Well I´ve had a couple of good life-changing moments with music, the first one being the moment I was able to play my very first drum beat. From that day on my life has never been the same. It brings back a ton of memories when I look at that beat up pair of VF 85 A drumsticks (I still have them. One of them is signed by Steve Smith, which is a pretty big deal for me considering I live in Costa Rica and he doesn´t visit that often!).
I´ve had a long and happy relationship with music since that day, and I have to say my REAL game changing moment happened not so long ago, when I began to study classical percussion at the University, I remember being really nervous because I had to play a marimba piece in front of a large crowd. I had just started learning to play marimba that same year, so I was kind of insecure. I prepared myself the best I could but I still felt like a fish out of the water (I was used to playing my dear drums). I didn´t really get the essence of playing marimba and how different it was from playing drums, so my teacher showed me a video of Ney Rosauro playing his own "Prelude nº1 in e minor". It was amazing! I watched the whole video about 5 times and then went back to preparing for the big night.
When the moment came, I just sat behind the stage, thinking, remembering, breathing, etc until it was my turn to go out, THAT is when it happened... They called my name. I took a deep breath and went out to the stage holding my mallets. I stand in front of that beautiful marimba, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, thought about Ney´s video, opened my eyes and started playing. Something changed. I dived inside the music, inside the piece, I felt every note, I loved, I suffered, I got angry, I whispered, I shouted, without saying a word!! My mallets became the only way to communicate with the world in that brief moment of bliss. I came back to myself after playing the final note and the first thing I heard while still looking down at the keys was a huge applause. I bowed at the audience and went backstage.
Nothing was ever the same again, I know it sounds kind of dramatic, but for the first time I experienced the power of music. I loved music before that moment, but after that day, after feeling that incredible connection with my instrument and the music I was playing, I knew music was going to be my life. After everything was done and all my classmates had played, some people came to me before I left to congratulate me, telling me that while the piece I played wasn´t as high-level as others that were played that night, my performance was the one that was most felt, and that would be most remembered from that night. I can´t describe how I felt after hearing those things, but what I can say is that my life changed that night, I got to know a glimpse of what this wonderful world of music is all about, my vision of the marimba, along with the congas, the cajon, the drumset and all those beautiful instruments changed. I got a taste of their essence and I wanted more...
In celebration of Vic Firth Company's 50th anniversary, we've spent an entire year celebrating Game-Changing Moments in drumming -- including yours! To everyone who shared a story with us this year, thank you! Drumming is a shared experience and we are all brothers and sisters! Your stories have inspired us to continue making the best sticks possible and to continue changing the game for drummers everywhere.
We received thousands of amazing stories this year. Although it was difficult to choose only one story, we're happy to announce that Joe Russomano is our grand prize winner in the Game-Changing Moments contest!Read Joe's Story