Our beautiful, precocious and musically-inclined Goddaughter turned three last week, and in the run-up to the celebration, Dr. Darling and I had numerous conversations about what our birthday gift to her should be.
Having some experience with nieces, nephews and young children of good friends over the years, I’ve developed a policy of focusing on low-noise gift alternatives in the interest of preserving parental sanity. Hence, we were not responsible for the rainbow xylophone or the electronic kids’ keyboard (with built-in karaoke microphone) on which she regularly entertains us..
But this year, the Little Angel, without any prompting from me (or anyone else as far as I know) actually asked for drums. (Yes, that’s plural on purpose.)
Naturally this request made my heart sing … not only because of my own history as a formally trained percussionist … but also because it meant I had carte blanche to ignore my own rule and thereby drive her father the Alpha Geek crazy in the process. Talk about a win-win situation!
The Swede, who has her own preferences for giving gifts that are both fun and educational, was totally on board with the idea. The only problem was that we knew she had mentioned drums to several others, including her Mom & Dad, Grandmother, Uncle and another set of her Godparents. (Evidently it’s traditional in Catholic Filipino families to have a fleet of them.This is probably a good thing considering that I’m a lapsed Episcopalian and Dr. Darling is, for all intents and purposes, an atheist.)
So in order to ensure that the drums we got her would not be like any of the others she might receive, we decided to get a set of real wooden bongo drums similar to the ones I’d had as a child. But this meant going to an actual music store rather than a toy store, and music stores are filled with all kinds of drums that are set up just for customers to play. And because my dear spouse, AKA Sweden’s Most Deliberate Consumer, has to research practically every purchase to death, we were in several stores on our quest for bongos, and I sat down behind a couple of electronic drum sets in every one of them.
Now the back-story here is that I sold my own traditional drum set when I went off to university MANY moons ago because 1) I needed the money and B) my newly divorced mother was going to be moving us into a much smaller house by the time I returned home for Christmas. There was no room for my drums in the new house and certainly no space for them in my dorm room.
Later, when I had both the space and the money to own drums again, I no longer had any real reason to play. I wasn’t in a band or performing with an orchestra, and I know for a fact that my neighbors would not have appreciated regular solos no matter how good they were. Electronic drums would have been the perfect solution for me back then had they been invented yet.
Flash-forward too many years to mention and I did have the opportunity to tinker around a cousin’s electronic set during a US visit, but the technology was still fairly new at the time and pretty spendy. But as with nearly all things high-tech, the price has fallen into a range that is down-right reasonable … even for someone who just wants to play for fun in the privacy of The Penthouse-Nordic.
So now I’m lusting after an electronic drum kit, so much so that I’ve actually continued to visit music stores just to test-drive the various sets on offer. And for some reason, Dr. Darling is not making any of the usual noises that tend to emit from her whenever I’m considering a new gadget. (Probably because she enjoys banging around on them, too.)