my name is Katharina, I am 30 years old and my journey began seven years ago in 2016 when I decided to become a drummer.
I can’t put my finger on the „why“ – I met someone who was a professional drummer and I was fascinated by his drumming, his way of living and mindset and at least his professionality, so I wanted to learn from him.
I took practicing very seriously and our lessons became more and more important to me that there was no why anymore, I just kept moving forward. Since setting out in this direction, to become a drummer, I’ve spent a lot of time learning everything that makes a good drummer and diving deep into what was new to me.
My old life was worth to change – I had a lot of struggle and drumming keeps me out of bad habits.
After learning the first basics, I decided to turn everything upside down so far and set myself up anew: I looked for a new apartment near the rehearsal room, tested many different jobs to see if they were compatible with gigs and practice time, and invested everything I had in money in my own drum kit and equipment. So the basic structures were now in place to really get going. After four years of intensive practicing, I decided to study drums at the Drummers Institute in Krefeld.
Two years more passed by with learning skills and set about preparing myself for studiing Last July, I passed the entrance exam and I´ll start studiing this summer.
My Heroes: First of all there is the person, I talked about in the text above: Fabian Michaelis inspired me in so many ways – I watched him so many times on the drums and he really helped me to change my life and develop my skills on the drums. Another german drummer, I really like is Anika Nilles – I visited her twice and got some lessons and she was very gentle and kind. Furthermore I like the gentleman playing style of Jost Nichels and I am a big fan of Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, their beeings as musicians and drummers are awesome. I like the Mindset of Eric Moore and watched him at a drumclinic in the first row and of course – Phil Collins..!
I wanna introduce you our music project with homeless youth:
When I started playing drums, I came in contact with a youth facility. They work with children from 6 years old as well as young adults from 18-25 years old who are homeless and need a lot of help. I was employed there as a social worker. All the children and young adults there come from very difficult situations: Poverty, drug problems, neglected schooling, and mental illness are all things that the children and young adults who come to us are growing up with. They do have their own developmental steps they need to take to become adults; however, they are often so burdened by circumstances that they need more help than other children and youth. We have emergency sleeping spaces so that the adults don’t have to sleep on the streets, we help the kids with homework and other problems, and the young adults with finding housing or jobs. We provide food for the kids because they often leave home without breakfast and come to us hungry, and the young adults, who often have no family to go to, find attention, support with problems, a hot shower, laundry and a warm meal with us. In between we go on daytrips, playing basketball or soccer and have a good time.
When I started playing drums and step by step I was able to take my life in a new direction, I started passing on this new energy to the young people there. I became happier and more self-confident during that time through playing the drums, and I made the experience for myself that it is possible to pursue a goal even if you don’t believe in yourself, and even if you think that you can never create the life you actually want. This is often the energy that young people are given from home and school – they often feel like failures and get into conflicts (often also by stealing, damaging property, etc.) and as failures they then perceive themselves.
From my own experience that I could manage to think differently about myself and change my life for the better by playing the drums, I started to not only work on problems with the young people, but to make music with them much more. And it succeeded – the young people were happy to come to the provisional study, they were happy to receive attention through music, and they did things they had no access to before due to poverty or other stresses. In fact, many of the young people have never been to a concert before, and the only other thing they have is the music they hear by themselves, which often gives them the strength to keep going. Often we listen to music together through good speakers (they are used to listen to music through cell phone headphones) and I play drums with them and we record their lyrics together when they rap or sing (often with two ore three kids together), I am still learning bass and guitar and we have a lot of fun together. Meanwhile, with a lot of support (grants, applications, concepts), it has become an in-house music project. I no longer work as a social worker, but only do the music project.
This is my IMPACT: I was allowed to experience how drumming has changed my life and that one’s own limits are in one’s head, beyond which one can grow if one changes the parameters that influence one. I see so often that there are families where it is simply not possible for the children there to learn an instrument – there is often a lack of money for music lessons and for the instrument and the children cannot practice so regularly if they have to look after their siblings every day, for example, for the parents who cannot read, have to clarify formal matters and also not if no one sits down with them if they sometimes do not get along with the instrument. I want to open up the privilege of playing an instrument to those in our society who don’t have access to it and create spaces and lessons to help them express themselves, experience themselves and be surprised by themselves.
I want to pass on this IMPACT to children and young people through the music project, among other things: It’s never too late to start playing an instrument or whatever. You must not let yourself be stopped by what others think of you (or worse – if you have a bad opinion of yourself), but encourage them, step by step, to go in the direction that means the future. One must never give up on oneself.