Interview by Lisa Schonberg
Kristin Tehrani, a drum student at Revival Drum Shop in Portland, OR, uses a yoga ball in place of the traditional drum throne or seat. How does that feel when actually playing the drums? Lisa Schonberg asks what is like in the Q&A below.
What inspired you to take up the drums?
I was at a concert and started talking to the person next to me about drumming. He was a drummer as well as two of his family members. I don’t remember all the details of the conversation but it went on for awhile. At the intermission he left and came back with a set of drumsticks and a message, “consider these your first pair of drumsticks, now go learn the drums.” Within the next few weeks, the topic of drumming came up a few more times, and it felt more and more like something I needed to do. As a child, the only instrument I wanted to play was the drums but it was a time and a place when girls were encouraged to play something else, anything else. So with the gift of a stranger and the encouragement of a drummer friend, I decided it was time to learn something new, and I signed up for lessons.
Can you describe your setup? How did you come to use a yoga ball in place of a regular drum throne?
I started using the yoga ball both as an experiment and a temporary solution. Once I got my drum kit set up I needed something to sit on and I realized that the yoga ball was the right height. I use a yoga ball as a desk chair, and it seemed like a reasonable solution for playing the drums; I could move around easily, the height was right, it was more mobile than a chair. If it didn’t work out I would buy a drum throne later, but it worked perfectly. In fact I love it.
Can you explain what it feels like to play while sitting on it? How does it compare to using a regular drum throne?
As a beginner it was easy to start with my own style of playing on the yoga ball because I had nothing to compare it to. By switching between a drum throne at weekly lessons and a yoga ball at home, I eventually found the right fit and position for playing comfortably. The biggest challenge was not letting my legs get in the way. With some practice and minor adjustments, I now find the yoga ball to be more supportive than the drum throne and I have fun bouncing and moving around when I’m playing a fun beat.
What else do you use your yoga ball for?
I also use the yoga ball as a desk chair.
What are you currently enjoying most about your drumming practice?
I love learning something new. It’s so easy to get into our routines but learning something new shakes things up and forces us to use different parts of our brain. Unless we create the opportunity, we miss out on the thrill of overcoming a challenge, whether it be drumming 10 beats per minute faster, maintaining the syncopated beat for a few measures, or finally playing a beat for a full song. Everything is new and exciting as a beginner on the drums.
What are your near-future hopes and goals as a drummer?
For now I plan to keep taking lessons and have fun playing the drums. I have a fantastic drum instructor that inspires and encourages me and, most importantly, reminds me that female drummers are rad! I also plan to attend a weekend Ladies Rock Camp, not just for the opportunity to play drums with a band, but to give myself the challenge of performing in front of others.