Chief Editor Pauline Ng shares her experiences
At 68, I made a life changing decision that I would learn the drums seriously.
When I was in 9th grade, I, along with my classmates, formed a pop band under our great love for The Beatles. We covered their songs whenever we had the opportunity to play together. Each of us would take up an instrument in the band, and I chose to play the drums despite not having done so before. After a year or so, I improved significantly, even participating in a pop music contest, though we only made it to the semi-finals.
In retrospect, I may have let my band down 50 years ago due to my lousy drum playing. In 2019, after graduating from my degree study, I considered whether I should focus on drawing or the drums, both activities in which I find an immense passion. However, thinking about how the drums could help improve my memories, reduce the risk of dementia and provide a form of physical exercise, I decided to revisit the hobby I fell in love with back in middle school.
Once I stepped into a music store to enquire about drum lessons, I felt the shocked eyes gazing at me. To be honest, I was a bit self-conscious to be there, but their support and encouragement after realizing my reasons for pursuing my hobby was a big motivator for me. The teacher chose a lively song with a simple rhythm for me to learn. Initially, it was not difficult to understand the drum beats, yet I still need to practice moving my hands and feet simultaneously.
I try my best to practice daily if not, every other day. At first, I would book a room in a music shop, but I would soon find it hard to find a vacant space. As a result, I bought a simple electronic drum kit to avoid disturbing my neighbours. I’ve been learning the drums for more than half a year now, and I enjoy every moment of practising. However, looking for the sheet music of my favourite songs has proven to be quite tricky, and even if there is, the music accompaniment may be missing, preventing me from trying my drum patterns for the songs. For now, I am still just learning the music scores provided by my drum teacher, yet I’m longing for when I’m good enough to add my own beats to songs.
Now, every time the music store calls me to ask whether I have time to practice, I get ahead of myself, answering “yes” before they could finish asking the question!