Pots and pans are so much fun! This is how I began my percussive life. At age 5 Tucker Maxon, an oral school for the hard of hearing, had a visiting music therapist leading student in drum circles. I recall she also introduced the recorder. During this time Columbia Regional Program purchased my firsthand drum and paid for summer lessons during 1993. It was not long before I joined drumming circles in the community. That hand drum traveled on fishing, camping, and road trips!

In 1997 my parents bought me a drum kit for my 10th Birthday! Wow! Right away I tried my hand at it by playing along to Alan Jackson, Beatles and the whoever else I could borrow from my parents. They had quite the selection – Blues, Oldies Rock, Jazz, Gospel… While I was enjoying my ultra-ego behind the drum kit lessons were forth coming.

In 1997 we had moved to Vancouver, Washington. This was so that I could attend the Washington State School for the Blind. After checking out several instructors I found one in my school’s music department director. She gave me a quality foundation in playing, understanding, and reading music.

Junior and high school band was fun. It was a chance to freely make mistakes, laugh and learn songs. Learning theory and reading was mandatory thus I encountered music Braille, a Braille equivalent of print music.

Being hard-of-hearing learning to play in a band was a unique way to improve skills. It took memorizing on my part. I practiced these skills by participating in community bands and jamming with friends. I floated through 4 years of community college before deciding to give Berklee College of Music a try.

I felt scared. Scared of committing to a big change in my life if accepted to my college of choice. The audition turned out to be friendly. Then a life-changing occurrence happened. Committing to moving to Boston and stepping into a brand-new world was the most confidence-building experience of my life thus far.

Music helped me realize that, despite my disabilities and its accompanying uniqueness I was able to embrace change. I learned to embrace the confidence in me. This is my story. What is yours?