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What Learning To Drum Taught Me About Anxiety (Part 1)

What Learning To Drum Taught Me About Anxiety (Part 1)In kindergarten, I played the woodblock.

Yeah, the woodblock. And I was such a badass about it, too. By the end of the year, I was ready for some stage time. (The other kids at our kindergarten graduation got kazoos or something. Lousy, whining kazoos.)

But I got a motherloving woodblock, people! And I was proud.

A small wooden mallet in my right hand and a — well, a hollow block of wood — in my left, and there I stood wearing my construction-paper graduation cap, ready to keep time to songs like “Fifty Nifty United States”.

And kept time I did with my toothy grin and crimped hair.


I grew up rather fond of tapping out beats on tabletops with pens, but that’s about where my percussion experience ended. Yeah, I took piano lessons here and there, spent a year with a clarinet and a horribly cranky band instructor in 5th grade, and I sang in choir from middle school up through the end of college — but that’s it. Nothing with drums.

Drums have always fascinated me. Well, let me reword that — drum beats have always fascinated me. No, no wait — that’s not it either.



A drummer’s ability to drum.

Yeah, that’s it.

A drummer’s ability to drum has always fascinated me. So many beats. So many limbs. When I tapped on the table with Sharpies, I couldn’t think of throwing my feet into the mix. When I tap my left foot along with music in the car, I can maybe keep a beat on the steering wheel with my palm.

Growing up, I had only a few opportunities to sit in front of a real drum kit. And each of those opportunities began with excitement (“Yay, drums!”) and ended with regret (“Stupid drums!”).


The drums weren’t stupid, though. It was me. No matter how hard I tried to tell my brain to make my right hand tap the high hat, my left hand would tap the snare.

Frustrated, I gave up easily every time.

But now, I own a house. And now, I have a husband. And in this house — in the basement — sits my husband’s drum kit.

Now, he doesn’t play professionally or anything — he just enjoys playing around with them. He was a very musical kid growing up (guitar, bass, drums) and played with a few bands here and there in high school, including one that marched around during halftime at football games. (Sorry, Jason. Had to mention it. I wish I’d known you then so I could see you in that silly hat.)

So anyway.

We have this drum kit in the basement now, and just for fun, I sat down. And I tried to play.

(Drumroll, please — [groan, I know] — part 2 is coming up next.)

Photo: MTSOfan (Flickr)

What Learning To Drum Taught Me About Anxiety (Part 1)

Summer Beretsky

Summer Beretsky enjoys writing about her experiences with anxiety, panic, and Paxil. She had her first panic attack as an undergrad at Lycoming College and plenty more while she worked toward her M.A. in Communication from the University of Delaware. She contributes to the World of Psychology blog here on PsychCentral and has written for the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @summerberetsky.

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APA Reference
Beretsky, S. (2013). What Learning To Drum Taught Me About Anxiety (Part 1). Psych Central. Retrieved on February 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Sep 2013
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