By Amy McCollom
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to play the drums. I just always thought it was so cool, and I wanted to be cool. Besides, I had a good rhythm, and I could keep a steady beat to any song I heard. Songs made me move!
Any time I ever got near a set of drums, I would find a way to get behind there and start tapping my foot on that bass pedal. The hi-hat cymbals took a little more practice to learn to work, but I figured that out after a while.
My mom and dad, back in the day, would have music nights at our house, and all kinds of friends of theirs would come over and play music. A lot of guitar pickers, a piano player, a couple horn players, and a drummer would show up and set up in our living room, and it was always a blast. Us kids were usually chased into our bedrooms so the grown-ups could have their time, but I was a rebel and would sneak into the living room, and slide in-between the furniture so I could be a part of it all.
When the drummer would get up to go to the bathroom or get a drink, I would quickly scurry behind the drumset and for a moment I was living the dream.
I joined band in school and played percussion. But being a girl, and it being the 1970’s, I was delegated to play the triangle, cymbals, maracas, bells, or tambourine mostly while the boys got to play the real drums. That was disappointing. It was even more disappointing to find out they didn’t have a set of drums in junior high band, only snare drums and a bass drum, which was boring. I wanted to learn how to really play the drums, all of the drums!
I stayed in band through my sophomore year of high school, then still disillusioned, I shifted my interest to the Flag Corps. Team, and was quite good at that. Not surprising, though, as I had incredible timing, being a natural-born drummer at heart.
After high school, and a stint at college, I ended up married to my first boyfriend, and he and his buddy started a band. I was supportive, even though I wasn’t a part of the band. Then one night, after several times that the drummer missed practice, I was asked to try to play the drums for the band. So I sat down at the drums, tapped my foot on the bass drum, got my right hand going on the hi-hat, and naturally felt my left hand keeping time on the snare. I was doing it! I was actually playing the drums! I knew I had it in me!
Well, after the marriage and the band broke up, I moved on, but still had hopes of playing again. I loved feeling the beat of the music pounding throughout every cell of my being. I knew I was born to be a drummer.
Time went by, and I married John, we started a family, and we joined a church. Next thing I know, I am being asked to play the drums at church. It was as natural to me as if I was making a peanut butter sandwich. It felt right. I had found my niche, my calling, and my desire.
That was 30 years ago, and I’m still playing the drums at a church. I have had some time off here and there, and played in different churches, filled in, and even taken up different drums and instruments. I still love doing it.
There is just something fulfilling about being a part of something that is a blessing to others. I’m not perfect, and if you ask some people, I probably play too loud, or too slow, or too fast. I made a deal with God when I started playing, that He would keep me humble. So whenever I mess up, drop a stick, miss a fill-in, or whatever, I just smile to myself and say, “I hear ya, God. I’m staying’ humble.”
I play because I really feel the music and my inner soul just wants to dance for joy. I play because I want the people to experience the power of God’s presence in the songs that are being sung. I play because it is a form of worship from me to my God. I play because I was created to play. I play because I am offering a sacrifice to God through my giving up of myself. I play because I have been asked to play. And I play because it is fun!
I am getting ready to undergo shoulder surgery, and I may not be able to play the drums for a while, and that makes me sad. Sad because I will be limited in the ways I can worship. Sad because I feel the music in our church will be lacking an element of expression that is useful. Sad because I feel like I am not giving my all, and I am letting people down. But I know it’s just for a time.
In closing, I just want to say that I’m a drummer girl. I play my drums for Jesus, and no one else. Only His opinion matters, but it’s also nice not to upset the sound guy because he controls the drum mics. Be blessed, and play on!