BillyRadd Music

Monday, May 30, 2011

Our New Drum Circle of Friends

Anita Gayle and djembe master, Billy Zanski

Billy Zanski, owner and manager of Skinny Beats Drum Shop and Gallery in downtown Asheville, is a man on a mission.

"Of course I want everyone to play drums," he says with all the authority of martial arts sensei.  "That's why I run this store and sell drums".  But, there's much more to it than that.  Billy has been playing and building drums for 12 years, hand-picks the West African djembes for sale in his shop with the eye (and ear) of a master, and is skilled at skinning djembes as well as identifying the great sounding ones.

Plus, Billy is a specialist in drum-side manner and the often neglected art of customer satisfaction by personally guiding beginning drummers through the maze of the various options of styles, colors, sounds, wood selection, goat skins, and rope so one may intelligently choose exactly the right djembe for their own personal tastes and abilities..

As they say on TV, but wait, there's more!

Billy teaches two beginning drum classes a week for beginners that will have even the most clumsy, tone-deaf drummer wannabe banging away on the skins in time with the music before they know what hit them.  I can attest to this fact personally since my wife and I attended last Sunday afternoon's hour-long class.  The class size was small, we could attend without bringing our own drums (Billy provides you with a djembe right off the shop's showroom floor while attending a class if you don't bring one with you), and the atmosphere was friendly, easy going and fun.

But, one more fact must not be overlooked which kinda completes this "drum circle" picture.  Billy stresses the spiritual and health benefits derived by the practice of drumming by emphasizing the healing ability within music as the goal of playing the djembe.  Since I have recently re-discovered the many benefits of incorporating the study of music into my daily life, I am very open to this idea.

As I like to say, you usually get a lot more back from something you invest your time into.  I'm feeling like practicing the drumming technique of playing a djembe with Billy Zanski is such a valuable investment.

If you're in the Asheville area, check him out.  If you are already studying some other instrument, like I am, learning to keep a steady beat is an invaluable skill to develop.  Besides, it's a lot of fun.

And so, the beat goes on.