewhere else. If only he was able to see some of the concerts I performed in, and how much I progressed he would be proud. He never asked for his old drum set back, so I rebuilt it and play it today as a reminder of his love, devotion, and his ability to see potential in me.
I will never forget the man who made it possible for me to achieve my dream. The amazing man, Carl Dastrup.