Last week, a lot of family was gathered at my sister’s place to partake in turkey and other food items we only have every couple of years. After dinner, dessert, and testing out my brother-in-law’s projector by projecting an Indian movie, my little 10 year-old cousin had one request for my brother-in-law: “Can I play Rock Band?”
She had never played it, never even had seen anyone play it before, but had certainly heard about it. While she wanted to try her hand at singing and playing the guitar, she was especially interested to play the drums.
“Do you know how to play the drums?” I asked.
“Well, you just have to go with the rhythm,” she said.
“And you have to hit it according to the colors,” I added in my ‘I’m talking to little kids voice’. “Look, why don’t I play it first so you can get an idea of how to play?”
She shrugged her shoulders but by the time Rock Band was setup and my little nephew finally relinquished the drumsticks, she sat in the chair and readied herself for her first foray into Rock Band. My brother-in-law brought up one of the first songs, Weezer’s Say it Ain’t So on the easy setting, and started it.
Every time my brother-in-law had started up Rock Band when he had people over, someone would sit down in front of the drums for the first time and realized they couldn’t just play it. They understood that it would take practice so after a few minutes, they would give up and look for something else to do.
I imagined that type of scenario with my cousin and when she failed out, I would be there to tell her that it was ok, that everyone fails out on drums the first time, and that she shouldn’t let that affect her.
The song started and she started drumming. Besides initially telling her that the orange bar meant she had to use the foot pedal, she got the hang of it fast. In the end, she finished the song with 65% efficiency. Let me put that in perspective: the first time I played that exact song on the easy setting, I failed out with 35% efficiency. I couldn’t even finish the song.
Radiohead’s Creep then started and she started drumming again. She finished at 85% efficiency and I think the only reason she didn’t do better was because my brother-in-law paused it in the middle and she missed a few notes when he un-paused it as she tried to get back into the rhythm.
I was in awe. I didn’t need to use my “there, there” speech with her at all.
I don’t get to play Rock Band as much as I want to but I’ve played enough that I can be in the 90s on the medium setting. I thought that wasn’t too bad.
But now I know.
My 10 year-old cousin will soon be able to drum circles around me. I am, in fact, a Rock Band phony.
Oh well :)